CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Kerik Pulls Out as Bush Nominee for Homeland Security Job

Friday, December 10, 2004

Kerik Pulls Out as Bush Nominee for Homeland Security Job

Bernard Kerik has removed his name for nomination as the new chief of Homeland Security, due to concerns about the immigration status of a former housekeeper. This is perhaps the most ironic story of the year. The man whose new position would have required him to be responsible for securing the borders of the republic has disqualified himself due to his own presumed lack of understanding over the status of the nation's immigrants. If there were ever a one-man microcosm of a specific foreign policy, Kerik is it. Our nation's immigration policy, both the de jure rules about who is supposed to get legal passage, and the de facto results of who comes in illegally, is a shambles. Perhaps Kerik's fall will convince the administration to enact major immigration reform that does not include opening the borders to Mexico completely. Such a move should only be done, if at all, in conjunction with drastic economic, judicial and political reform in Mexico. The deal would be something like this: "Sure, you can continue to let your poorest citizens immigrate to the US and benefit from the remittances they send home; but in exchange, you must reform your system aggressively such that in a decade or so, they will have no reason to leave in the first place. At that point, capital, goods, and labor will all flow across the border as necessary." This is entirely possible with strong leadership. UPDATE: We appreciate the comments of "Mark in Mexico" who has a much more pessimistic view of the future of Mexico. Thanks Mark. We've had limited visits to Mexico, though living in Texas, we plan more. If the situation is as dire as you describe it, then perhaps we must content ourselves with tightening the border and working to assimilate into Western culture those who come across. Random followup thought: We had a professor at Duke who had written much of the Nafta legislation as a congressional staffer. He told us that the true reason for Nafta was no economic, but instead to provide stability to Mexico's government such that things like the currency crisis of 1994 wouldn't happen again -- perhaps presumably to stem immigration, though he was not that explicit. If and when we do make it to Mexico, we'd like to post about it here . . . Another random followup thought: Victor Hanson's "Mexifornia" is an excellent book about the effects of immigration in California's central valley. Adding a linnk in the sidebar . . . Also, we thought this article in City Journal was very interesting, but we're not sure we agree with it. Since we live in San Antonio, and are white, and therefore a minority, we've become very interested in issues of Hispanic assimilation. San Antonio is a great place. Things seem little different here from any other American city of similar size, but we haven't been here long enough yet to tell . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about no immigration from Mexico, period!?!

December 10, 2004 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Mark in Mexico said...

I'm sorry, but what you propose is beyond the realm of possibility. I'll be the first to admit that it sounds logical and right, but I live in Mexico, the real Mexico (as opposed to Cancún or Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta or the various Cabos) and I am telling you that this is not possible.

Mexico is a society, or better a loose confederation of societies, built and maintained by corruption at every level. Corruption so endemic and overt as to boggle the mind of the casual observer from the north, and confuse and dismay the unfortunate norteamericano who has to find his way through this maze of payoffs.

A couple of examples: I had reason to sue an ex-employer here. To do this you have to visit the Secretaría de Trabajo (local offices of the Sec'y of Labor). Each visit for the purpose of presenting documents, evidence, statements, etc. would end with my lawyer passing 100 pesos (about $15 at the time) to the secretary/clerk who handled our paperwork. Not any official who would be making the decisions, mind you, but the sec'y/clerk. This was to assure, my lawyer told me, that our file did not continue to rotate to the bottom of the stack. The amount that I would have had to have paid to an actual decision-maker was rendered moot by a settlement from the ex-employer.

Example 2: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the mayor of Mexico City, hired Rudy and Kerick to come to the DF and tell him what had to be done to clean up the disastrous security situation there. He paid Rudy's consulting company some $1.5m to be told that this would require a 30 year effort just to clean up the police force. Repeat - 30 years. This advice, in addition to many other recommendations which required that large sums of money be spent and none of which would show success in 24 hours or less, shocked AMLO beyond words, apparently. Rudy´s group took their money and were sent home with profuse thanks from AMLO and nothing has been done since, that I can tell.

Nothing has been done since because the people will never permit such a long range and expensive plan to continue in effect. If AMLO in fact were to have launched such a plan, it would only have lasted until the next mayor took office and could have scrapped it in favor of building more memorial fountains and statues (contracted to his brother-in-law) to the accolades and the Vivas! of the populace, the same populace now demanding improved security.

If Giuliani and Kerick say 30 years just to clean up the local beat cops in Mexico City, imagine trying to tackle the entire federal bureaucracy as well as those of all the cities and towns. Impossible. It won't happen. Mexico is dirt poor and will remain dirt poor. In the congress, the PRD and the PRI have joined forces to vote down any and all proposals by the president (of the PAN). When the next president is elected from the PRI, the PAN and PRD, now sworn blood enemies, will suddenly become best buddies so that they might vote down any and all proposals from the PRI. And so it goes, at it has gone for some 180 years.

Note to Anonymous: When a fellow is starving and watches as his babies also starve, he's coming north. It would require a half-a-million heavily armed troops strung out along the border as well as billions in technology (fences, walls, cameras, listening devices, etc.) installed and maintained to stop him, if he can be stopped at all, a doubtful proposition. I don't want to see a Berlin Wall along our southern border, do you? And when was the last time you visited this border, just to check out the lay of the land?

December 11, 2004 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...

What Bush fails to understand is a very simple premise:

It is illogical to grant anything to illegal immigrants (or even announce any such granting) without first sealing the sieve.

He says it is not amnesty. I say it is a Kerry-esque nuance. Nuance is a crafty way of avoiding directness.

He is GIVING something (call it what you wish, Mr. President) before addressing the FLOW of illegals.



2. Start the breathing.

3. Treat for shock.

Our borders are bleeding uncontrollably. Fix it. Then and only then is it logical to come up with a new way of handling 'migrant workers.'

You have it bass ackwards, Mr. President.

December 11, 2004 at 7:06 AM  

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