Why Would a Mexican President Welcome the Loss of Migrating Citizens?

exit signIf there were a steady stream of Americans leaving the country to live abroad – especially if those emigrants were of prime working age – policy makers and pundits would be focused on what was leading to the nation’s loss and what remedial action might be needed to stem the exodus. Wouldn’t that be true for any country?

That is apparently not the case for the leadership of Mexico and its Central American neighbors. It is also not true for Cuba. The leaders of those countries have adopted policies of either publicly encouraging the U.S. to provide amnesty to their citizens who have migrated illegally to ‘el Norte’ or have publicly requested that the U.S. government continue to spare their citizens from being sent home.

According to the White House blog, Mexican president Pena Nieto said in his meeting with president Obama on January 6, 2015 that his government was ready to help its citizens in the United States obtain the documents they need to apply for protection against deportation available under the executive amnesties. Those documents promised by Pena were ones “…necessary to prove that they have been in the United States before 2010…” and birth certificates. These are to be made available without having to travel back to Mexico to do obtain them.

Central American governments have issued requests to the U.S. government to continue protection of their nationals illegally in the United States against deportation through the temporary protected status (TPS) designation. The Central Americans who have TPS are Hondurans and Nicaraguans (since before December 1998) and Salvadorans (since before March 2001).

In the case of Cuba, president Fidel Castro blackmailed president Clinton into accepting the issuance of a minimum number of at least 20,000 immigrant visas annually for Cubans under threat of unleashing another Mariel boatlift. To accommodate Castro, Clinton established a unique (and extra-legal) lottery system of immigrant visas for Cubans. Also in the Caribbean, Haiti has citizens illegally in the United States protected against deportation by TPS (for those in the country before January 2010). This is in addition to earlier amnesty provisions for illegal aliens from Haiti, Cuba, and Central America.

If we assume that the backing of these leaders for the exodus of their citizens is not simply altruistic sympathy for their enhanced economic opportunity, the explanation for these leaders’ support for the alienation of their citizens is that it benefits their administrations. That is explained by the flow of remittances sent home by the nationals of these countries to help support family members. This support for exodus of their citizens also logically relates to the inability of the sending governments to provide enough productive jobs for those who might be sent home.

Experience suggests that if future U.S. administrations were to contemplate allowing TPS status to lapse and roll back the executive amnesties of the current administration and instead actively enforce the immigration law there would be an outcry of protest from our neighbors. They seem to think the United States should continue to bear the burden that they would face if their nationals were sent home.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    How many of the persons coming here are unskilled, uneducated, and/or criminal? It seems Mexico and Central America are dumping their problems and overpopulation on the U.S. Taxpayers to support.

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  3. avatar

    Most immigrants send all of their earnings home while our government, and private bleeding heart organizations support most or all of their daily needs.
    Check with your local western unions, etc.
    Long, long, lines of immigrants sending thousands of American dollars home to their country’s.

    • avatar

      send them back to their country they arenot american citizen and they dont understand tps means it will end as soon as this fool leaves office

    • avatar

      Totally true! AND – we have people who are 2nd generation and can’t speak English without a strong accent or even fluently.

    • avatar

      We should tax the money being sent back to Mexico etc… Taxes were not paid on a lot of that money to begin with.

  4. avatar

    I have heard people say our borders are too long, so we can’t secure them. Take a look at what China, another large country, has done to secure its borders.

    The Modernization of China’s Border and Coastal Defense Infrastructure

    The Jamestown Foundation –China Brief
    http://www.jamestown.org February 4, 2010 By: Russell Hsiao

    —-From January 29 to January 31, the National Committee on Border and Coastal Defense of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) held its fourth meeting in Beijing. The meeting was attended by the top echelons in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

    —-In 2005….each military region, coastal province, prefecture and county was required to establish a border and coastal defense committee.

    —-Since then the PLA has reportedly constructed 25,000 kilometers of maritime border patrol tunnels, 7,000 kilometers of fences, and at least 3,000 border demarcations, watchtowers, coastal defense installations, harbors and tarmac as part of this national project. The completion of a sentry post reportedly located in Medog County of the Nyingtri Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)—bordering the disputed Arunachal Pradesh region—late last year apparently marked the completion of a nationwide surveillance system that serves as a component of this colossal infrastructure project. The Chinese media dubbed this network “China’s Digital Great Wall” (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).
    According to a report in the South China Morning Post (Nanhua Zaobao)—a Hong Kong-based newspaper—the completion of the “digital surveillance system” (shuzi jiankong xitong) was an integral part of China’s national security strategy and finished at the end of 2009. The number of surveillance sentry posts reportedly number in the thousands, and fiber optic cables were used to connect these posts to 10 control centers. According to the same report, all border patrol stations with more than 100 soldiers have been linked up to this surveillance system (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).

    —-A member of the Committee cited by the official Xinhua News Agency stated that the completion of these installations reflect the development of China’s border and coastal defense from a scattered, single-mission-oriented, incompatible system to a diversified, well-connected, comprehensive system, which serves military, political, economic and social benefits (Xinhua News Agency, February 1).

    —-The system will also reportedly help stem human smuggling, illegal immigration, drugs and other unlawful activities (Xinhua News Agency, February 2).

  5. avatar
    Diana Reichardt on

    We need to seriously start limiting the amount of people coming into this country. In case you haven”t noticed we
    are starting to have some serious issues with the Muslim population and the people streaming in from Mexico and as I understand it President Obama in infinite wisdom is now considering additional people from some other troubled countries. This is got to end. There are NOT enough jobs for the citizens who have been here working and paying taxes. A lot of people have lost their jobs and now are either living on unemployment or working jobs paying less than they were making before. We have people coming here who expect to shove their religion down our throats and feel they Do NOT have to obey our laws but want to employ Sharia Law. This country is falling apart and I feel the people in office now are trying to DESTROY the “American” way of life. They want a third world country HERE. Low wages, no benefits but plenty of PROFIT for the 1% If anyone in DC cares they better STEP UP TO THE PLATE and get immigration under control. It is just a matter of time.

  6. avatar

    In a January 11 article, Plundering America, the South Florida Sun Sentinel laid out the massive fraud and crime committed by Cubans in the area, in direct contradiction to the common theme of how Cuban migration has been such a benefit.

    According to their analysis, while Cuban born residents make up 4% of the state’s population, federal arrests for various organized crime activities in Florida are, marijuana trafficking, 45%, credit card fraud, 33%, cargo theft, 72%, and health care fraud, 72%.

    Almost all Cubans who manage to get here are allowed to stay and are eligible for welfare benefits. But a large amount of those committing crimes simply go back to Cuba with their stolen money before the feds catch on. Cuba will not extradite them, and will not take back the criminals we want to deport.

    Why would they? They play us time and time again. The recent resumption of diplomatic relations got us nothing but a slap in the face from Raul Castro with him saying they won’t change their dictatorship one bit.

    • avatar

      South Florida has become another Third World country with Miami the most crooked city in the US filled with gangs, drugs and violence. South California has become another Third World country filled with gangs, drugs and violence. They wish to spread the misery across the United States so everyone has an opportunity to live in a cesspoo.