Global Views

Rice Economist Predicts US Won’t Resolve Immigration Dilemma Without Mexico

Rice Economist Predicts US Won’t Resolve Immigration Dilemma Without Mexico

LatinaLista — For those of us who have followed this divisive debate in Congress over immigration reform, we have always felt something was missing.
Common sense? The voice of the undocumented? Employers? Industry representatives? The average American voter?

Yes, to all of those, but there is one more missing element that no one seriously entertained until a report released today by Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy flushed this element out for serious consideration.
The missing piece for solving our immigration debacle lies with — Mexico.

Up until now Mexico has been the easy scapegoat to blame for our immigration problems and drug violence and trafficking, but as the report A Proposal for Immigration Reform clearly spells out, Mexico wouldn't have this problem if it weren't for conditions in this country that demand immigrant labor and a drug habit that fuels a prosperous trade for some opportunistic, law-breaking entrepreneurs.
In the report, authored by Rice economist Dr. Dagobert L. Brito and Dr. Hector Olea, president of gauss energia, participants in a research project for the Baker Institute, the two outline how unless the U.S. government includes Mexico (the home country of the majority of undocumented immigrants) in the resolution of the immigration debate, there will be no real remedy.
The two authors recommend several measures for our government to take to address the fact that there are millions and millions of undocumented workers living here who just want to work. In the paper, the two recommend:

Registering all undocumented workers who are in the United States and grant them temporary work permits with repatriation dates spaced over a period of years. Such a proposal would allow employers to hire workers without penalty. The allocation of repatriation dates could be done by a lottery.
Spacing repatriation of undocumented workers over a period of years would avoid a disruption in the labor market and permit a humane and rational schedule of repatriation. The undocumented workers that do not register and are identified can be deported without disruption of the economy.
The second element of this proposal is that, in the case of undocumented immigrants from Mexico, the registering of undocumented Mexicans be done jointly with Mexico with their network of Mexican consulates in the US.
Since the number of non-Mexican undocumented immigrants is smaller, registering these workers can be managed more easily than the Mexican population.

The authors have high hopes that a timely accord of some kind can be reached if Congress solicits Mexico's help and recognizes the fact that talk of deporting millions and millions of people will only bring social and economic chaos and world condemnation down on our country.
In proposing that all undocumented workers be registered, the authors recognize that it is important for the safety of the country and prevention of future terroristic threats to know who these people are, where they came from and most importantly, what they are doing here.
Though the authors admit that most of these workers did not arrive with the intent of staying here indefinitely, and it was only because of increased border enforcement that kept them here and forced them to create new lives, the authors' solution of creating "special courts" to deal with them falls below expectations of what would be fair and reasonable treatment.
The proposed treatment (special courts) of those cases of undocumented workers who have greater emotional and financial investments in the country due to their length of stay, family and employment, is one of the major drawbacks in this well-thought out proposal.
The authors admit this proposal won't make everyone happy, but on first read it looks like it can relieve a lot of anxiety that too many families are experiencing.
It's time to listen to reason and create a solution that doesn't just make sense but creates a stronger relationship with our neighbors and shows the world that the US is still a country where problems are solved and not used to divide.

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