Immigration control is a global challenge, and yet not one developed country has developed a good workable and acceptable legal immigration plan that eliminates illegal immigration.
There are political solutions, and then there are real solutions.
Immigration between nations occurs when there are marked differences in economic wealth or living conditions between two regions. In order to eliminate massive immigration, wealth (and it’s distribution) of the economically disadvantaged country must improve or the wealthier country must lose it’s wealth.
The long-term solution to immigration will be found in changing economic conditions, policies and the creation of opportunities in the disadvantaged country.
A short-term solution will be found by building walls and increasing border enforcement (This is effective where the border areas are limited and can be totally controlled).
The current immigration situation between Mexico and the US has become a political football, and it appears political solutions are all that matter.
It’s time for both countries to work and invest in real, long-term economic solutions to solve fundamental problems in order to help and protect both countries. The US is facing a problem, and Mexico should assist their neighbor in finding solutions.
The Mexican perspective:
- There are many opportunities and jobs available that pay much better than in Mexico.
- There are no jobs available in Mexico for the majority of immigrants.
- Going to the US is a “rite of passage” for many Mexicans in certain areas. Most return to Mexico after 3 – 5 years.
- Many cross the border illegally to meet family members already in the US, and have jobs waiting for them once they arrive. Most immigrants have jobs in the US.
- Most of the immigrants come from rural areas in Mexico, with low levels of education.
- Mexican immigrants in the US send enormous sums of money to support family members in Mexico. Petroleum sales bring Mexico the most foreign currency income, followed by money sent by Mexicans in the USA (not all illegal immigrants) to family in Mexico.
- For many Mexican state governments, this injection of foreign capital is very important for maintaining local economies.
- Crossing the border illegally is dangerous and life threatening, and in many cases expensive.
- US employers are open and supportive to employing illegal immigrants, and in many cases provide false identification and protection to the workers.
- The majority of the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the US are working, and spending money in the local US economies.
- The legal immigration mechanisms available (visas) reject those who are economically disadvantaged (the ones with the highest need to immigrate).
- Mexicans believe that the US has the sovereign right to restrict and control immigration.
- They would like to see a realistic legal migration program created.
- The immigrants in the US pay sales taxes, and they consume goods and services in the US.
The US perspective
- Illegal immigration takes jobs away from US citizens.
- Illegal immigrants use social, health and welfare services paid for by US taxpayers.
- Illegal immigrants bring crime, drugs and violence to communities.
- Illegal immigrants don’t speak English and don’t learn English, and are forcing communities to spend money on bilingual teachers and government programs.
- Illegal immigration can be stopped by building a wall or by enforcing the border.
- Illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes.
- US agricultural businesses cannot survive with competitive prices if illegal workers are eliminated. Legal immigration will increase labor costs.
- Elimination of illegal immigrants will cause substantial increases in the costs of food, restaurants, hotels, construction and certain consumer and industrial goods and services. Immigrant labor is needed to maintain the US economy.
- The US Border Control has stated many times that the solution is in enforcing and penalizing US employers that hire illegal workers, not by penalizing and deporting the illegal immigrant.
- The US government and state governments understand the economic situation and provide political solutions for voters, but understand that the total elimination of immigration would severely hurt the US economy. A legal immigration solution must be implemented.
- There is a fundamental dilema. America is the land made of immigrants, and yet now must begin to control this immigration. Huge uncontrolled borders, wealth and opportunity, and willingness of employers to hire undocumented workers combine to make the US an attractive immigration destination.
Opportunities and possible solutions
If we agree that the illegal immigration problem is a consequence of economic situations and differences in the distribution of wealth, then the following ideas are possible solutions. None of them are easy, all of them have costs, but they are the only real long-term solutions to the immigration situation.
- US government and businesses coordinate with the Mexican government and business sector to invest in economic development projects in the areas in Mexico with the highest degree of poverty and immigration.
- The Mexican government must aggressively work and invest in order to improve opportunities and wealth in their country, especially for the economically disadvantaged.
- US businesses push for immigration reform that allows for temporary workers and legal immigration. The program would increase costs to the US employers, and the workers would be paying taxes.
- US government makes laws and enforces them against US employers that hire illegal immigrants.
- US government finds a method to legalize current immigrants that have been and are working in the US.