The president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, spoke to the California State Legislature last week; this while the U.S. Senate was voting on an immigration bill. I chose not to go to the Fox speech. Since many people may misconstrue what occurred, I believe a statement explaining my actions is needed.
I have been in the Legislature for some time, and I have seen many heads of state pass through. The American Republic and its operations are fascinating to these foreign politicians, and addressing the California Legislature is often a high point in many dignitaries’ travels. Appropriate decorum dictates that we as legislators be polite and treat these visitors with the respect their positions deserve.
However, most of these dignitaries are visiting our country to see it at work, and to talk with government officials to help their businesses trade with businesses in California, or to establish some sort of government to government relationship. They are not usually in this country, and in our state, to lobby Congress or the state for a change in policy.
Fox’s trip had no other purpose. He was in this country addressing legislative bodies for the sole purpose of trying to change U.S. immigration policy. He has continually complained about our policy, openly questioned the legality of Bush putting National Guard units on the border, and even complained when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill which would have given California driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Throughout the last several years, he has encouraged his citizens to immigrate to this country illegally, and has, in many ways, benefited from that illegal immigration. When his citizens come to California, our taxpayers pick up their medical bills, pay for their education, food, clothing and housing. In return, these Mexican citizens usually take most of their earnings and send them back to Mexico. The relationship is all to Mexico’s benefit, and not much help to California.
So when Fox came to California to promote amnesty for the Mexican nationals that have broken our laws, I found his presence here to be arrogant and offensive. Many of the Mexican citizens who come to the United States illegally are the “social problems” of Mexico. The corruption, the favoritism, the oppressive government has left many of these people in abject poverty, and, if they didn’t come to the United States, they would probably start a revolution in Mexico. Fox wants us to relieve the political tension that these social problems would cause.
So why should I sanction this visit? Why should I sit and listen to lies and propaganda meant to influence the legislative passage of a bill in Congress with which I vehemently disagree? We need to enforce our laws first, not listen to the president of Mexico ask us to pay for his social problems. He should go back to Mexico, fix his economy, fix his corrupt government, and quit sending us his social problems.
I couldn’t say that to him because he would not meet with us to hear these words. So I greeted him with silence. It wasn’t disrespectful. It was protest. It is how I would treat any lobbyist who was pushing me to do something I thought was wrong. More important, it was wrong of the leadership of the California Legislature to aid and abet his lobbying effort.
I wasn’t going to sanction it at any level, so I left, and encouraged others to do the same. It was the right thing to do.
This article was first published at CaliforniaRepublic.org.