Where's the Anti-Immigrant Movement on This?

| Thu Feb. 2, 2006 6:06 PM EST

This is more than a little ironic (not to mention depressing). Stan Cox reports that hordes of American immigrants—at least 50,000 and growing—have been moving to Lake Chapala in Mexico over the years to retire, and end up trashing the place:

Despite needing little or no air conditioning or heating in Lake Chapala's delightful climate, immigrants from up north appear to be having a per-person ecological impact… which, by Redefining Progress' figures, is as heavy as that of about 4 average Mexicans.

A flood of immigrants with a high-consumption lifestyle flocking to its shores is the last thing that the already ecologically devastated lake needs. According to NASA, water volume has dropped perhaps 75% from its historic level, with two-thirds of that loss coming since 1986. Enough dry ground has been laid bare to accomodate the entire city of Washington, DC. And because of pollution, to quote the AARP article, "The lake is now a view, nothing more." Even the lake's aesthetic appeal is waning, choked as it is with water hyacinth.

Lake Chapala would be threatened whether or not the gringos had shown up, but piling even more big houses onto the slopes above the north shore, with their acres of pavement, and swimming pools (always filled despite growing water shortages), and septic systems that wouldn't pass code in the US, and bright green, well-watered, monocultural lawns, and heavy monthly spraying for insects, spiders, and scorpions, and washers and dryers running full blast, and no clothes lines in sight, despite the bright sun and low humidity (if there's one thing we gringos know how to do, it's "use appliances in our homes correctly"!), it's kind of hard to argue that immigration is having a positive impact around the lake.

And that's just in one small region. Each winter finds at least 700,000 North Americans residing in Mexico, and many of them stay year-round.Maybe Mexico might want to think about investing in some Minutemen of its own…