What will it take to end illegal immigration?by Hugh Holub on Jul. 13, 2011, under border issues, immigration law reform, politics
I doubt it. The problem is the word “only”.
There are a number of “only” ways illegal immigration could cease. But none of them are likely.
First, Mexico’s economy would expand sufficiently to absorb all of its working people so they would not be motivated to go north. That would address about 50% of illegal immigration and more like 90% at the US-Mexico border.
Our own economy has stranded millions of people who used to have jobs…and we’re thousands times larger economically than Mexico.
What we can do is think about how our trade policies and other relationships increase employment opportunities in Mexico or decrease them and try some consistency..
Having been directly involved in some US-Mexico negotiations in past years, it occurred to me that we actually have no foreign policy vis a vis Mexico….to paraphrase the song “looked at clouds from both sides now”…. “it’s foreign policy illusions we have …there’s no foreign policy at all”.
Second, the US would really crack down on the hiring of illegal aliens and eliminate the job magnet that draws illegal aliens from Mexico and the rest of the world.
It is interesting to watch the agricultural industry whine about E-Verify when low paid farm work is a major illegal immigration magnet.
Too many US businesses benefit from illegal immigrant labor that allows them to avoid OSHA, unions, and everything else that protects American workers. Illegals complain…call la migra and they’re gone…sometimes even flown home at US taxpayer expense.
Third, we could really secure our border against illegal entry. But first we have to waive a bunch of environmental laws that impede the Border Patrol from actually securing the border at the border. Efforts to do this are being fought by environmental groups.
Assuming we ever can finish building the border fence and roads along it we still need the Border Patrol stationed at the border. Now they operate to 100 miles deep from the border and from looking at their deployment in Arizona…they much prefer to be around Eloy in Pinal County than down in California Gulch where drug smugglers armed with AK 47s prowl. Someone will have to force the Border Patrol to stay within 10 or 20 miles of the border to close it off.
A border fence is worthless if no one is waiting on this side of the fence to catch someone who climbs over it.
Fourth, we could really expand our guest worker visa program so lots of unskilled laborers could come above-ground and work. But that will take a massive increase in the US government’s ability to process all the paperwork and actually keep track of visa holders…and past history suggests the feds can’t “walk the walk”. Half the illegal aliens in the country now did not sneak across the border. They came in on visas and “overstayed” and the feds lost them.
Fifth, at a state level we can make life a living hell for illegal aliens with “attrition by enforcement” schemes such as SB 1070. All this seems to do is push illegal aliens out of one state into another, win lots of votes from “nativist” voters, and give local cops even more to do when they already have their hands full.
Sixth, we could quit assuming “illegal alien” meant “Mexican” and recognize that we have millions of what the Border Patrol calls “OTMs” (”other than Mexicans”) to deal with. This means stopping all the demonization of Mexicans and fear-mongering about nonsense such as “Aztlan” and the “re-conquista”. Just to make a point…”white” includes “Mexican”. Latinos are “Caucasian”. If we could get the obvious racism about of the immigration debate…maybe we could find some path to a solution.
Seventh, and this seems to have been the most effective tool in reducing illegal immigration. .is we wreck our economy so there are no jobs for immigrants and millions of Americans. This could be called the Lehman Brothers Plan. The would-be illegal immigrants look at the US and they don’t see work available…so they stay home.
Eighth, and this also seems to be a factor in reducing illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border, is we look the other way while the drug cartels take over the coyote business, drive the price of illegal entry upwards, and make the journey across the border much more risky. The Zetas have done more to reduce illegal immigration than Napolitano.
It is obvious to those closest to the illegal immigration and border security issues that there is no “one” solution that takes care of everything.
It will take a bipartisan approach that includes lot of elements…securing the border, guest worker visas, better federal implementation, a bigger role for states….and Congress will eliminate the federal deficit before really trying to solve the “border issues”.
But the politicians are sure having fun with the “border issues”.
Meanwhile every day more illegal aliens and drug smugglers cross the border and nothing reallty changes.