Read the current Progressive Forage digital edition

0406 FG: Industry commentary

Brad Nelson Published on 07 August 2006

About six weeks before the May 1st “No Mexicans” demonstration day, my crew came to me and stated they would like that day off. If we got a busy schedule, they offered to work longer days and all day the Saturday before the strike day to not create an upset for our company.

We were able to let them have “May Day” off from work. I agree, by the way, that the status quo pertaining to immigration laws and their enforcement or lack of it, as the case may be, are not appropriate nor adequate.

That being said, and honestly hoping for a compromise that makes sense, let me lay a few things at the feet of the Mexican government. The fellows who work under my direction who go back to visit relatives in Mexico have shared with me some interesting comments about how things really are in their homeland.

Among their fears are bandits and any form of Mexican police. The bandits, they tell me, are easier to reason with than the generally corrupt police.

Both the bandits and the police can be bribed; in fact, most of those going home would make sure they had $500 cash in excess of the needs for the trip in case they had to pacify the corrupt local constable. Bandits, they say, can also be bought.

Add to this entering the United States illegally, which it seems is at least unofficially aided and encouraged by the Mexican government, and we have natives of Mexico in the United States with an attitude that sets them up for problems.

The attitude I am referring to is a general contempt for all laws and a distrust of any law enforcement agency or officer. Some even harbor the attitude that it is more honorable to deal drugs than to wear a uniform and enforce the law.

I have seen this attitude cost young families a small fortune for mundane things like driving a vehicle that is not insured and driving without a driver’s license.

The exception to this scenario are those whose fathers left Mexico not for more money but because they could not stand the blatant corruption. Every young man of Mexican heritage who has worked for me, who has been clean with the law and with drugs or alcohol, tells me the same thing.

When I ask why they do not have problems with drunk driving and drugs like so many around them, they explain their fathers taught them to obey the laws of the land they live in and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

These are the people Mexico needs most of all, but its system has run them off. These people become business owners and employers. They could be forming businesses and employing people in Mexico rather than in the United States.

If what I hear on the news is correct, the administration of President Fox was voted in on a promise to clean house. Whoever ends up the winner of the recent controversial election in Mexico could do well to take this promise to heart also.

With the entrenched corruption, it should not be hard to find and fire a corrupt official in a high place every now and again. Say once a week? What a morale booster for the whole country! In all fairness, my guys tell me it is not as bad in Mexico as it used to be – but it is still far from what it could be.

There is no way to reverse the history of the last three or four generations. There is no chance that all of the Mexicans north of the border illegally will be deported.

Among other things, the economy of the United States could not withstand such a disruption. What is needed is to slow the flow of those entering the United States illegally and to find a way to get the worker and the job together in an orderly and honorable way.

Whatever comes of the turmoil over immigration reform, the new government of Mexico needs to support what becomes the law of the land. That means to stop encouraging its native sons and daughters to risk their lives to come north illegally.

The most important thing Mexico can do for its country and its people is to challenge them to see Mexico as their land of opportunity.

It took generations for the situation in their homeland to get to where it is today. It may take a generation or two to reverse the attitudes there, so Mexico’s brightest minds choose to stay and develop their homeland.

If the new government will not accept this challenge, then in another hundred years we will see the brightest and most gifted of the sons and daughters of Mexico still finding it intolerable to live in the land of their birth.  FG