Thursday, September 22, 2005


Mexico's Bid For Dual Sovereignty

Undermining US sovereignty and the rule of law

This Saturday, Mexico is staging elections for the advisory council of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad. Persons born in Mexico or to Mexican parents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to vote. As I understand it, elected seats on the council are assigned proportionally among US states according to the number of eligible voters in each. Illinois qualifies for 6 such seats. An Illinois state Senator is (registration required, see BugMeNot) running for one of them:
If state Sen. Martin Sandoval succeeds in his next election Saturday, he will serve in Mexico City as well as Springfield.

Sandoval is running for a seat on an advisory council created by Mexico President Vicente Fox in 2002 to incorporate Mexicans living in the United States into his government's policymaking.

Sandoval would be the first elected official in the U.S. to serve on the advisory council. That raises the peculiar prospect of the Cicero Democrat offering policy advice in an official capacity to Mexican Cabinet members while creating laws in Illinois.

As it turns out, no law or rule prohibits it, in Mexico or in Illinois. Mexican officials call it an honorary position.
If there isn't a law against it, there should be. After all, should Sandoval serve on the advisory council, he becomes, in effect, an agent of a foreign government.
Sandoval shrugs off questions about conflicted loyalties.

"I see no conflict at any point. There are always people who will have questions," he said. "I have looked at the four corners of this. I see upside all over the place."

Sandoval said his participation is especially logical because a large share of his constituents were born in Mexico. More than 42 percent of Sandoval's Senate district is foreign-born, the second-highest rate in the state, according to Roosevelt University researchers.
Implicitly, Sandoval is asserting that the governments of Illinois and the US are incapable of appropriately addressing the concerns of Mexican-Americans, a claim without precedent in American history. Considering the number of Mexicans illegally in this country, this is no doubt partly true. But established diplomatic channels exist to handle these matters. What Mexico intends goes far beyond addressing the concerns of illegal aliens. By forcing state, local and federal governments to compete for the loyalty of even some American citizens, it creates dangerous divisions among us. It is a bid for joint sovereignty. It is an outrage.

(Yes, I know, AVQ. But they just keep coming.)

This has already happened in some areas of local governmental affairs. From what I understand, the Illinois DCFS has practically ceded jurisdiction over cases involving families of Mexican decent to the Chicago Mexican couslulate. In effect, Mexico City has direct influence over the social policies in neighborhoods adjacent to mine. This is more than just offensive to me; this can directly affect my quality of life. For instince, the disposition of family cases can have a direct bearing on the mental health of people, or the later behavior of children, who live in my city. Those making these decisions are not accountable to Chicago (or Illinois) voters in any way. Due to my nationality, I can't appeal to Mexico City for redress of grievances. How long before other issues are handled this way?

What happens when Mexican-Americans represented by Sandoval dislike legislative or regulatory actions taken in Springfield or Washington? Does he take their complaints to Mexico City, circumventing the established American political process? This completely undermines the constitutional structure of our government. Why are Mexican-Americans entitled to the special privilages of using the clout of a foreign government to assert political power on their behalf? When a foreign government interferes with the functioning of our state and local governments, how long before the very idea of American democracy is compromised? How long before Mexican laws and courts begin competing with, or trumping, American laws and courts?

I don't understand why this isn't getting the attention it deserves. Maybe it will after Congress holds hearings about dual citizenship later this year. Americans shouldn't tolerate this blatent and unprecedented infringement of our nation's sovereignty. This kind of thig should be nipped in the bud.

(Incidentally, I love Oscar Avilla's idea of 'ordinary citizen:'
The advisory council members are generally ordinary citizens--teachers, social workers or the heads of immigrant advocacy organizations.
No bias there.)


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