Heritage Foundation Exploits Tragedy In Mexico To Warn Of "Mass Amnesty"

June 29, 2011 6:05 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Sometime last week, at least 80 migrants were abducted in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The Guardian reports that "the train [they were on] was scheduled to stop at the community of Medias Aguas in Veracruz but continued on to an isolated area." A priest who runs a migrant center was told by migrants who had escaped the ambush "that armed men in ski masks and civilian clothes intercepted the train" and that he "suspected the Zetas drug cartel of being involved because [the group] operates in the area." Last year, more than 70 migrants were massacred in a similar ambush in the state of Tamaulipas.

Only the truly depraved would exploit the incident and use it to support an anti-immigrant agenda here in the United States.

But Jessica Zuckerman, a research assistant at the Heritage Foundation, has done just that. Whereas most people would read the article and worry about the unimaginable death and destruction that drug cartels have unleashed on people in Mexico, Zuckerman sees it as more proof that we must oppose amnesty. In a blog post on the think tank's Foundry blog, she introduces the incident and then writes that "it is time to focus on the bigger picture of illegal immigration and avoid the narrow-minded solution of mass amnesty." She also writes:

Amnesty would only create greater incentives to immigrate illegally, bringing with it a whole new wave of illegal immigrants. Instead the U.S. should look to promote partnerships with nations to combat human smuggling and dismantle trafficking networks, as well as efforts to further justice, law enforcement, and free-market reforms throughout the region. These efforts-coupled with increased interior enforcement within the U.S. and the formation of an organized strategy for manpower, technology, and other resources along the border-will help stem the tide of violence and the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States.

The tragedy has absolutely nothing to do with where Zuckerman stands on comprehensive immigration reform. The reason the migrants were kidnapped likely has very little to do with the fact that they were presumably headed to the United States for work and to pursue a better life for their families; it likely has a bit more to do with the drug industry in Mexico and Central and South America.

And what is this about "mass amnesty"? Who has suggested such a thing? And what, if anything, would an immigration reform proposal in Congress have to do with kidnappings in Eastern Mexico, which she herself notes likely involve some 22,000 people per year? Absolutely nothing.

Zuckerman's nonsense is the sort of claptrap offered by those bent on exploiting each and every violent act by those they view as inferior to reinforce their own prejudice. This is sickening, even by Heritage Foundation standards.