Archived: Mexico’s Great Leap Forward


What does a writer do when Britain’s renowned “Economist“ Magazine and USA Today simultaneously publish articles about Mexico’s economic boom and that Mexico is misperceived by Americans who are stunned to discover that Mexico is a “Middle Class Country?”

A writer would smile because he wrote these same words a decade ago.

The Economist: “In terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product, Mexico) ranks just ahead of South Korea. In 2011 the Mexican economy grew faster than Brazil’s—and will do so again in 2012… (Yet) three years ago Pentagon analysts warned that Mexico risked becoming a “failed state”.

“China (with more than 60 mentions in the presidential debates) is by far the biggest source of America’s imports… Mexico is already the world’s biggest exporter of flat-screen televisions, BlackBerrys and fridge-freezers, and is climbing up the rankings in cars, aerospace and more. On present trends, by 2018 America will import more from Mexico than from any other country. “Made in China” is giving way to “Hecho en México”.

“… the supply of potential border-hoppers has plunged: whereas in the 1960s the average Mexican woman had seven children, she now has two. Within a decade, Mexico’s fertility rate will fall below America’s.”

USA Today has published an article declaring that Mexico is a Middle Class country, what with 50 percent of its people now classified as middle class or higher. Certainly there is still poverty, but the Fox/Calderon dozen years in power has slashed poverty by half.

Here, from my New York Times days are some of what I wrote in 2000: “The steady decline (of Border Hoppers) can be attributed to a surge in the Mexican economy, plunging birth rates and a slower population growth. Mexico now generates about a million-jobs-a-year, double the amount available a decade ago.”

“In 1993, before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico manufactured about 500,000 automobiles, with over 80 percent geared for the domestic market. Last year (1999), the number had grown to 1.5 million automobiles, with fewer than 500,000 for the Mexican market and a million for export, mostly to the United States and some to Brazil and other countries. It obviously takes more Mexican autoworkers to build a million more cars than pre-NAFTA days.” (The entire article is at:

Mexico is booming, fewer Mexicans are coming to the USA than are returning home so now is the time for the Congress to create a workable immigration policy that allows those Mexicans still willing to come for work to come and go legally so Mexicans aren’t forced to stay here illegally in order to avoid stricter border enforcement.

A fence isn’t the answer because Mexicans are much smarter than the engineers who design “crossing-proof” fences. More Border Patrol agents isn’t the answer, they tend to shoot at each other in friendly fire episodes that kill Americans. Chasing bandits on the border doesn’t work, it never has – ask Pancho Villa who is still laughing after he made a fool of General Blackjack Pershing and 10,000 American troops in 1916. Busting human mules carrying a kilo or two of cocaine across the border isn’t the answer for tons make their way through to feed the insatiable drug market of affluent White middle class Americans.

Two specific areas of law and continuing change can make most immigration problems disappear. President Barack Obama can add some weight to changes, but he has spent four years ignoring the subject so we cannot expect him to contribute much except for some flowery but meaningless words.

Article 1, Section Eight of the Constitution is clear, even to Obama – the Congress is specifically charged with making a “uniform rule of naturalization” – immigration, not the President, not the courts. Thus reform it is up to two people, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Here is what this writer suggests to those two men:  Mexico is doing its part by booming and growing faster economically — twice as fast, or more, than the U.S. thus creating jobs that keep Mexicans home. Congress can fulfill its responsibilities by passing this three-pronged immigration reform bill:

1. Legalizing men, women and children that were brought to the U.S. illegally before they were 16 years of age complete with a “green card” and eligibility for citizenship after ten years.

2. Legalizing adult non-felons who have been illegally in the country for more than five years with a penalty payment of $1000 to be paid over five years, at which time they can apply for permanent residency and after ten years, eventual citizenship.

3. Creating work visas that allow in-and-out border-crossings for E-Verified workers on jobs certified by the U.S. Labor Department.

Taxes will be collected, people will be legal and crops will be harvested.

It is not complicated, Congress, get to work.

Raoul Lowery is the author of “Is Mexico Burning?” and other books available

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