The United States of Mexico

Burt Prelutsky

5/3/2006 12:05:00 AM - Burt Prelutsky

Sometimes, when I hear people objecting to illegal aliens on the grounds that they represent a security risk, I find myself shaking my head. To me, that sounds as if they wouldn’t have a problem with America’s porous southern border if only it weren’t for the tragic events of 9/11. The implication is that we wouldn’t object to all those millions of people sneaking into our country, except for those few bad apples who might be looking to level Los Angeles with a suitcase bomb.

These folks are entitled to their opinion, but they certainly don’t speak for me. My objection is based on the fact that I don’t like unwelcome guests. I don’t like them in my house and I don’t want them in my country.

Because we’re speaking, for the most part, about Mexicans, that opens me up to a charge of racism. So be it. In a society in which such repulsive characters as Barry Bonds, Cynthia McKinney, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Harry Belafonte, and O.J. Simpson, deflect all manner of criticism by attributing it to white racists, the word has lost virtually all meaning.

I happen to like Mexicans. Living in the San Fernando Valley, I interact with them all the time. Several of them live on my block. I find them, by and large, to be a virtuous people. They tend to be hard-working, religious, family-oriented, and friendly. Although I’m not a big fan of refried beans and rice, I do like their music.

Unlike the anti-social, unaesthetic, dreck that usually passes for music these days, most Mexican songs seem to be love ballads. What’s more, thanks to church influence, their young people tend to get married and to raise their kids together. I do wish that, as a group, the youngsters were as enthusiastic about attending classes as they are about ditching class to take part in public demonstrations. 

All of that said, I am in favor of building a wall, digging a moat, doing whatever it takes to keep illegals out.

I understand that President Bush has a problem dealing with this problem. There are businesses, after all, that depend on a constant stream of unskilled workers. I say constant because we already have several million illegal aliens in America -- surely enough to pick our lettuce, bus our tables, wash our cars, and put the little mints on our hotel pillows. But this is the land of opportunity, and people don’t want to remain very long at the bottom of the food chain.

So George Bush promotes a worker program that is so idiotic, Republicans wish that a Democrat had come up with it, so they’d feel better about ridiculing it. Suggesting that after working in this country for a number of years, Mexicans will simply return to their country, and take their place at the back of the immigration line is perhaps the single most stupid, most naïve notion I’ve ever heard. Even a four-year-old would recognize Bush's brainstorm as amnesty in sheep’s clothing.

People who disagree with me on this issue point out that if I were a Mexican, I’d also do whatever I could to get into this country. And they’re right. Walk across the desert? You bet! To get to America, I’d walk across ground glass. But, so what? What I would or wouldn’t do is no basis upon which to form national policy.

It’s high time that the president stopped pandering to special interests, and, instead, started acting like a man who can afford to have principles. Otherwise, what’s the point of being a lame duck? It seems to me there should be some upside to never again having to worry about being re-elected.

If George Bush drew a line in the sand -- and then built a wall on that line -- I’m betting he’d even see his poll numbers bounce up. As a result of which, he might actually stop being a political liability as the GOP gears up for the congressional elections this November.

If Bush asked for my advice, I’d tell him it’s time he stopped listening to President Fox and started listening to the American people. And then I’d point out to him that no place in the Constitution does it say it’s his responsibility to cure Mexico’s crime and unemployment problems.