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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Mexico and U.S.

By Kent P. Mesplay

Candidate for United States Senator; Green Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Only by focusing on the root causes of immigration can we protect ourselves and help remove the pushes and pulls of immigration. We need to work to improve the security of both Mexican and U.S. citizens.
A friend of mine is one event away from grabbing his guns and joining the last-Minute Men ostensibly defending our porous border with Mexico. Terrified by terrorists, frustrated and angry at feeling ineffective he says, "What's the first thing you do to improve security at home? Lock you doors and windows, right?" Sure, I can't argue with THAT. Missing is another approach: get to know you neighbors. That way, if someone sees someone outside your window they can be of help. Mexico is a friend and an important trading partner and cultural relative. If terrorists such as Al-Qaeda have infiltrated Mexico then Mexico deserves our help, government-to-government. This would be cheaper in the long run than to build a wall or to ban ladders.

The hatred expressed toward undocumented immigrants arises from the us-versus-them mentality accompanying and predicting times of war. Politicians such as Sensenbrenner, who is genuinely fearful, mistake symptoms for causes as they manipulate public perception while not addressing problems at their base. It is costly, ineffective and damaging to not address underlying issues such as centuries of abuse and misuse of land. People flee because their communities cannot support them. Helping to create livable communities on both sides of the border is the answer.

We need to learn to work with Mexico to ensure that re-development on both sides of the border addresses locally controlled solutions respectful of diversity and cognizant of the security implications of living sustainably. International companies rarely have the best interests of local people at heart. When I was president of Turtle Island Institute, in San Diego, our co-founders Marguerite Hampton and Manny Aguilar researched, wrote and presented "Hands Across the Border: Operation Lifesave" to a high-ranking Mexican official. The plan addresses immigration issues from a ground level and was warmly received but not funded. Sustainable development, with an emphaisis on self-reliance as a basis for market development, removes many of the pushes-and-pulls of immigration: legal and illegal. Blaming people who are trying to survive is not the right answer, no matter how politically expedient it may appear to the ruling party.

Bush has not come down hard on "illegals" because he and his homies know that, on balance, the 12 million or so documented undocumented immigrants are being exploited to the benefit of U.S. businesses and consumers. See, for example, "Harvest of Shame" and "Legacy of Shame" regarding where our low food prices come from. The more extreme members of Bush's party who propose to lock up illegals as felons to the tune of over $30,000-a-year per person represent the growing malfeasance, simplistic outlook and misdirected energy that we have come to expect from Washington. The plan is a mistake, even if it were practical and inexpensive.

Most Mexicans and Central Americans considering coming here illegally to work would probably prefer to emmigrate legally if it were affordable and timely. We need a fair and workable process, especially in the agricultural industry, to match up willing workers with employers with as little bureaucratic red-tape as possible. Once here, our guest workers should be treated with respect, a living wage, methods of legal transportation and housing and "natural consequences" for violators (like a buddy system: your buddy disappears so you get sent back South). Current "illegals" could become identified and registered through an audited system, counterfeit-proof I.D.s could be issued to guest workers, to those already here and to new ones taking part in the program, and U.S. citizenship could be expedited for those now waiting and be made available to those willing to wait their turn. As employers need additional workers there could be a process wherein an order is placed with the immigration service allowing admission of the requested number. By having an above-board process lives would be saved and the real draws behind immigration would be addressed. Also, a living wage would be required and enforced so that hard workers are not cheated out of their pay.

As a U.S. Senator I will work to improve relations with Mexico by addressing the root causes of immigration. Growing labor-intensive green businesses on both sides of the border will create jobs for citizens of both of our countries as we adapt our cities and towns to be able to withstand stressors brought by natural and man-made disasters. We can prepare to meet the terror that may lie ahead, whether that terror be by earthquake, physical attack or reduced crop yields attributable to unpredictable and extreme weather. Adjusting toward being a solar-powered state will advance our level of basic security, improve our ability to respond and to survive, will be good for the air that we breathe and will keep California as one of the top world economies. The right step is to help Mexico address border-crossing matters that concern us both, whether the issue is air pollution, sewage flow or unregulated human movement.

More Debate, Less Rhetoric. Mesplay for U.S. Senate

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 11, 2006 09:30
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