Unfortunately, the only real solution can’t come from Washington. It’s up to the Mexican government to make the necessary economic changes.
There are an estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and more arrive every day. Congress has promised to fix what many believe to be a problem, but it will be very difficult for lawmakers to come up with an effective policy that will stop the illegal flow—as long as the U.S. is an economic engine and Mexico an economic caboose.
The attraction of jobs in rich and prosperous America is too strong for the legions of Mexicans and Central Americans who have little hope to improve their subsistence lives. And it’s only going to get worse now that several South American countries are electing socialist demagogues who think Fidel Castro’s impoverished Cuba is the model for economic reform.
Thus, the only real solution is for Mexico to implement economic policies that will drive growth and create opportunities at home for poor Mexicans. The Heritage Foundation ranks it 60 out of 157 nations in its Index of Economic Freedom.
Taxes have been cut in recent years, but the tax burden remains too high—30% for both income and corporate taxes. Government spending, about a quarter of GDP, is also too high. That doesn’t leave enough money in the private sector, where jobs are created.
There are also too many restrictions on foreign investment. Some believe that if Mexico would simply open its economy, it would grow 8% to 10% a year—making the country an economic powerhouse, putting it up there with India and China.
Mexico is resource rich with vast amounts of workers who only want a chance to make a decent living and provide for their families. If Mexico would create the economic and regulatory environment that would give its workers a chance to get ahead, the immigration problem would be solved.
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