Can Americans Live Without Mexican Migrants? We'll Soon Find Out

What would happen if all of the undocumented immigrants in America suddenly dissapeared? According to this op-ed article, written by a Mexican Senator in the newspaper La Jornada, that scenerio, or something approaching it, will come to pass on May 1, when Latino migrants walk off the job en masse. Senator Laura Alicia Garza Galindo implores Mexican President Fox to get himself out of his 'Presidential Seat' and do something to help.

By [Senator] Laura Alicia Garza Galindo  
Translated By Paula van de Werken

April 23, 2006

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

—MOVIE TRAILER: A Day Without a MexicanRealVideo
RealVideo[NEWS PHOTOS: U.S. Immigration Reform Backlash].
—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Tremendous Outpouring Of Opposition
to Immigration Reform Bill in Congress, Apr. 11, 00:02:04RealVideo

Millions of People in Over 60 Major American
Cities Have Held Marches and Demonstrations
Against Proposed Immigration Reforms. (below).

Two Visiting Gringo Presidents Get a Tour of the Pyramids
of Yucatan From None Other Than Mexican President
Vicente Fox, on March 31. (above and below).


To date, the debate over immigration has benefited at least one Mexican, filmmaker Sergio Arau. In 2004, he made a film [A Day Without a Mexican RealVideo] for which he earned little profit.  But today, in the midst of the unfolding crisis in the neighboring country to the north [the U.S.] and thanks to the mass mobilization called for by our countrymen living there, the movie has earned $13 million from DVD sales in only six weeks. The satirical movie summarizes what it would really be like for the United States to do without its Latino work force, and without the undocumented migrants performing the jobs that are reserved for them: harvesting fruit and vegetables, collecting garbage, caring for lawns and gardens, and house cleaning and taking care of children. I have no idea whether the film includes the effects of a magical disappearance of others in the same circumstance that perform the work of carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and other skills.

The now famous DVD - which has already been reproduced in pirated form by the thousands - has become so popular that our countrymen have begun to see people in the streets of U.S. cities, dressed in tee-shirts with the logo of the film, which is the silhouette of a humble man with a sack over his shoulder (according to a well-known Mexico City daily). I haven't had the opportunity to see the satire, but you and I have enough imagination, and to spare, to understand that all [Latinos] are struggling so that this lone migrant, the man in the picture, he of sad figure, can continue to serve the needs of the labor force in every corner of the United States.  It must be a real hell for the gueros [blond, fair-skinned people] to be without the person who does the work at such a low cost, and who allows them to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle and be more productive in all of their businesses and homes.

But we can also see what happens with the U.S.' two business partners, within the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada has distinguished itself by having, for many years, a program for documented Mexican migrants. There, laborers can enter and leave the country freely after having worked for several seasons, knowing that their jobs are secure. Today, just today, [Canada] announced a new strategy against resident undocumented workers, coming from different parts of the world, that will entail the repatriation of  11,000 of them. The Canadians have no alternative but to get in line with the strategy of the United States: pressure must have been applied.

From the government of Mexico, it is obvious that one cannot hope for anything more than yet another abandonment of principle by Fox, who at the slightest provocation, ordered our consulates in the United States not to take part in the recent demonstrations. 

Our radicalized, immigrant countrymen are in the U.S. because of the lack of opportunity in their own land. They need our support, and now that they organized themselves to struggle , now that they are to hold a huge demonstration on May 1, it is truly reprehensible that the President of the Republic who should be supporting them to the limits of his power, is hiding himself behind the seat bearing the Aztec eagle [the President's Chair]. He should at least try to negotiate with the American political authorities to call off any brutal assault of more radical groups that might take part. Good Heavens, President!  Poke your head out [from behind the Presidential seat], at least for the $20 billion the migrants send home, which alleviates some of the infernal poverty of the country, and which is far more than the $12 billion received in foreign investment!

Mexican Coat of Arms,
With the Aztec Eagle


The managerial counter-offensive in the United States will be to let matters come to a head. Watch yourself and see if it isn't so. Already, radio talk-show hosts in places around the United States, who had previously promoted the demonstrations, have been silenced by the threats of advertisers. They say they will pull their ads if any type of aid is given to the boycott, which is being promoted by the immigrant movement and will be held on the First of May. In some areas of that country where the number of illegal migrants is few, laws have been promulgated to deny them access to social services, and without doubt, will spur greater discrimination.

Two exceptions have been the Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, who immediately vetoed the above-mentioned laws, and our Consulate in El Paso, Texas. In Arizona, the manacing Minutemen are rising in revolt and have announced, also on the First of May, a counter "march," but with automobiles. And Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, has announced the launch of tough strategies to deport the undocumented, but saying that this is nothing new.

Where there are large concentrations of immigrants, as in California, Texas and Illinois, they have strongly resisted the threats and actions taken by the authorities; but in places with smaller groups, as is the case of Washington state, these have hit home, and our people there have begun to think, quite rightly, that perhaps an afternoon demonstration would be enough [no strike].

With this backdrop, on April 18 in the Senate of the Republic, the various political powers unanimously approved a statement expressing solidarity with our compatriots, and showing our concern about the mushrooming threats against them, and calling upon the federal government to defend them. Yes, I know: it's just a small thing that we were able to do in the Senate, but we did it in a united fashion.

And I will sum up with this sentiment: God protect them.

Spanish Version Below

Laura Alicia Garza Galindo

Un día sin mexicanos

Pues resulta que a la fecha el debate sobre la reforma migratoria ha logrado beneficiar, al menos, a un mexicano, el cineasta Sergio Arau, quien realizó una película en 2004, por la que entonces obtuvo magras ganancias, pero que hoy, en medio de la crisis que se desarrolla en el vecino país del norte, por la movilización convocada por nuestros paisanos allá instalados para el próximo primero de mayo, se ha puesto de moda, recaudando 13 millones de dólares en sólo seis semanas por la renta en el formato dvd. El satírico filme reseña lo que significaría para Estados Unidos carecer de la fuerza de trabajo latina, excepto uno de los migrantes, seguramente indocumentado, en las tareas para ellos reservadas: la recolección de frutas y verduras, de la basura, del cuidado de los jardines y de quienes ayudan a limpiar las casas y a cuidar de los niños. Ignoro si se aborda o no la mágica desaparición de aquellos que en la misma condición, realizan trabajos de carpintería, fontanería, mecánica y otros oficios.

El ahora famoso dvd -que ya se ha de haber reproducido por millares en copias piratas- ha logrado que empiecen a aparecer paisanos en las calles de aquellas ciudades, vestidos con camisetas con el logo del filme, según lo narra un conocido diario de esta, nuestra ciudad capital: la silueta de un hombre humilde con una bolsa al hombro. No he tenido la oportunidad de ver la sátira en cuestión, pero usted y yo tenemos sobrada imaginación para suponer que todos pelean por lograr que ese único migrante, ese, el de la triste figura, sirva a las necesidades de fuerza laboral en cada rincón de Estados Unidos. Ha de ser un verdadero infierno para los güeros quedarse sin quién realice las tareas que permiten que ellos gocen de una vida más relajada y más redituable en diversos negocios y en sus casas, a bajo costo.

Pero también observemos lo que sucede con los dos socios comerciales de Estados Unidos, en el marco del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte. Canadá, que se ha distinguido por poseer un programa de migrantes mexicanos documentados desde hace muchos años, que entran y salen de aquel país, después de haber laborado en diversas temporadas anuales, pero tienen su trabajo asegurado, hoy, precisamente hoy, ha anunciado su estrategia en contra de los trabajadores indocumentados que allá residen, procedentes de diversos puntos del orbe, que consistirá en repatriar a 11 mil de ellos. No les quedó más alternativa a los canadienses que solidarizarse con la estrategia de Estados Unidos; así han de estar las presiones.

Del gobierno de México es obvio que no se podía esperar otra cosa que una nueva claudicación de Fox, quien a la menor provocación ordenó a nuestros consulados en Estados Unidos no intervenir en las manifestaciones. Es en verdad reprobable que cuando más solidaridad requieren nuestros paisanos inmigrantes allá radicados, por falta de oportunidades acá en su tierra y que ahora se han organizado para dar la pelea con una magna manifestación el próximo primero de mayo, el Presidente de la República, que debería estar apoyándolos al límite de sus fuerzas, se esconda atrás del sillón que lleva el águila azteca, en lugar de, al menos, intentar negociar con las fuerzas políticas estadunideses para que frenen la brutal acometida de los grupos más radicales. ¡Caray, Presidente, saque usted la cara al menos por los 20 mil millones de dólares que en remesas alivian al país en su pobreza infernal y superiores a los 12 mil millones dólares recibidos por inversión extranjera!

La contraofensiva empresarial en Estados Unidos está que arde. Mire usted si no: los locutores de las estaciones de radio, que en diversos lugares de Estados Unidos en su momento impulsaron las manifestaciones, han sido silenciados con la amenaza de retirar los patrocinios si difunden cualquier tipo de apoyo al boicot promovido por el movimiento inmigrante para el primero de mayo. En algunas áreas de aquel país, en las que el número de migrantes ilegales es menor, han promulgado leyes con las que se les niega el acceso a los servicios sociales, y seguramente sufrirán mayores muestras de discriminación. La excepción han sido la gobernadora de Arizona, Janet Napolitano, quien de inmediato vetó las leyes antes aludidas, y nuestro consulado en el Paso, Texas. En Arizona, los Minuteman se alzan amenazantes y anuncian una marcha en autos -como los mítines del PAN- a Washington luego del primero de mayo, y Michael Chertoff, secretario del Departamento de Seguridad de la Patria, anunció e inició duras estrategias de deportación de indocumentados, aduciendo que no es nada nuevo.

Y donde existen grandes concentraciones de inmigrantes, como en California, Texas e Illinois, han resistido con fortaleza a las amenazas y actos consumados por las autoridades; pero en los lugares con grupos menores, como es el caso de Washington, les han hecho mella, y ahí los nuestros empiezan a pensar, con razón, que quizá con una manifestación vespertina sea suficiente.

Ante este panorama, el 18 de abril en el Senado de la República las diferentes fuerzas políticas aprobamos por unanimidad un punto de acuerdo solidarizándonos con nuestros compatriotas, al tiempo que manifestamos la preocupación por las amenazas que contra ellos se ciernen, y llamando al gobierno federal a defenderlos. Sí, lo sé: es poco lo que desde el Senado podemos hacer, pero unidos lo hicimos. Y sumo un sentido: Dios los proteja.