The Washington Post reports today that Mexico is conducting a "legal investigation" to determine whether it has a "case" to take its objections to US plans to build fences along the US/Mexico border to the United Nations. Congress has approved legislation providing for additional fences along several stretches of border, and President Bush says that he will sign it. The Mexican government has made it clear it wants the bill vetoed.
The Washington Post article, and other stories elsewhere concerning Mexican objections to a fence, are mostly devoid of legal grounds for objections. Mexico's political and economic objections to such a fence are easy to see: Mexico will be deprived of a relief valve to export its unemployed, which will contribute to political and economic unrest in Mexico.
What the Mexican government expects to obtain by going to the UN, beyond a worsening of relations with the US, is less clear. Although there is not yet a consensus about what to do as to illegal aliens already in country, for the future, the American public does want something done about the borders. The Mexicans, then, are protesting what is bound to happen anyway.
President-Elect Felipe Calderon has made it clear he doesn't like the border fence plan. However, according to the Post, Calderon says this matter is a "bilateral issue" that does not belong before the "international community." Don Felipe is correct, and it is too bad the current Foreign Secretary of Mexico (Luis Derbez) is not listening -- in a meeting with the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Derbez called it a "shame" that US immigration policy was being used for "short-term" gains in the US fall elections. If the Foreign Secretary truly thinks immigration is a "short term" issue for the US, he's had too much tequila. Moreover, the Mexicans are doing themselves no favors by airing such sentiments in meetings with bothersome US "allies" such as the French.
Still, the Mexicans no doubt have their own domestic political concerns to address; and taking an apparent hard line on US attempts to restrict the influx of Mexicans makes some sense considering the closeness of the recent presidential election. The Mexicans have their protest on the record. Hopefully, they have the good sense to be content with that.