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U.S. And Mexico Now Distant Neighbors
by Carl R. Baldwin

The prospect of an immigration accord between the U.S. and Mexico has been chased from the front pages by the U.S. preoccupation with Al Qaeda, Iraq, and a stalled economy. Like the duration of he war on terrorism, no one can predict when this issue will emerge again and be dealt with by our leaders.

The distance of Mexico from the U.S. consciousness was underlined by the scanty press coverage of what happened in New York on September 15, the date when Mexico began its rebellion against the Spanish Crown in 1810. According to a report in the Mexico City newspaper, La Jornada, on September 17 (my translation): "Madison Avenue was clothed with Mexican colors and sounds in an unprecedented event: the first parade in honor of September 15 in the very heart of New York, where more than 15,000 Mexicans emerged from the shadows of their undocumented anonymity, among the skyscrapers, to celebrate their presence with mariachis, dances, masks, and the singing of 'Mexico, lindo y querido' (Mexico, beautiful and dear), here, so far away from there."

By the way, I must express appreciation for the fact that the New York City authorities gave the Mexicans a permit to march, and that neither the local police nor the INS made any effort to investigate the immigration status of the marchers. "God Bless America" for not being a police state where a round-up would have occurred.

The event was undoubtedly covered in the Spanish language press, but unfortunately El Diario/La Prensa has no internet version and so I missed it. It may have been noted in the printed editions of The New York Times, and The Daily News, but I could find no word about it in their internet editions. Governor Pataki, "whose publicity in Spanish was shown everywhere" (La Jornada) marched in the parade, and I commend him for that. However I could discover no mention of Mexico and the parade in the Governor's web site.

An article in The New York Times for September 13, 2002, "After 9/11 Fox Still Waits for U.S. Moves on Mexico," described the concerns and frustrations of Vicente Fox, Mexico's President. Prior to 9/11, Presidents Bush and Fox seemed determined to tackle the knotty issue of illegal immigration of Mexican nationals to the United States, and to fashion a program of legalization of the millions already here. Those projects are now pushed off the radar screen, and President Fox thinks they should be put back on: "President Bush himself has expressed to us that he would really be our ally in the cause of migration, that we would work together to return the issue to the highest priority."

This is "a consummation devoutly to be wished," but it may be a long time before our President sees it that way.

About The Author

Carl R. Baldwin graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1980, and became a member of the New York State Bar a year later. He worked for three years with the New York City Law Department, and then entered solo practice in immigration law, which he has continued to the present. His work with clients has included asylum applications, deportation defense, visa processing, adjustment of status, and naturalization. He has also worked to implement special laws, such as the 1986 "amnesty" (The Immigration Reform and Control Act), and the 1998 Haitian reform act (The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act). Mr. Baldwin is the author of Immigration News Monthly. He can be reached by e-mail at

He has written a book on immigration law, called "Immigration Questions and Answers," Allworth Press, 2002. The book, which contains essential background information about how the immigration law works, can be ordered online from Allsworth Press at:

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.