Getting at the Roots of Illegal Immigration

by PSA Staff | March 6th, 2015 | |Subscribe

Mr. Shultz, PSA Advisory Board member, a former secretary of labor, Treasury and state, and director, Office of Management and Budget, is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Getting at the Roots of Illegal Immigration

Yes, secure the border—by helping address the conditions that drive desperate people here.

Widely supported immigration reform seems to be hostage to the understandable need to “secure our borders.” Our border with Mexico is truly important. Huge volumes of trade and numbers of people cross that border legally every day to the great advantage of both countries. The problem arises when those who cross the border do so illegally.

To get at this problem, we need to think through the sources of the illegal crossings. When masses of children showed up on our border a few months ago, none were Mexican. Pew Research’s “Hispanic Trends” project reports that net migration from Mexico to the United States was zero from 2005 to 2010, and the Mexican illegal immigrant population, which peaked in 2007, has continued its fall in the years since. Fertility in Mexico has dropped to slightly below replacement levels. Mexico’s competitive position with countries such as China is now strong. Labor costs are almost comparable, and energy and transportation costs are considerably less. With reforms in place, the Mexican economy is likely to respond. (more…)

Much Ado About Mexico: Alternative Reality

by Ginger Seip-Nuno | February 23rd, 2009 | |Subscribe

I recently attended the CATO Institute’s policy forum: “Mexico’s Drug War: The Growing Crisis on Our Southern Border,” and it got me thinking about the alternative polices that the US could take when dealing with Mexico.  Some of the popular policy alternatives  mentioned at the conference-although not necessarily advocated by any one participant-included the legalization of drugs, building a bigger wall, and pumping money into treatment and prevention programs to quell demand.  (I was waiting for “full scale invasion,” and “nation building” to be mentioned, but they weren’t.)  Each of these alternative policies to stop/slow the Drug War have a unique set of problems which were more eloquently addressed by the participants of the panel.  (Please note it is not just “Mexico’s” Drug War; Mexico is just taking more *noticeable* casualties at the moment.)  The possibility of political change in Mexico, however, was not mentioned by anyone.  Alternatives to the current US policy–which is outlined in the Mérida Initiative and contingency plans, in case all hell breaks loose North of the border–is fine to kick around academic forums and think tank tables, BUT the one common assumption to all these suggested policies have, is the one assumption that might be changing in Mexico:  what if Mexico itself changes tactics or political parties and becomes less receptive to United States assistance?


US Must Take the Initiative and Help Mexico

by Ginger Seip-Nuno | February 9th, 2009 | |Subscribe

As outgoing CIA Director Hayden points out, Mexico poses a great threat to U.S. security, second only to Al Qaeda.  I’m glad at least SOMEONE is remembering our suffering neighbor who has been plagued with drug violence for decades, only to have it recently explode into unprecedented brutality and death in 2008.

Kristin Bricker, a correspondent for, writes that “Mexico’s daily El Universal, which began counting drug war executions four years ago, reports that 5,612 people were executed in Mexico’s drug war in 2008.  This year’s deaths more than doubled 2007’s total of over 2,700 executions.  By El Universal’s estimates, about 8,463 drug executions have occurred during the first two years of Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s six-year term in office.”

Saying Mexico has a “drug-problem” is a gross understatement.  Cuidad Juárez-a city with a population of approximately 1.5 million and just across the border from El Paso, Texas-saw more than 1,300 murders in drug-violence in 2008: (more…)

All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.