LatinaLista– A reason often cited and attributed to immigrants who overstay their Visas or arrive illegally in the United States is that they want a better future for them and/or their children.
Aside from jobs, that path to attaining the proverbial “American Dream” is through education — something immigrants from Mexico (the country where the majority of undocumented people are from) have a particularly hard time getting if their families don’t have the money to pay for a good education or live in the rural parts of the country where there’s a shortage of schools, supplies and teachers.
But no country, especially that shares a border with one of the most educated countries in the world, can be that bad, right?
A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that among member countries of the OECD, Mexico ranks last in the number of people who have at least what is considered a high school education. By comparison, the U.S. ranks 11 after such countries as #1 Korea, #2 Slovac Republic, #6 Canada and #7 Russian Federation.
When it comes to a college education, Mexico still ranks among the bottom five. The United States falls to 12th place, behind countries like Canada, Japan, Israel and Australia.
Though critics of illegal immigration argue against educating the children of undocumented immigrants or allowing children from Mexico to come to primary or high school in the U.S., as this report illustrates, it’s the one thing that can ensure American prosperity as well as provide a stronger future for Mexico.
What is often overlooked is that when people receive the education/training that enables them to enter the workforce with higher skills, the higher salaries they can command and the more they can pay in taxes. As the report noted:
The economic benefits of education flow not just to individuals but also to governments through additional tax receipts when people enter the labour market. These public returns, which take into account the fact that providing education is also a cost to governments, offer an additional perspective on the overall returns to education.
Also, the report found that the more educated a populace, the healthier and more informed they are. Researchers found that those who completed high school tended to be more conscientious about their health and those who were college graduates had more of an interest in politics.
Many times, critics will say why doesn’t Mexico educate their own students. The sad fact, as is evident in this report, is that Mexico is not equipped at this stage in its history to provide the kind of equal access to education that can help the country propel past its shortcomings and failures and carry them into the future.
The United States is so equipped and must realize that what happens across the southern border impacts this country on a variety of levels.
Since education is the key to a society’s longevity, it’s in the U.S. best interest to work out a “guest-education” program with Mexico to help equip their students with the skills and knowledge to make Mexico’s economy stronger.
Until border security measures went into overdrive, residents along the U.S.-Mexican border routinely crossed the international bridges to come to school on the U.S. side.
If Mexico’s economy is stronger, it makes sense that the U.S. economy will benefit and both countries can go back to being neighbors rather than just cordial allies.