Monday, October 31, 2016

If Immigration Can’t Be Stopped, Maybe It Can Be Managed

[A new report supports efforts to expand guest worker programs. Backers include former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo and other apologists for neoliberal labor policies.--TPOI]

By Eduardo Porter, New York Times
October 25, 2016

At its peak in the 1950s, the Bracero Program provided more than 400,000 temporary work visas to Mexican laborers. Credit Frank Q. Brown/Los Angeles Times
Can anything be done about illegal immigration?

Donald J. Trump’s proposal to end illegal immigration — to build a supposedly impregnable wall — is a fake solution. For all intents and purposes, the wall is already there: a fence across large stretches of the southwestern border complemented by drones, sensors and a small army of agents.

It has already failed. The federal government spent more than $200 billion in the last 20 years on immigration enforcement. And the population of unauthorized immigrants swelled to 11 million over the period.

Maybe the answer, instead, lies in another direction. Rather than building a bigger wall, it consists of opening a door in the wall we have. The best way to stop illegal immigration may be for Mexico and the United States to create a legal path for low-skill Mexicans seeking work in the United States.

“When I hear ‘Secure the border,’ I think that’s great, but it’s not the solution,” said Carlos Gutierrez, who was commerce secretary under President George W. Bush. “We need laws that enable us to get the immigrant workers we need for the economy to work and do it in a legal way that doesn’t require employers to resort to a black market."[...]

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