Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Illegal Immigration solutions

Newsweek is running an intersting article this week on one of those anger invoking subjects that everyone loves: illegal immigration. According to the author of the article, Robert Pastor, the only long term solution to stopping the wave of illegal immigration is to create a North American regional economic solution, which would involve massive amounts of economic aid to Mexico for the next decade or two. I like this idea for a few reasons.

The most important reason is that we treat the cause of the illegal immigration, massive poverty in Mexico, instead of attempting to treat a symptom. Building a wall around the United States is not a realistic solution. The fact is that the U.S. could never build a wall strong enough to keep the wave of illegal immigrants from coming to the U.S. At best, a massive border wall would slow down the rate of illegal immigration. And for a country of immigrants to build a massive "Do Not Enter" sign on our border would not only be hypocritical but would be a knife through the heart of everything that the U.S. stands for.

Massive investment in Mexico will also help the U.S. economy. Mexico is one of our most important trading partners and if their economy grows it will create a larger market for exporting U.S. goods and services. In addition, this investment will create jobs on both sides of the border and raise the wages in Mexico. Once wages in Mexico begin to rise, the amount of illegal immigration will decrease because people can make livable wages at home.
While the idea of funding Mexican development may sound ludicrous, this investment would also benefit the U.S. economically, and the total is less than half of what the EU spent. Washington's $80 billion contribution would amount to about a third of what the Bush administration has spent in the last three years in Iraq.