Never a newspaper to shy away from a liberal dream, The New York Times recently proposed the fantasy idea of Mexico’s giving up its claims on Texas, California and the entire Southwest in exchange for the U.S. making all current Mexican illegal immigrants (and their offspring) full, permanent American citizens.
For those who don’t know, our southern neighbor indeed claims that these lands of the U.S. still rightfully belong to it and that treaties that made these territories part of the United States “violate essential international legal norms,” according to Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, a former Mexican senator, presidential candidate and a leading luminary of that country’s Left.
Señor Cárdenas would like to see the United States brought before the International Court of Justice for treaty indemnification and the institution of reparations. He argues that even if the treaties are 100 percent legal, there are crucial articles and wording in them dealing with property, citizenship and the security of more than 100,000 Mexicans who stayed in what then became American territory that at best have been ignored.
But Cárdenas would also have to ignore the opinions of Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor, his own country’s former secretary of foreign relations and the most prominent Mexican expert on international law. Much to Cárdenas’ regret, the former secretary says, “in previous times, wars of conquest didn’t find the same moral and legal condemnation that’s nowadays part and parcel of our system of law.”
The treaties would need to be officially challenged under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, he says, and “it must be shown that the state did not expressly agree that a treaty is a valid instrument or that, by reasons of its own conduct, that state must be considered as not having acquiesced to the validity of a treaty.”
But in the instance of 1848’s Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — agreed to by both Mexico and the United States — in which the U.S. paid millions to Mexico for its land (and assumed all Mexican debts to American citizens), this is not the case.
“The claim to annul the 1848 treaty must be submitted to the International Court of Justice to obtain a judgment on the matter,” Mr. Sepúlveda says. “But the U.S. does not recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the court in contentious cases.”
Also complicating matters is that current Mexican President Peña Nieto almost certainly does not agree with Cárdenas’ views. This could lead to an opposition candidate running for the Mexican presidency in 2018 on a platform of bringing such a lawsuit, however unlikely.
The New York Times argues that the U.S. acquisition of the territories that make up Texas, California and other parts of the Southwest were “an enormous crime” that the U.S. has “conveniently forgotten or camouflaged,” and that there’s a “need to nourish a debate” about the issue.
Of course, conveniently left out of the editorial in the Times is the fact that Mexico itself (formerly known as “New Spain”) was created out of Spanish conquest of an enormous amount of territory originally belonging to indigenous peoples, so it would be hypocritical for Mexico to demand justice from its northern neighbor without in return offering the same to its former inhabitants.
Also conveniently skipped over is the fact that Mexico as a country was itself barely 30 years old when the U.S. signed the treaties in question, so its claims over large swaths of territory are shaky at best.
The editorial goes on to state that a reconsideration of the Mexican-American treaties needs to find its way into books and museums, Broadway and Hollywood. The Times claims that the seizure of Mexican territory should be treated on par with racism against American Indians and African-Americans. For Mexicans, the Times argues, “this is a chance for reconquest.”
As a solution to the issue, the Times says that America should simply “open the road to citizenship” for Mexicans and their descendants, ignoring the problems that would create and the legal precedent it would set.
Leave it to the Times to encourage liberal fantasies, even as it ignores the political realities of unfair labor competition, dependencies of illegals on U.S. and state governments and the crimes committed by Mexicans living in our country illegally. It’s a fact that the most progressive Democratic president could not enact what the Times is proposing without a tremendous popular backlash, so the editorial is merely staking out ideological territory that in the end is just a crackpot delusion.
~ Liberty Planet