During the past six years of the current Bush presidency, seven million persons from Mexico have been caught trying to enter America. Some, of course, have come through.
It would be reasonable to expect another 20 million (of the total 70 million) Mexican persons will attempt to enter the U.S. to earn higher wages and afford a better life for themselves and their families.
This is a purely economic matter known as migration due to inter-regional wage differences. Isolated changes in law, not supported by incentives for people to abide by the new laws, have always failed and will continue to fail. An immigration reform plan must be comprehensive enough to cover all the side effects of changes in immigration and immigration-related laws.
To set the matter in perspective, the U.S. population stands at 300 million, and there are about 12 million undocumented persons in our country, most, though not all, from Mexico. Moreover, there is a ten-year waiting line for legal emigration from Mexico to the U.S.
President Bush’s immigration reform plan requires most of these 12 million persons be given documents, so they don’t live in fear or under exploitation in the shadows of our society. He further wants them to get in line behind those Mexicans who have been waiting patiently for legal emigration.
There is a minority of Americans (some known as Minutemen) who do not want anybody from Mexico to enter our country. Their efforts will fail, just as the wishful-thinking-based law banning marijuana in America has failed. It would be a grave error to think that supply and demand of cheap labor (or supply and demand of marijuana) will be vanquished by emotions or religious beliefs.
We are the richest country in the world. All of us together earn about $12 trillion dollars of income every year.
Of this, about $500 billion is spent on the war on drugs every year. I am counting the cost of the full force of the city, county and state police fighting drugs, the federal agents and the budget of the Drug Enforcement Agency, cost of the courts from
the county to state to federal levels, all fighting drugs on the streets. I am also including the post-gun battle medical costs, the cost of building prisons and cost of holding people in prisons on drug-related charges.
And yet, it seems within a five-mile radius of anywhere, anyone can buy any amount of any drug. This expensive war has been lost. Do we really want to spend another half a trillion dollars on fighting and losing another war, this time on Mexican persons who are welcomed by business people in America?
Won’t the cost of roofing and drywall, of wait staff and janitorial workers, and many other productive activities rise, if Mexican persons are eliminated from our current labor force? Before making insane claims about not wanting Mexican persons in our country, it would be helpful to ask if we as homeowners want to spend more on home construction and maintenance, or more on food preparation, or on farm products, or all the other productive economic activities in which persons of Mexican origin are engaged. Who gave these minute-minded men the right to make you and me pay more for the services we consume every day?
“Secure the border and treat people with dignity” are the stated dual goals of President Bush’s immigration reform plan.
Any implementable immigration reform must include a guest-worker program, for the significantly higher wages in America will necessarily attract persons from Mexico and other countries south of our border, just as you and I would move to another state for twice or thrice our present earnings.
A Mexican tsunami of about 20 million human beings is coming. Just because the force is economic, and therefore not visible to the naked eye, and is not made of particles of water, does not mean its strength is any less. It is a phenomenon as strong as the migration of Europeans to the Americas a few hundred years ago.
Given a choice, a person from Mexico who wants to work in our country would rather come in legally. The temporary worker program would enable workers from Mexico to do that. They would be issued a tamper-proof ID, with biometric (such as fingerprint) identification. The only persons, a mere handful, who wish to come in to our country illegally, while legal entry is open to them as workers, would be ones who do not have the intention to work, but wish to come in to our country to harm us.
The temporary worker program would separate the honest Mexican workers from the potential terrorists. Less resource cost would be incurred by us then to conduct border monitoring and capturing the handful of potential ill-intentioned people.
Since the temporary workers who are citizens of Mexico will pay taxes, they will be deserving of driving on our open highways, with car insurance, and of taking advantage of the education and healthcare we have. And they will continue to vote to elect the Mexican president and thereby determine the destiny of their nation.
Americans will continue to vote to elect the American President and determine America’s destiny. This is also the way the Germans elect their chancellor and the British their prime minister, regardless of where in Europe they live and work.
Such a plan would also bring about greater increases in the Gross Domestic Products of both Mexico and the U.S. This is a well-known result from international economics. Also, it would be helpful to remember that domestic labor unions always fight immigration and businesses always encourage it.
As president Bush said, “Fearful people build walls, confident people tear them down. The future of our country has always been in the hands of the freedom-loving Americans, and those who seek to restrict freedoms of various kinds, including the freedom of movement, have always lost.”
This is the content of the plan Bush outlined on May 15, 2006, in his address to the nation on immigration.
In his speech to the nation, President Bush has addressed this matter directly and has asked that the debate be conducted “in a reasoned and respectful manner.”
“We must always remember,” Bush said, “that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.”
Finally, when Mexican citizens can come to America lawfully with temporary-worker permits, there will be no need for them to come illegally to participate in an underground economy where they are often abused. And the class of human smugglers will die out, because the demand for their services will diminish greatly. President Bush’s plan is highly sophisticated and it deals with the immigration problem in America with compassion, which is in fact a hallmark of the citizens of our nation.
This is the kinder, gentler America that former President Bush had once envisioned. And this, in a nutshell, is the essence of our immigration problem and its simple solution.