Guest Column: Mexico boycott and unintended consequences

Boycotts of private companies may be effective in getting them to pay attention to certain issues important to their customers. A large enough outcry can have an effect on the company's bottom line.

This is not the case with countries. As a general rule, I do not support boycotts of states or countries as a way of forcing a political or economic agenda. I feel that this is an ineffective and harmful way to try to change governmental policy, whether it is Mexico, for the recent massive problem of illegal immigration or the Andrew Tahmooressi issue, or Arizona, back in the days of SB1070.

I support individuals being able to spend their hard-earned money (or not spend it) in any way that they see fit.

In order for any boycott of a country to be beneficial for requested change, their government would have to be acting benevolently in all aspects of public policy, and a valid argument exists that the government of Mexico is not doing so. Even if governments are corrupt or have a lack of leadership, it does not equate that the people of that country are corrupt.

Many Mexicans, like Americans, rely of the selling of goods or services to survive economically. The people who work retain the majority of the income realized from these goods and services - neither the government of Mexico, nor the American government, routinely seize the assets of those who work hard, though it is always a struggle to keep taxes low.

The harm to the government of Mexico in an effective boycott would be negligible when compared to the harm to small businesses and resort and tourist communities throughout the country. The people would be harmed first and hardest - the little guy would suffer.

So why does it matter about government benevolence? Because the Mexican government has neither the capacity nor desire to be benevolent towards its citizens. Where will these economically devastated citizens of Mexico go if they cannot survive in their country? A strong possibility is that they will trek to the Mexico/U.S. border and attempt to cross into our country in order to achieve the American Dream.

We should demand that our own government secure our border rather than harming hardworking Mexican citizens by calling for a feel-good boycott. By securing our border with Mexico we can accomplish several things:

1. Force the Mexican government to keep the illegal immigrants from Central America in Mexico. The Mexican government would then be required to find its own solution to the crisis they have allowed to continue by not enforcing their own southern border.

2. Leverage access to our vast non-governmental and faith-based organizations to assist the Mexican government in dealing with their illegal immigrant crisis in exchange for the release of Andrew Tahmooressi and improved treatment of other Americans held in Mexican prisons.

3. Diminish the potential costs that tens of thousands of illegals will have on social service systems, schools and medical care, as well as federal, state and local budgets.

4. Once the border is truly secure, Congress should look at a reasonable spending measure to continue to detain these illegal immigrants while providing expedited hearings until federal law can be changed to allow for immediate deportation. The majority of this spending should be focused on getting those who have entered the U.S. illegally back to their home countries.

Please join me in calling for our governor to activate the National Guard and/or for the president to use all means necessary to stop this invasion into our country and state. Additional assets in the Department of Public Safety and with our county sheriffs should be used as necessary to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into our state in the first place, whether on buses, trains, planes or by walking across our porous border.

I stand with Gov. Brewer and the majority of the citizens of Arizona and the U.S. We cannot be fearful of standing up to the Federal Government in order to enforce our state sovereignty.

(Sen. Kelli Ward, D.O., M.P.H., represents Arizona's 5th Legislative District in the State Legislature. She can be reached at (602) 926-4138, or at 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Twitter: @KelliWardAZ; www.Facebook.com/KelliWardForArizona)