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Annex Mexico? Sure, Why Not?

Would Mexicans really stop wanting to come to America if we turned Mexico into America? A “South America,” if you will? Would Americans want to curb illegal immigration by allowing a whole country to immigrate?

Fresh from the Trump Administration’s failed attempt to buy Greenland from Denmark, a Republican senatorial candidate has a new proposal to enlarge America. The primary challenger to Arizona Senator Martha McSally wants to annex Mexico.

You can’t make this stuff up. As Will Rogers said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

Daniel McCarthy, the owner of a cosmetics company, recently took to the airwaves in the Grand Canyon State to say, “Clearly 30 million Mexican illegal immigrants want to be United States citizens, probably half the country wants to be United States citizens.”

Would Mexicans really stop wanting to come to America if we turned Mexico into America? A “South America,” if you will? Would Americans want to curb illegal immigration by allowing a whole country to immigrate? Annexation followed by eviction of the current residents would probably not be practical (or peaceful).

McCarthy’s proposal is truly an outside-the-box attempt to MAGA. This time, however, “MAGA” would mean “make America greater again” in the sense of enlarging American territory for the first time since taking over the administration of several groups of Pacific islands in the aftermath of WWII. Who could object to a resumption of manifest destiny and enlarging American territory and influence?

Probably the Mexicans. After all, let’s not forget that Mexico fought a war that was an ill-fated attempt to prevent only part of its territory from being annexed by the Americans. Two wars, if you count the Texas Revolution, the goal of which was to secede from Mexico and join the US. The chances of Mexico voluntarily uniting with los americanos are probably near nada.

At least, McCarthy isn’t talking about a forceful annexation this time. He makes that clear, saying, “I want to speak above the Mexican government. Okay? When you’re talking to the Mexican citizens, ‘Rise up in your communities and petition to become states for the United States.’ That’s how that process works.”

McCarthy may well overestimate the desire of Mexicans to become Americans. He may not have seen the many memes on conservative internet sites that depict Mexican immigrants rallying with Mexican flags and ask questions like, “Why do you want to immigrate to a new country and still keep the flags and customs of your old country?”

Residents of Chinatown and Little Italy could not be reached for comment. Neither could proud descendants of German, Greek, Polish, and other lineages.

McCarthy may also overestimate the willingness of the MAGA crowd to accept the injection of 129 million people into the American population. Preservation of language and culture have been big concerns of the hardline immigration crowd. And what about the effect of adding the Mexican states to the Electoral College? Considering President Trump’s bargain basement popularity in Mexico, all those new voters would probably kill his chance of winning a second term. At least, this might win Democrat support for the idea.

With quite a few members of the MAGA crowd openly supportive of reducing legal immigration, it’s doubtful that many would be happy with 129 million Mexicans becoming voting US citizens. Trump supporters overwhelmingly support a wall to keep illegal immigrants from south of the border out, but McCarthy’s plan would bring all Mexicans inside the US border and allow them to qualify for US entitlements, another concern of the hardliners.

The wall is one of the few areas where McCarthy’s idea would benefit US taxpayers. The current US border with Mexico is 1,952 miles while the southern Mexican border is only 697 miles. At about a billion dollars per mile, the reduction of 1,255 miles of wall would represent a significant savings to taxpayers. The shorter border would also be choke point that would be easier to patrol.

And the wall would still be needed. Contrary to what McCarthy (and many Republicans) might believe about illegal immigration, a large share of apprehensions along the southern border are from other Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. 

Another alternative is to simply annex Central America as well. After all, we already send them money and we could probably administer these countries more efficiently and prosperously than their current governments. And annexing countries is like eating potato chips: You can’t stop at one.

My friend and co-writer Steve Berman has suggested that we buy Mexico, rather than annex it. There are a couple of problems with this idea, however. The first is that Donald Trump has such a poor relationship with the Mexican government that, like Denmark, they would probably refuse to sell.

The second problem is that the US is running a trillion-dollar annual deficit. With a debt-to-income ratio that bad, we will never qualify for a second mortgage on a new country. When we made the Louisiana Purchase, we weren’t $21 trillion in the red. This is why we can’t have nice things. Maybe we could rent-to-own.

It’s tempting to say that Daniel McCarthy’s idea to annex Mexico is a dumb one. But just because an idea is dumb doesn’t mean it won’t gain traction with voters. There isn’t enough space here to list all the politicians who have gotten elected by pushing dumb ideas so I won’t even start naming names. As H.L. Mencken said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” So, let the voters decide. In Arizona and, in Mexico, if necessary.

I, for one, would welcome Mexico to the Union, if they want to join. I’ve known and been friends with many people of Mexican descent, including first generation immigrants, and visited their beautiful country on many occasions. Their food is delicious. To the people of Mexico, let me be the first to say, “Bienvenidos.”

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