Migrating to the US: High Crime

On the past 27th of March, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the business that had employed José Castro, one of the more than three and a half million undocumented Mexicans who live and work in the US, was not obligated to pay him his back salary nor any other compensation, in spite of the fact that he had been fired unjustly. You may ask, “What was this grave crime committed by José Castro such that the highest court of the most powerful country in the world would decide to deprive of him the protection granted by justice ever since slavery was abolished?” The answer is quite simple: José Castro committed the offense of being an undocumented Mexican migrant, the same offense that seven million people in the US are committing right now, half of whom were born in Mexico.

The interpretations that can be given to this contested judgment (but final judgment) are very serious. Beyond the case of José Castro, for whom now nothing or very little can be done, the judgment of the Supreme Court and the arguments upon which the decision are founded establish that the

decision was made to avoid that “it stimulate the successful evasion of the Border Patrol, that it condone previous violations of the immigration laws and stimulate future violations.” In synthesis, the highest court of the land considers an undocumented migrant a criminal who has committed a crime so grave that s/he be deprived of his/her basic rights, granted at the abolishment of slavery. Nothing more nor less.

He who may still have had doubts about how Mexican undocumented migrants are viewed– after reading antiterrorist czar Tom Ridge’s document, which identifies undocumented migrants as “dangers” as serious to the United States as terrorists, drug smugglers, or weapons of mass destruction, an

official document that establishes US policy in respect to its borders, a policy derived from the accords that the Mexican government signed with the US government in Monterrey –must now find himself much more clear that Ridge is not the only one who thinks like this.

You may ask yourself what can be done now other than that we get indignant. In the first place it would be good if we get indignant officially. It is unacceptable that this judgment comes only five days after Mexico and the United States ratified, once again, a deep friendship and when President Bush declared, also once again, that Mexican immigration was a priority topic for his administration. If it had been such a priority and the administration had promoted the regularization of the Mexicans in the United States, as requested by Mexico since February of the past year during the “successful” visit by Bush to the ranch of President Fox, then José Castro would have received his 67 million dollars and the other three and a half million Mexicans would not be at the mercy of their masters who now, with no more ado, may fire them unjustly and at no cost to themselves.

On the other hand, the affair can be quite beneficial for Mexico. May José Castro excuse me, but his case can be favorably exploited for the Mexican agenda. The reason is quite simple. The unions of the United States cannot, even though it deals with undocumented Mexicans, accept a

judgment of this nature. Nor can the organizations related to Latin interests celebrate the Supreme Court decision. So Mexico now has strong and important allies on the US political scene who have a relative voice and weight worth taking into account and this, in an election year, can be highly beneficial.

The unions and other organizations may now be much more decidedly allied toward, for example, the regularization of undocumented Mexicans in the United States, which has up to now been disdained by our partners and friends. Mexico could be much more aggressive now that it shall be far more authorized to promote this regularization with the simple and blunt argument that, as the Supreme Court judgment demonstrates, the best and perhaps only way to avoid violations of the rights of the undocumented migrants is to not have undocumented migrants. As well as this: the most intelligent border is that which doesn’t exist.

The Supreme Court judgment must mark a change in the Mexican strategy of migratory negotiation; if that is not done, Mexico shall be permitting, or in stronger words abetting, the violation of the basic rights of its citizens. Perhaps it is time to remind President Fox that he promised to be President of 120 million Mexicans, the 100 here plus the 20 over there. (translated by Mexico Doug)

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