Mona Charen

 And so the Mexican government lumbers into the 21st century tolerating drug running (even profiting from it if reports are to be believed), stifling competition for the benefit of a few favored companies and suppressing the rights of workers. As the Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy magazine noted: "Mexico ranks number one in the world for disappearances of women, number two for kidnappings for ransom (number one of countries not at war), number two for number of narco-cartels, and number three for murders per capita." In 2004, 300,000 people rallied in Mexico City to protest kidnappings by criminal gangs -- kidnappings that not infrequently result in death to the captive even after ransom has been paid. The police resolve less than one percent of these cases. And, as the article details, even when the criminals are jailed, they can easily buy their way out of prison "with collusion of prison officials."

 According to the World Economic Freedom Index, Mexico ranks 58th out of 123 nations in economic liberty (behind 10 other Latin American countries) and 88th in measures of legal structures and property rights.

 It is hardly a surprise therefore that Mexico's government does not discourage and in fact facilitates migration north. The remittances illegal immigrants send back home to their families constitute a valuable source of cash, and the possibility of out-migration operates as a valve to vent popular anger and frustration.

 Thus the Mexicans shunt some of their troubles onto us.

 Those who obscure the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants overlook the huge burden illegals impose by their disproportionate criminality. As Heather MacDonald has discovered, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for murder in Los Angeles target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants are for illegals. A California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that the infamous 18th Street Gang (20,000 strong) is at least 60 percent illegal.

 This is not to suggest that we close the border. There is every reason to believe that we need more legal immigrants. But the current wink, wink, nudge, nudge system of permitting thousands to pour across the border every year without so much as a once-over from an immigration official is perverse.

 Republicans should stress that we need and welcome hard-working legal immigrants from around the world but that we will not and cannot be the dumping ground for Mexico's particular miseries.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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