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New York is Not in Mexico

Fred Thompson, responding to a YouTube question posed during the CNN presidential debate last night, pledged to veto any bill containing amnesty for illegal immigrants. “A nation that cannot and will not defend its own borders will not forever remain a sovereign nation,” the candidate said.

The United States has not able to control its southern border. People—some poor, some honest, and some criminal—stream across an artificial boundary that is apparently indefensible. The Department of Homeland Security is building a “virtual fence” on some portions of the border with Mexico, but it isn’t working well. In some places, there is even an actual fence, often seen on Lou Dobbs Tonight with Latin Americans scampering over, under, and through it.

Nonetheless, the Mexican government calls the barrier “medieval” and compares it to the Berlin Wall. We shouldn’t be surprised that our neighbor to the south is so critical of our attempts to control immigration. As George Grayson of the College of William & Mary says, the Mexican elite “speaks with one voice and that is that Mexicans have a God-given right to come to the United States.” This attitude was evident during President Felipe Calderon’s State of the Union Message in September: “I have said that Mexico does not end at the border, that wherever there is a Mexican Mexico is there.”

As the son of an immigrant and the husband of another, I would like to see America extend an open welcome to people who want to move here and who are willing to follow established procedures. Yet favoring freer immigration is not the same as advocating uncontrolled borders and amnesty. Our President, so conscious of the security of the homeland, needs to say this in public to his counterpart in Mexico City:

We are a nation prepared to defend our sovereignty. You have no business telling us what to do about our own border. If I told you how to run your country, you would complain bitterly about interference. You have enough problems to deal with at home without spending your time worrying about ours. And by the way, don’t even think about repeating your claim to San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. There may be Mexicans living in those cities, but they are under our jurisdiction, and, if they’re undocumented, we’re going to deport them. Have a nice day.


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