Felipe Calderon visits the colonies (safe, legal "migration")
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Mexican president Felipe Calderon visited five U.S. cities this week, and had 34 events scheduled with a wide range of movers and shakers (his wife had a few events also). Some of the dignitaries he met with are listed here; picture right is of him with New York governor Eliot Spitzer from presidencia.gob.mx/prensa/?contenido=33715
At every stop, he has scheduled meetings with top local and state officials, some of whom have direct links to presidential candidates.
In his speech to the California legislature (which includes several Democrats with obviously divided loyalties), he said that "I strongly believe that Mexican and Mexican-American workers are a large reason for the dynamic economy of California", which is certainly true. It's also true that millions of illegal aliens from Mexico have a very negative impact on the state and the country, but he didn't bring up the downsides. He also promoted changing illegal immigration into (massive) legal immigration. From this, he gave a shout out to the Bracero program and also said:
We need to make migration legal, safe and organized.
Compare that to George W. Bush ("I will work to ensure a system of safe and orderly migration"), a Bush rep ("safe, humane, orderly and legal program"), Rob Allyn ("safe and legal and orderly and controlled"), Jim Wallis ("safe, legal, and orderly manner") and various Mexican government reps: link, link, link.
Are they all reading from the same script?
Without specifically directing audience members to pick up the phone and call their congressmen, Calderon also hinted that a key component to ensuring a strong future for Mexico lies in the pressure Mexicans here can apply to U.S. leaders, arguing that the improvement of Mexico is a joint government venture.
One of the major costs he didn't discuss is that massive immigration from Mexico gives that country political power inside the U.S., as evidenced by a foreign leader urging Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to promote Mexico's agenda to U.S. leaders. Obviously, the agendas of the U.S. (but not necessarily our elites) differs from that of Mexico in major ways. In the case of conflicts, whose side would former immigrants from Mexico come down on?
UPDATE: Aurelio Rojas of the SacBee offers this, in which he says that Calderon said "Mexican American workers are a large reason for the dynamic economy of California"; in fact, that was actually "Mexican and Mexican-American workers..." He also said:
"The choice is not between migration and (border) security or between migration and prosperity... The choice is between a future of integration and success or a future of distrust and resentment."
But after the speech, Republican Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks said it was "inappropriate" for Calderon to "lecture" the Legislature about U.S. policies. "I don't think it's any of Mexico's business what America does with its own immigration policy, just as it's none of America's business what Mexico does with immigration policy," McClintock said... Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, who spent part of his childhood in Mexico, said McClintock did not have "a valid argument.".. "Any president of any nation has a right to their own point of view," said Nunez, who praised Calderon for his efforts to improve Mexico's economy and stem illegal immigration.
Calderon is entitled to his own POV, but whether he should be given a stage at the California Capitol is another matter. It's not surprising at all that Nunez would defend him.
And, whereever Calderon went he was greeted by some number of Mexicans protesting his pro-business policies; some pictures from Chicago here, which mentions another one of those unmentionable costs of massive immigration from Mexico:
why are we allowing the internal politics of a foreign country to play out within our borders?
And, speaking at a winery founded by a Mexican immigrant, Calderon used another stock term, referring to illegal immigration as a "phenomonon", as if it were the tides:
"We came to be here with you to defend thousands of families of Mexican workers that are here because of a natural phenomenon, that compliments the economy of the U.S. and the economy of Mexico. If we want to seek prosperity for our cities we have to have this prosperity together."
UPDATE 2: Tom Tancredo has sent a letter to Calderon. An AP report on Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa meeting with Calderon is here; per the comments, the L.A. Times doesn't seem to have reported on their meeting. The latest they appear to offer featuring both is a short report from Nancy Vogel (link), which doesn't mention anything that the reports above don't cover. The only artifact they provide from their meeting is this photo, captioned "Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon discuss trade opportunities in downtown Los Angeles":
UPDATE 3: There's another roundup here:
On the night of Feb. 13th, meeting with LA Mexican leaders, Calderon discussed the formation of a "league of anti-defamation and anti-discrimination," modeled on the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, to protect Mexicans in the U.S... Quoth Calderon, "If anyone is mercilessly defaming, ridiculing, and exacerbating hatred against Mexicans, all of us need to neutralize that force."
That links to this, which says that he said that just as the Jewish community had their league, he hoped that Mexicans would have their own. It also includes another picture of our favorite collaborateur: