Sunday, May 21, 2006

Turnabout Is Not Fairplay In Mexico - de Nada, Immigrant

With all of the demonstrations and threats of lawsuits toward the USA by Mexican nationals and the Mexican Government, one would think Mexico is only asking the USA to be a little more like their nuanced approach on the subject of immigrant participation in their country, do you think?

Ahhhh!, NO!

Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! News -

Mexico Works to Bar Non-Natives From Jobs
By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer - Sun May 21, 12:12 PM ET

MEXICO CITY - If
Arnold Schwarzenegger had migrated to Mexico instead of the United States, he couldn't be a governor. If Argentina native Sergio Villanueva, firefighter hero of the Sept. 11 attacks, had moved to Tecate instead of New York, he wouldn't have been allowed on the force.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies "xenophobic," Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory.

In the United States, only two posts — the presidency and vice presidency — are reserved for the native born.

In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens.

Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils. And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."

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Mexico's Interior Department — which recommended the bans as part of "model" city statutes it distributed to local officials — could cite no basis for extending the bans to local posts.

After being contacted by The Associated Press about the issue, officials changed the wording in two statutes to delete the "native-born" requirements, although they said the modifications had nothing to do with AP's inquiries.

"These statutes have been under review for some time, and they have, or are about to be, changed," said an Interior Department official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

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The foreign-born make up just 0.5 percent of Mexico's 105 million people, compared with about 13 percent in the United States, which has a total population of 299 million. Mexico grants citizenship to about 3,000 people a year, compared to the U.S. average of almost a half million.

"There is a need for a little more openness, both at the policy level and in business affairs," said David Kim, president of the Mexico-Korea Association, which represents the estimated 20,000 South Koreans in Mexico, many of them naturalized citizens.

"The immigration laws are very difficult ... and they put obstacles in the way that make it more difficult to compete," Kim said, although most foreigners don't come to Mexico seeking government posts.

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Some Mexicans agree their country needs to change.

"This country needs to be more open," said Francisco Hidalgo, a 50-year-old video producer. "In part to modernize itself, and in part because of the contribution these (foreign-born) people could make."

Others express a more common view, a distrust of foreigners that academics say is rooted in Mexico's history of foreign invasions and the
loss of territory in the 1847-48 Mexican-American War. [link to history links]
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Some say progress is being made. Mexico's president no longer is required to be at least a second-generation native-born. That law was changed in 1999 to clear the way for candidates who have one foreign-born parent, like President Vicente Fox, whose mother is from Spain.

But the pace of change is slow. The state of Baja California still requires candidates for the state legislature to prove both their parents were native born.
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