11.28.2006

Tom's Problem with Miami

The Miami Herald:

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Tancredo, the leader of the anti-illegal immigration faction in the U.S. House, spent a recent weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Ninety miles to the south, he found a symbol to bolster his belief that unfettered immigration is endangering the United States: Miami, he told a conservative online news site, "has become a Third World country." [Emphasis Mine]
I've been to Miami. It is NOT a third world country. It just isn't.

First, some background: The term 'Third World' was developed to describe 'non-aligned' nations during the Cold War. The U.S., Western Europe, and their allies were the 'First World,' the U.S.S.R. and the Soviet nations aligned with it were the 'Second World,' and the remainder were 'Third World.'

Miami is a technological advanced, industrialized, Capitalist Democracy - a First World city.

The Cold War definition has fallen out of usage, you argue. 'Third World' now means a nation with a low U.N. Human Development Index score. Fair enough. 'Third World' nations are 'Developing Nations.' According to the Wikipedia article, here are characteristics of Developing Nations:
  • Low saving which may lead to low investment according to Harrod-Domar model but large amount of saving and investment still does not imply strong development
  • High rates of fertility
  • Legal structures and institutions
    • a breakdown in the rule of law
    • high corruption
  • inadequate reforms imposed in counterpart with financing of last resort, by multilateral organizations (like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) to get out of situations of deficit and indebtedness in which the country is placed (see Developing countries' debt).
  • lack of interest in and comprehension for the specific dynamics of a nation, by multinational companies.
  • Domination of trade rules by richer countries
  • Using up of resources to pay interest on debts.
Ok, I think we can all agree that Miami doesn't suffer from any of those problems. So what justification could Tancredo use to call Miami a 'Third World Nation'? I'll let him explain:
Tancredo, who chairs the bipartisan House Immigration Reform Caucus and championed a fence along the border with Mexico, said Monday in an e-mail sent by his office that his comparison was based on crime statistics he believes "are deeply rooted in the immigration debate."

"While a recent documentary comparison of Miami-Dade County to Baghdad was a bit of an overstatement," he wrote, referring to an Australian documentary that compares Miami to Baghdad, "no one can argue that it is not one of America's most dangerous areas."
[Newsflash, Mr. Tancredo: Miami doesn't appear in the top 25 'Most Dangerous Cities' - a list that includes such 'Third World' metropolises as Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri.]
He noted in the e-mail that the number of homicides in the county recently reached 200 for the year. The number is actually a decrease from the 1980s.

"Moreover, the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaves devoid of any English and dominated by foreign cultures is widespread," Tancredo said in the statement. "Frankly, many of these areas could have been located in another country. And until America gets serious about demanding assimilation, this problem will continue to spread."
So it's about speaking English? Is France is a Third World Country? What about Italy, Spain, Belgium, Japan, Germany?

Or is it just the Brown People, Mr. Tancredo?

And if you're serious about running for President in 2008, insulting a state that you desperately need to carry probably isn't a good way to kick off your campaign.

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