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Down Mexico Way

Corruption is the reason Mexicans keep coming to America.

12:00 AM, Jun 21, 2006 • By JAMES THAYER
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The World Bank concludes that corruption is "the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development" because it "undermines development by distorting the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundation on which economic growth depends." Valentine Anozie and his colleagues sum up a number of studies "that show that, all else equal, high levels of corruption are closely associated with lower investment, growth, and income; less government spending on education; higher child mortality, and a weak political support system."

While campaigning for the presidency in 2000, Vicente Fox urged Mexican voters to support him so that change "will permit us to stop being a loser country." Fox promised to root out corruption. But the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which held the presidency for 70 years prior to Fox's victory, still has a plurality in the Mexican Congress. Attempts at meaningful reform have died.

And so have Mexican hopes for a better life. A 2005 Pew Hispanic Center study showed that 46 percent of Mexicans would come to the United States, given the chance. One in five Mexican men between the ages of 26 and 35 is already here.

Nothing is getting better for those who remain, and so there will be no end to the waves of Mexicans trying to enter our country illegally.

James Thayer is a frequent contributor to The Daily Standard. His twelfth novel, The Gold Swan, has been published by Simon & Schuster.