We know from the House testimony of the previous transportation secretary, Mary Peters, that the department's policy is to approve Mexican drivers as "English proficient" even when they respond to an examiner's questions in Spanish. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who was conducting the hearing, was so astounded at this answer that he asked Peters to repeat it.
The concept document contains other provisions about monitoring, inspections, review, and drug and alcohol inspection. But the document contains nothing about requiring Mexican trucks to meet U.S. standards and rejection if they do not.
Mexican trucks have been barred from operating inside the United States since March 2009. They are limited to a border zone where they must then transfer their cargo onto U.S. trucks.
Mexico claims the current ban violates our treaty obligations under NAFTA. That's not true because NAFTA is not a treaty -- it was never ratified by two-thirds of senators as our Constitution requires for a treaty and is merely a law passed in 1993 by a simple majority vote.
Perhaps the Obama administration's plan to admit Mexican trucks is just a political maneuver. It may be a tactic to reach out to the business community, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and at the same time be a sneaky way to defeat Republican members of Congress in 2012 by forcing them to vote on the admission of Mexican trucks.
This issue defeated one of our best conservatives in the House, the great track star Jim Ryun, R-Kansas, who unexpectedly lost his seat in 2006 after voting to admit Mexican trucks. The feminist Democrat who defeated Ryun, Nancy Boyda, then sponsored a bill to ban Mexican trucks, which passed the House by the overwhelming vote of 411 to 3, with the Senate passing a similar bill 75 to 23 -- votes that are a good indication of popular opinion.
With the drug war in full battle array along our southern border, this is no time to start admitting Mexican trucks. It's a safe bet that many of the trucks will be carrying illegal aliens and illegal drugs.
Another safety problem exists for U.S. trucks that would get access to Mexican roads under this misguided proposal. Trade is supposed to be a two-way street, but U.S. drivers don't want to drive into northern Mexico, the most dangerous area in the world, because of the ongoing war between drug cartels.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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