A Note from the Editor -- Fall 2002

By Wayne Lutton
Volume 13, Number 1 (Fall 2002)
Issue theme: "Earth policy in the making: highlighting the work of Lester Brown"

A Note from the Editor

Turning Up the Heat

While most Americans are focusing their concerns on the evident weakness in the economy, terrorism, and the extension of U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and Asia, Mexican President Vicente Fox recently declared it was "time for the United States to move ahead on foreign policy matters derailed by the September 11 (2001) attacks." The foreign policy matter he is most concerned with is Mexico's demands for the reform of American immigration laws to better accommodate the millions of Mexican citizens living illegally in this country.

As readers of this journal are well aware, a year ago President George Bush was well on his way toward granting amnesty to millions of Mexican illegal aliens. The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon forced his administration to turn to security issues. But this past Spring, Bush and Fox quietly revived discussions on how to grant legal status to Mexicans illegally residing here.

Last year's terrorist attacks only increased the level of unease the American majority feels about mass immigration, which is clearly a threat to national security. In an interview with the New York Times published on September 12, President Fox said Mexico would wait until after the Fall Congressional elections to renew the campaign for a comprehensive amnesty for Mexican illegals. As Fox told the NYT

We simply realize that at this moment while the U.S. elections process is going on it won't be possible to raise the migration agenda. In the same way it wasn't possible immediately after September 11. So we are waiting for an important window of opportunity after the U.S. elections. I think that is the right time to push this theme stronger. And there we would expect reciprocity. We would expect fulfillment of goals.

President Bush himself expressed that he would really be an ally in the cause of migration, that we would work together to return the issue to the highest priority, that we would work with U.S. legislators as well so that they would look favorably upon this development...We will have a very active migration policy next year.

Fox calls himself the president of "all the Mexicans" including the 100 million in Mexico as well as the 23 million living in the U.S. On September 19, 2002, Fox announced the establishment of the new Institute for Mexicans Abroad, which is charged with assisting Mexicans residing in the U.S. and to work on "issues of concern to all Mexicans everywhere."

Through this institute, the Mexican government plans to engage in political lobbying and encourage allied pressure groups to advance their particular set of objectives.

Americans concerned about the future of this country have their work cut out for them. We have to reach out to as many of our fellows as possible, helping them see the links between immigration policies and other pressing issues such as the economy, the environment, national security, and the state of the national community.

As to this edition of The Social Contract, once again, the editors are grateful for the initiative and assistance of attorney and author John Rohe, who, some months ago, urged us to carry a feature interview with Lester Brown, founder of the WorldWatch Institute and of the current Earth Policy Institute. We asked Mr. Rohe to be guest editor for the feature section of this issue. Along with his interview, we are pleased to include a selection of representative articles by Brown.

About the author

Wayne Lutton, Ph.D., is editor of The Social Contract.