I'm one of the "old guard" who, in my youth, used to visit Canada and Mexico regularly and enjoyed the hospitality (at the time) of both countries. I'm also an honorably discharged vet (Korean War) who absolutely resents the very idea that our government wants to tax us all some more by requiring that $100+ passports be carried by legal citizens. I understand the argument that this might protect us from terrorists, but I don't buy that. With all the capabilities of creating forged documents today, it would seem to be a simple matter for these people to supply the overworked state department with clever, and honest looking documentation that would appear legitimate. In other words, the idea seems to be good, but in the cold light of reason and fact, it fails the acid test miserably.
This email was sent to both my Senators. If I receive any response, I'll post it in the comments.
The following was sent to me by a friend and I reprint here. I'm not sure if I believe it all because many years ago I went freely into and out of Mexico without all this foldorol. On the other hand, I did not seek employment there and the government was friendly with the U.S.
I also know that for a number of years a fair amount of Americans retired into Mexico because the cost of living was considerably cheaper than remaining in the states. Take your choice, most likely you know more about present day Mexico than I do:
Subject: illegal immigrants, US vs Mexico
Date: Sat, 19 May 2007 07:38:26 -1000
I received this from my friend in California in April 2006. His preamble to the email was interesting to note then but now - in light of the legislation working its way through DC - it's pertinent. He said: What interests me about this is not the content below, but that most Americans don't understand that we have no boundaries, no real impediments to entering our country and participating in our society, no standards or restrictions -- at least, none that we enforce and adhere to, and that we're probably the only nation in the world like this. Without enforcement, there is no law. The only power of law is its ability to be enforced. Without boundaries, we live at the mercy of others.
The following from a director with SW BELL in Mexico City. I spent five years working in Mexico. I worked under a tourist visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. After that you were working illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks waiting on the FM3 approval. During that six months our Mexican and US Attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara 's was the same except hers did not permit her to work. To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies) of my: 1. Birth certificates for Barbara and me. 2. Marriage certificate. 3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation. 4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation. 5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year. 6. A letter from The St. Louis Chief of Police indicating I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."
7. Finally; I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on earth" letter. It was fun to write.
All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right. Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours accompanied by a Mexican attorney touring Mexican government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times.
At each location (and we remember at least four locations) we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences. We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony. We paid out four thousand dollars in fees and bribes to complete the process. When this was done we could legally bring in our household goods that were held by US customs in Laredo Texas. This meant we rented furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here that the company paid. We could not buy a home and were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law. We were required to get a Mexican drivers license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and finger print equipment and the laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a six dollar fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was never give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back. We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The companies Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. I was about twenty legal size pages annually. The FM 3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees. Leaving the country meant turning in the FM# and certifying we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs. It was a real adventure and If any of our senators or congressmen went through it once they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.
The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant. They never protest at their White House or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas.
Please feel free to share this with everyone who thinks we are being hard on illegal immigrants.
S. Joy Webster
602 Loulu Way
Makawao, HI 96768
Phone & fax: 808/572-6303
One more thing from my correspondent:
Two illegal immigrants are panhandling on the street. Jose drives a Mercedes, lives in a mortgage free house and has a lot of money to spend. Carlos only brings in 2 to 3 dollars a day.
Carlos asks Jose how he can bring home a suitcase full of $10 bills every day.
Jose says "Look at your sign. It says: I have no work, a wife and 6 kids to support."
So Carlos looks at Jose's sign.
It reads "I only need another $10.00 to move back to my country".