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Look in a mirror, Mexico
Its media, government are hypocritical on immigration
, says GUSTAVO A. BUJANDA


12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 23, 2006


As a Mexican immigrant who arrived to this country in 1984 and who helped organize the first immigrant march in our city March 25, I watched with interest and, frankly, with great disgust the coverage that some Mexican media outlets gave to the so-called "Mega March" in Dallas and other marches across the country.

While this by no means is a scientific sampling of all the coverage, I would like to offer suggestions to those Mexican reporters who are charged with covering Hispanic and immigrant issues on this side of the border.

Express gratitude. Through the interviews, speeches and messages I heard from Mexican reporters, nowhere did I find an acknowledgment of the greatness of the United States.

If, on the one hand, I now stand shoulder to shoulder with all those struggling to achieve a just and humane solution to the tragedy of illegal immigrants, I recognize that the attention and fair treatment my fellow Mexicans and Latin Americans receive in this country probably have no parallel in any other part of the world. Notwithstanding the many challenges our paisanos suffer in this country, they continue to come.

The reason is simple: Illegal immigrants deem their life here far better than in Mexico. If this weren't the case, they would simply leave. It would be good for Mexican reporters to highlight this indisputable fact.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity of massive Hispanic unity not to notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but to remove the wooden beam in yours. The New Testament reminds us to correct our own shortcomings before we criticize others' faults.

Extending this counsel to relationships between nations, I would urge Mexican reporters to communicate to their audiences that the illegal migration phenomenon is principally due to one colossal failure: that of the Mexican government.

It has failed to provide enough opportunities for all Mexicans to develop their talents and contribute to their country's economy.

That lack of opportunity is what led to my family's departure in 1984 and to the departure of millions of Mexicans who risk life and limb to find a future in this country they see no future in their homeland.

To Mexican government officials: Learn to say "thank you," "sorry," and "we're trying to do better." Many of us have undoubtedly seen or heard Mexican government officials on TV or radio promising illegal immigrants that they "will continue to fight for the dignity" of our paisanos.

What hypocrisy!

It's certainly easy for them a convenient political posture that costs them very little and offers them a great deal to appear in the American or Hispanic media and pontificate about their vigorous defense of illegal immigrants' human rights the same rights that are routinely ignored or trampled upon in Mexico. Rights that are almost nonexistent for the hundreds of thousands of foreigners who live in Mexico.

Witness the recent case of Americans who live in the picturesque town of San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato. After a serial rapist had been targeting American women there, a group of them requested a meeting with the town's mayor.

Local media and public opinion rhetorically pummeled them for having the temerity to seek justice in a country that was not their own. The mayor was also severely criticized for opening the doors of his office to foreigners.

This is, unfortunately, one of many examples that highlight the typical double standard that exists in the attitude of most Mexicans vis--vis their relations with Americans and the United States.

Is this the Mexico that can lecture the United States, a country that, with all its faults, is still perhaps the most open society to foreign immigrants on the planet?

It's high time for Mexican journalists and government officials to heed these thoughts if they genuinely wish to effectively engage American public opinion on the issue of Mexican illegal immigration and help solve the unfortunate plight of our paisanos.

Gustavo A. Bujanda is a local writer, communications consultant and co-organizer of the March in Defense of Immigrants. His e-mail address is gustavobujandajr@yahoo.com.