Friday, October 26, 2007

Rate of Remittances to Mexico Drop

Over the past couple of years I have slowly refined my position on illegal immigration to five points:

  1. Secure The Border
  2. Workplace Enforcement
  3. Deport The Criminals
  4. Legalization
  5. Assimilation (Including English as the official language)

I believe that if we pursue those points as the priority on illegals there will be no need to try and deport all 12,000,000 of them. The economics of the situation will cause a behavioral change.

My reasoning is basically this. Most illegals from Mexico come to the US to fill low wage jobs that aren't being filled by US workers (I readily admit that not all the jobs are low wage but most are paid at a wage that makes Americans unwilling to take them). They do so in order to support a family in Mexico. When the illegals come here and work in the underground economy they artificially depress wages and this perpetuates the cycle. If we make it too expensive for new illegals to cross the border while combining that with measures that push wages up to a natural equilibrium point the economic situation will tend to stem the tide. Those who are here already will either assimilate or return to their country of origin. The invisible hand that Adam Smith talks about pokes a finger in and resolves the situation.

I have been one of the very few among the circle of bloggers that I read / try to interact with that has taken this point of view, but today's New York Times offers a little vindication:

EL RODEO, Mexico — For years, millions of Mexican migrants working in the United States have sent money back home to villages like this one, money that allows families to pay medical bills and school fees, build houses and buy clothes or, if they save enough, maybe start a tiny business.

But after years of strong increases, the amount of migrant money flowing to Mexico has stagnated. From 2000 to 2006, remittances grew to nearly $24 billion a year from $6.6 billion, rising more than 20 percent some years. In 2007, the increase so far has been less than 2 percent.
Reasons given?
  1. Stronger Border Enforcement
  2. Stronger Workplace Enforcement
  3. Slowing US economy
  4. Assimilation

Granted the end of the article does indicate that some still intend to try to jump the border but there is hesitation there now where there wasn't before.

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