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A little sympathy for the illegal (gringos) aliens

17 April 2007

 Jacob G. Hornberger originally wrote this for la Prensa (San Diego).  It was reprinted in New American Media:

SAN DIEGO — There is a big immigration problem that has been growing year after year. An increasing number of American citizens are moving to Mexico, and some of them are even becoming undocumented workers. Even worse, they are refusing to assimilate and are even insisting on retaining their U.S. citizenship.

Six years ago… Americans in Ajijic were organizing gardening classes and Sunday morning walking clubs. The Lake Chapala Society had a library containing 20,000 books — in English — and an English-language theater. The Super Lake market carried rye bread and every type of Betty Crocker cake mix. Restaurant menus in town were changing from enchiladas to waffles for breakfast. Most of the people at Donas Donuts were Americans, discussing U.S. political issues, presumably in English.

Since then the problem has only intensified. That 2001 article reported that the U.S. Embassy estimated that 600,000 Americans were living in Mexico. Today, Wikipedia puts the number at one million.

The assimilation problem hasn’t gotten any better either. In a recent article entitled “Illegal Gringos,” the Los Angeles Times reported that San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, has many retired baby boomers moving into town, a number of whom are performing work without a permit or license.


I say, leave those Americans alone. Why shouldn’t they be free to live in Mexico any way they want? If they want to associate only with other Americans, why shouldn’t they be free to do so? Why should they be required to give up their American citizenship just because they’re living in Mexico? Sure, it might be a good idea for them to learn Spanish, but shouldn’t this be left up to them? And yes, some of them are working illegally, but who cares? Aren’t they providing services that people are willing to pay for and that are improving people’s lives? And so what if they’re still flying the American flag, singing the Star Spangled Banner, and celebrating the Fourth of July? Who are they hurting? And does it really matter that they’re rooting for American sports teams instead of Mexican ones?

Leave Americans in Mexico be. Let them pursue happiness in their own way. Isn’t that what freedom is all about?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 April 2007 11:54 am

    Very interesting–it’s nice to know that the phenomenon is receiving some press. I agree that assimilation is completely voluntary, but the working illegally is a stickier point. Beaurocracy sure makes it difficult, expensive, and seemingly not worth the effort of becoming legal. Nevertheless, it seems a tad parasitical. It’s a great dilemma to wrestle with–thanks for posting about it.

  2. el_longhorn permalink
    19 April 2007 12:19 pm

    I agree 100%. There should be complete freedom to travel and work between the US and Mexico for people from both countries. It really is a win-win situation.

  3. 2 May 2007 9:02 pm

    These Americans who come to our fair land and think they have every right to live and work here without proper permissions just annoy the hell out of officialdom and make it harder for the rest of us.

    I continue to spend many pesos in my quest for legality so that I can enjoy the fullest range of benefits in this country. I don’t like it, it’s not just – but there you are…I live with it.

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