There have been many threads on illegal immigration from Mexico, but I’d like to approach it from a different angle (forgive me, this is gonna be long). Instead of just discussing how we can secure our borders, I’d like to address the root causes of the mass emigration out of Mexico into the US, and how it is approached by the powers-that-be. I think this reporter put it best:
The problem is politically messy. Lean too far to one side and you're racist; too far to the other and you're selling the country's security short and encouraging illegality and mass immigration. Whittier Daily News
Additionally, Bush is loathe to alienate the huge voting bloc that Hispanic voters represent by taking a hard stance on illegal immigration.
The article goes on to make a very good point that the Federal Government is making policy and border states are footing the bill. Immigration policies must
be changed, but the Bush (Jr.) administration has historically focused on and is still stubbornly focusing more on the terrorist security aspect than they are on the myriad impacts illegal immigration has on individual states.
But a meeting here at Baylor University and one later at Bush's ranch in Crawford skirted immigration and trade issues that strain U.S. ties with its closest neighbors.
Mexican President Vicente Fox remains frustrated at Bush's failure to push through immigration changes and is angry about recent attempts by U.S. citizens to patrol sections of the border.
Fox came to Texas with low expectations, officials close to him said. He was reportedly frustrated that there would be little time to talk about border and immigration issues. Instead, he told reporters, immigration was discussed primarily as a "trilateral issue" involving the need to tighten security at both borders.
A joint statement committed the leaders to finding a way to "improve the legitimate flow of people and cargo at our shared borders." But they did not say how they could tighten border security while making it easier for legitimate border crossers. Sign On San Diego
The US/Canada border does not create the same issues as the Mexico/US border, and I for one don’t understand why they would be lumped together. Bush’s tunnel vision focus on “preventing terrorists from crossing the border” blinds him to the larger issue of the crippling economic effect of uncontrolled illegal immigration from Mexico, just as his father was too blinded by the financial aspects of NAFTA in the 90’s.
During the NAFTA negotiations, begun in 1991, Presidents George Bush (1988-1992) and Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) agreed to restrict the discussions to commercial and financial matters. Both believed that the political costs of including migration in the agenda would be too great and could be an insurmountable obstacle for the conclusion of NAFTA
This solution was based on a limited analysis of the migration dynamic and the various aspects that need to be taken into account in order to produce a real solution. It implied that migration was only a result of Mexican economic problems and eliminated the issue of the permanent demand for low-wage labor from employers in the U.S.
Without recognizing this explicitly, both governments’ strategies ensured that undocumented migration flows would continue as in the past. Weltpolitik
Back in 2001, Fox painted a rosy picture that declining fertility rates would correct the imbalance. Hasn’t happened.
(2001) Fox and Castaneda hold out the enticing prospect of an ultimate cessation of mass Mexican migration. Currently, 500,000 more Mexicans enter the Mexican labor force every year than there are jobs available. According to a Mexican government study, declining Mexican fertility rates will correct that imbalance by 2015; <snip>
Past trends don't support that view. Though Mexican fertility rates have been declining steadily since the 1970s, emigration has climbed just as steadily. Brookings Institute
The makeup of the average illegal immigrant has changed. Since there are so many already here in the US, it alters the dynamic considerably. Now, Mexicans wishing to emigrate have only to contact family, friends, or extended family and friends of friends, etc., who know someone in El Norte willing to put them to work.
A migrant worker population once composed mainly of middle-age men from rural areas now includes more females, younger males, and urban populations with higher education levels.
“immigration may begin for a variety of reasons, but the forces that initiate international movement are quite different from those that perpetuate it” (Massey et.al., 2002, p. 18). (ibid.) <snip> . …(causes) include the existence of family and employer networks that facilitate the arrival of new immigrants, the dependency of remittances in Mexico (which currently amount to USD $10 billion per year), and growing social and economic ties between the countries. Source: Weltpolitik
The larger the immigrant population becomes in the US, the larger potential connections there are for family/friends in Mexico to journey north. It might be a distasteful metaphor, but it's like a cancer metastisizing exponentially.
Here's a grab bag of questions for debate. Feel free to answer one or all. What is/are the root cause(s) of illegal immigration from Mexico to the US?
If education is a key issue, what are some solutions to improve education in Mexico? Would you support US involvement in such a solution?
What concrete actions (by the US or others) can be taken to improve Mexico’s economy to the point it can sustain its population?
What actions could/should be taken against those in the US who regularly employ illegal immigrants?
Will Bush address the underlying causes of illegal immigration, or is it political suicide? Should he address it? If so, how?