Monday, May 17, 2010

Arizona as an Illustration of the Relationship's Futility

This paragraph appeared at the end of a Ricardo Pascoe Pierce column last week:
What lies at the bottom of this situation is the growing dysfunction of the bilateral relationship. The salinista bet on market integration in North America, endorsed by Zedillo, Fox, and Calderón, is arriving at its end. Those who have backed this integration and have disdained economic integration as a model today have no answer for how to confront this situation. Either there is the complete integration of services, commerce, and people or there won't be beneficial integration and we should search for another path for national development, using diversification as the conceptual trunk to formulate it.
I don't buy that, at least not entirely. What's notable about the Arizona dust-up is not how it's sinking the good relations between both nations, but rather how it isn't. At the federal level, everybody on both sides agrees that it's asinine and offensive. Broadly speaking, the Arizona law is not a symptom of an inevitably dysfunctional relationship, but rather an oddity that the closer bilateral relationship is better positioned to deal with than the more distant governments would have been 40 years ago.

I also think treating diversification versus North American integration as a stark either/or proposition is the wrong way to approach the issue, though Pascoe Pierce is far from alone in that tendency. More here on that score.


Anonymous said...

"Everyone at the Fedeal level on both sides feels it's asinine". Don't be so sure about that. That is the Administration view, but but it is certainly not unanimous. Indeed 13 other states are considering similar legislation.

We may be be seeing a revesal in traditional roles here in the US - leadership may be coming forth from the "grass roots" rather than Washington. Last nights elections may indicate an "out with the old order" [of both parties] and in with a new breed of politician who is more of a "non-politician" politician and more responsive to those who elected him. If so, grass roots sentiments will begin to take priority over the grand designs of the political elites. If this is the case, thee will be more Arizona's as 60-70 of the "people" support the Arizona action.

I think the average North American, while having great respect for indvidual aliens, has come to the conclusion that that the current situation is simply unsustainable, is a serious drag on local, state, and federal budgets, and that the border must be closed to all but legal aliens.

Obama willl not do it so those affected will continue doing what they can to improve the situation.

Just found your site this am - very nice job you are doing.

L Weber
Beaufort SC

pc said...

Hi L Weber, thanks for reading.

Re the asinine nature of the law, other states will likely toy with similar laws, but I've not seen any official at the federal level say anything supporting about it.

As far your broader point about where the leadership is going to come from, I don't really see any solution to this in the near term, neither at the federal or state level. Whatever your opinion on the Arizona law, I don't think anyone thinks it alone is going to do much do reduce immigration to the US. As far as federal legislation, both sides have lots of members scared of the backlash, republicans from indignant hispanics, democrats from indignant voters who view illegal immigration harshly. And the relevant interest groups all want very different things out of immigration reform, each of which is anathema to at least some of the others (i.e. earned amnesty, much stricter enforcement, more low-skilled labor visas). I don't see where the compromise will be viable. I'm not sure we'll get a better opportunity than 2006 (that was the year, right?), with a sympathetic Republican president looking to cross the aisle. If reform couldn't get passed then, I don't see how it will in the forseeable future, unless Obama wins a huge majority in 2012 or 2014 (2010 is surely out on that score).