Woody Guthrie sang the song: “California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see; But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot If you ain’t got the do re mi.” This was a song from the dust bowl of 1935. The dust bowl was created in part by the agricultural practices of farmers in Oklahoma, Texas and elsewhere in the Midwest. They plowed the fields far too much and too deeply, and this created the dust which resulted in the dust bowl. 7,000 people died simply from the dust In those days. This was the start of climate change in America.
Because of the economic and weather problems caused by the dust in the midwest, a large number of people fled to California. They were met at the border by policemen from Los Angeles, who were sent there to determine which of these migrants should be allowed to come into the state and which should not. They actually questioned the migrants to find out if they had sufficient funds or if they would have to be taken care of by the local authorities. Thus, the words in Woody Guthrie’s song. If you didn’t have the do-re-me, you were barred from the Garden of Eden. When a weary-faced mother with six children, carrying only $3.40, was asked by police to pay $3 for a California auto license, she broke down and cried, “That’s food for my babies.” They let her in for free, making her one of the lucky few — about one in every thousand — who inspired mercy.
This history should remind you of what’s happening even today as Mexican migrants try to enter the United States and are prevented from doing so. Recently, the president of Mexico has suggested that there be a new policy. The Mexican migrants should spend 3 years planting trees and other environmentally important vegetation en route to the U.S. His proposal is that after spending this amount of time defending the environment, the migrants should be allowed to get into the United States and eventually become citizens. This would be a change in policy and would be a first for Mexico and the United States, cooperating to deal with the problems of migration.
President Biden doesn’t like this suggestion because it would increase the amount of migration from Mexico into the United States. But there is an additional possibility to help with the situation. Mexico could develop a strong policy in favor of getting retirees from the United States to come to Mexico. This with keep the population in balance between the two countries. It would also bring people with retirement incomes into Mexico. The Biden administration could make the likelihood that retirees would go to Mexico by making it easier for retirees their to use their Medicare. This word lower the number of patients within the United States and decrease the pressure on the medical system there. This sounds like a win-win for both countries.m
In case you don’t think migrants can benefit the U.S., consider that 200,000 Dust Bowl migrants entered California. They were almost all farmers. Within a generation, 75% of them were urban workers. California benefited from their migration.