I am probably going to say something unpopular, but anybody who knows me knows I am used to being unpopular.
Our current situation is that millions of Mexican citizens sneak into our country in order to earn a better living than they could otherwise get in a corrupt Third-World quasi-republic. With the monies these illegal immigrants send home, the corrupt semi-republic is enabled to stay in power and not do a damn thing about its poor other than hand them swim fins and a map to the border. This is bad.
Believe it or not, it could be worse.
As corrupt, venal, and parasitic as the current Mexican government is, the alternative, which could come about with the USA cutting the umbilical cord to Mexico, is much worse.
The latest ploys of Chavez and Castro have been to fund leftist political candidates for Presidential elections throughout Latin America---which in some cases (such as Bolivia) became "one man, one vote, one time." Chavez's money in 2006 was on Andrés Manuel López Obrador. This was not a situation that breeds trust in his commitment to the rule of law at the Latin America desk at Langley (completely forgetting his behavior after the election). This is not to say that Andrés Manuel López Obrador would have ended up being some kind of dictator had he won in 2006, only that he may have ended up beholden to the forces that would have brought him to power. And those forces are far from kindly inclined towards American interests. If they couldn't have gotten AMLO to cancel elections, perhaps they would have gotten his cooperation on some other means of giving the USA a headache.
And what if he did cancel elections and close newspapers? Imagine if an avowed dictator took power in Mexico, and newspapers and television channels started being shut down, dissidents started getting arrested in the night, and protestors got shot. Moreover, in all likelihood, the Mexican dictatorship would have been a product of Cuban and Venezuelan meddling, and thus swear fealty to Castro and Chavez. All of a sudden, those illegals would suddenly become putative refugees. Short of a deal along the lines of "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" (which the US struck in order to be able to maintain a presence in the Straits of Florida), there is no way we are sending a single Mexican back under those circumstances. And we would pretty much have to welcome everyone who can smuggle themselves out.
In short, AMLO needed to lose in 2006. And if it weren't for illegal immigration, he might just have won. I've done the math.
What if The Wall were in place in October 2001, as some have suggested, and the illegals were in Mexico for the 2006 elections? I did some math and Wikipedia-ing, and dug up my memories of Statistics and Research Design for Psychology majors:
The statistics were as follows:
About 399,000 Mexican illegals/ year per Pew Legal (this may be a conservative estimate)
Only 32,000 of eligible legal residents of other nations voted in the Mexican elections of 2006
Turnout was 58.90%
The final vote tally of the top two candidates was Calderón 35.89% (15,000,284 votes), López Obrador 35.31% (14,756,350 votes), a difference of 243,934 (or 0.58%) votes.
And Obrador still contested the election, though not successfully. He might have had more success with a lower margin of loss.
Now for my assumptions, based on statistics:
399,000 a year from October 2001 to July 2006 comes to about 1,596,000 Mexicans who would have been kept in Mexico. 58.90% of that number (the turnout) would be about 940,044.
Given the heavy usage of the United States's social safety net by many illegals, I guessed they would kind of like to have some free money in Mexico, and thus would be more likely to vote for Obrador. Given the multi-candidate race, I assumed that Calderón would get 80 percent of the non-Obrador vote.
At this point, I forgot my statistics class, and did it longhand.
80-20 split (80 Calderón 20 others)---Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 + 752035 = 15,508,385
C: 15,000,284 + 150407 = 15,150, 691
75-25 split---Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 + 705033 = 15,461,383
C: 15,000,284 + 188009= 15,188,293
70-30 split-----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +658030= 15,414,380
C: 15,000,284 +225610= 15,263,496
65-35 split-----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +611029= 15,367,379
C: 15,000,284 +263212= 15,263,496
60-40 split----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +564026= 15,320,376
C: 15,000,284 +300814= 15,301,098
55-45 split---Calderón wins by only 582066
O: 14,756,350 +517024= 15,273,374
C: 15,000,284 +338416= 15,338,700
50-50 split---Calderón wins by only 149,930
O: 14,756,350 +470022= 15,226,372
C: 15,000,284 +376018= 15,376,302
So as you can see, it would not take a very large majority of the illegals to have voted for Obrador had they stayed in Mexico to vote in order to either put him over the top or bring the margin of Calderón's victory close enough that his attempted challenge of the results might have had more success. Even were Tom Tancredo to win the White House somehow, he would have had to deal with this reality. Sanity in American immigration policy cannot come at the expense of vital foreign objectives, such as keeping Fidel Castro's rotting zombie paws off Mexico and her oil. Because as you see, he's come close. Damn close.