Mexico

More than any other county outside of the United States Mexico presents a particular problem when it comes to the idea of immigration reform. As the only immediate neighbor of the US that suffers from the cultural and economic troubles that it does it poses a problem in the mind of your average American when it comes to accepting open immigration. In short, people in the US are not so much afraid that Mexicans won’t become like them as they are that the impact of Mexicans coming here will make the US more like Mexico.

It’s been proven by the countless lives of the second generation after immigration, the lives of those born in the US, that when Mexicans come here they become like the rest of the people here. The troubling part is that the proximity of Mexico to the US, being a border state, makes for a continued cross cultural exchange. Second generation immigrants from Mexico do become US citizens culturally, but they also continue to go back and forth and thus to have much more Mexican influence in their lives than immigrants from other countries tend to.

When it comes to adopting an open door policy of immigration with Mexico, a policy of there being a bar over which any Mexican can seek to attain the necessary qualification to overcome and once having done so to be automatically accepted as a new US citizen, there remains the issue of the fear of the average US citizen that this will cause their country to become more like Mexico, bringing in crime and confused loyalty. A policy of instituting a bar consisting of English language proficiency along with a civics test for the understanding of American social norms and US citizen’s rights would not be enough to quell that fear. It might be enough in the event that Mexico could be removed from the US border, but in reality people will still fear the influence of a nation that shows no signs of change within its own internal dynamic as to the issues bothering most Americans.

One solution could be to allow Mexicans to attain open door status, but in so doing to require them to renounce their Mexican citizenship. This would directly address the continual cross cultural exchange by still allowing it, but necessitating that the immigrants pick a side to officially claim loyalty to. To be fair this kind of solution has worked for many international situations throughout history. It might work with Mexico as well.

I want to offer a different solution than restricting citizenship. I suggest that US influence within Mexico be extended instead. I suggest that as a result of negotiating with Mexico over this issue that in exchange for an open door policy with Mexico that US citizens should be granted the right to outright own property in Mexico. The idea being that if Mexico is bound to influence the US in a manner out of balance with that of any other nation, save Canada or one of the Caribbean nations, then the US, particularly through the norms of its citizens rather than the institution of policy, should be able to influence the nature of Mexico as well.

Mexicans essentially fear colonial authority. Their country has a history of dealing with outside rule by Spain especially and France. Therefore there must be protection built into any provision for US citizens, or corporations for that matter, to own land outright within Mexico. I suggest that to suit this requirement that it should be allowed that the largest single unit that a US citizen or corporation can own ought to be set at something like two acres. Furthermore, and this is where the control really would take place, that there be a provision to limit contiguity. By limiting contiguity I mean that a US citizen would be limited from owning more than a total of two acres within a certain set distance. To begin with that distance, in order to prevent wholesale ownership of complex developmental sites, could be set rather high, within, say, five miles. As the relationship with Mexico matures under the open door policy, and the influence of American social norms more necessarily influences the areas where the impact of ownership would demand change, this distance of contiguity could be lessened, or increased if it was found not to be large enough to begin with. Eventually it could become zero, or near zero. Along the way, as the contiguity slides, it could provide the necessary capital for improved development and lifestyle change.

The idea is that the answer to the US engaging Mexico is a symbiotic one. As such one side can have undo influence, but not continually and not to an extent that it undermines the other’s general welfare. Insofar as basic human rights are concerned there also needs to exist an understanding of the plight of human beings caught in unlivable conditions. Also, the respect for new blood upon which the US was founded must be recognized. I believe this idea meets those criteria and more. As well as feeding the stream of newness within the US it also recognizes the need for reform in Mexico and establishes a thoroughly moderated means for that reform to come about, recognizing the sovereignty of Mexico but also that the good people of Mexico could use the meaningful help provided by the ideals of their entitled neighbors (who have also the impact of the support, importantly, of the culture and, less importantly, the government of the US) in their struggle to improve their country.

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