There is precedent here: As a result of the 1846 war with Mexico, the United States acquired a vast portion of the northern half of the country, including what are now the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. (It's no coincidence that many streets and cities in these states have Spanish names, like Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Fe.)
We did not get these territories for nothing. It cost us 13,780 American lives. The whole thing started when the Texans (not then a part of the U.S.) tried to secede from Mexico, provoking Mexican general Santa Anna to attack the Alamo, winning the battle but losing the PR war. As students of history will remember, the Mexicans had thousands of troops marshaled against some 200 Texans, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and the Texans fought to the last man.
Texas won its independence and eventually joined the U.S., but the Alamo so enraged the country that U.S. politicians were able to use it as an excuse to start a war with Mexico. After an amphibious invasion at Vera Cruz and the subsequent occupation of Mexico City, the Mexicans decided to settle, giving up almost half of their country for the paltry sum of $15 million.
The dustup with Mexico was not the first time we acquired territory to the south. "Remember the Maine" served the same PR function as "Remember the Alamo" in the Spanish-American war of 1898, a conflict that gave us Puerto Rico and the Philippines (until 1946).
That brings us to today. The hard facts are that the American public will never agree to amnesty for the 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the U.S. On the other hand, it's physically impossible for the U.S. government to deport them. Even if we succeeded in carting all those people back across the Rio Grande, what's to stop them from returning?
Latino culture is deeply ingrained in U.S. culture. As a matter of fact, we've already merged our two cultures. Mexican food and drink are among the most popular choices here. (Corona is the No. 1 imported beer in America and the margarita is our most popular mixed drink.) Hispanic entertainers such as George Lopez are also very popular, and almost every city in America receives the Spanish-language television networks Telemundo and Univision.
What's more, Mexicans embody the very characteristics we purportedly cherish -- close-knit families and deeply ingrained religious beliefs, values that we seem to have forgotten or ignored lately.
It's just not right to construct what is in essence a Berlin Wall to separate our two countries. We've taken a number of steps to assimilate our two cultures, and building a fence along 1,969 miles of our border will create a breach that will be hard to overcome.
A merger will result in millions of people becoming productive members of our society and a tremendous boost to our economy. Immigrants often take jobs the rest of us don't want to do. And similar to European countries, America's population is aging rapidly, and younger immigrants would fill a big hole in our demographics.
For those people who worry that the merger would cause an even greater migration to the "upper states," the opposite might also be true. Many Mexicans might like to go home, since it would now be part of the United States of America & Mexico (the USAM).
Al and I believe our idea would have a lot of acceptance among the Mexican people, if not the politicians. The Mexican government has a long history of corruption. (For many decades the government was controlled by a single political party.)
Let's recognize reality. As Jay Leno once said, "60% of Mexicans want to immigrate to America; the other 40% are already here."