June 17, 2006 [LINK]

Trail of tears: back to Mexico

Another piece of evidence that the Bush administration may just be serious about defending our nation's borders after all: An increased number of would-be illegal immigrants are being returned involuntarily to Mexico, some of them penniless and destitute. This is causing enormous hardship for the people who thought they had made it into the Promised Land, and it is causing disruption in some towns in northern Mexico. See CNN.com. This is sad but inevitable. The alternative to serious border enforcement is the emergence of vigilante groups such as the Minutemen, and the resurgence of the long-dormant overt racist politics advanced by the Ku Klux Klan.

Oddly, the immigration issue has had relatively little impact on the presidential campaign in Mexico, according to the Washington Post. I was watching a debate among the presidential candidates in Mexico on C-SPAN, and the conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon, fended off attacks on his character by the leftists. The World Cup has taken many Mexicans' minds off the mudslinging, at least.

War on poverty in Bolivia

The Bolivian government announced a broad program to fight poverty, in addition to the land redistribution program already announced. They plan to create 100,000 jobs a year for the next five years, which sounds good, but the inexperience of the "outsiders" in the new government of Evo Morales raises questions about their capacity to administer such an ambitious program. In any case, the far leftist inclination of Morales suggests that free trade and private investment will not be a significant part of the equation. Given Bolivia's desperate need for such infusion of wealth, that would be a tragically wasted opportunity. See BBC.