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…)