A happy Cinco de Mayo to our Mexican friends. Earlier this week I thought that maybe the anti Arizona bill protesters would use today for their activities rather than May Day, which unless you’re a communist Mexican or a Hispanic morris dancer, would have little relevance. After a little thought it made sense.
The first reason they didn’t choose today to protest is that they would rather be engaged in a fiesta, and who can blame them. The other reason is historical. I’m probably teaching granny to suck eggs here, as readers of this column are a pretty clued-up bunch, but here’s a basic account of how Cinco de Mayo started.
In 1861, Mexico stopped paying interest on loans it had received from other countries. Some, like Spain, let it go. Napoleon III of France, as was his way, had other ideas. The well-equipped French invasion force had everything going their way until May 5, 1862, when the Mexicans defeated an army twice their size at the Battle of Puebla. The French eventually took control of the country and placed Maximilian I on the throne. The occupation lasted a couple of years until the French withdrew after pressure from the US.
It would have been somewhat ironic (and dare I say hypocritical?) for the supporters of illegal immigrants to protest on the anniversary of a battle to prevent an illegal invasion.
Mexico has the toughest immigration laws in the Americas, and rightly so. Illegal immigration is classed as a felony, carrying a prison sentence of two years, although deportation is the usual course of action. It’s strange that Mexico deports more illegals each year than the US, which is usually the first choice for most fleeing their own country. Well, Britain probably features quite high in the list as well, due to it being a ‘soft touch’ when it comes to providing social housing, welfare benefits and free health care. Actually, they might have a better chance of longevity living in poverty in their home country than relying on the British National Health Service.
Regardless of the arguments about racial profiling, the fact remains that immigration control is seriously flawed. We have the resources available to rectify this, if only Washington would be supportive rather than obstructionist. Give the agencies the resources and the legislation they need to do their jobs, whether it’s the Border Patrol, Police Departments or ICE. Taking a leaf from Mexico’s law book could be a good start.
(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)