I truly believe that barring huge natural disasters or devastating terror attacks or acts of war, countries get the economy they deserve as a result of the government policies they insist on keeping.
Mexico is no exception.
The Associated Press yesterday reported on the many legal and constitutional roadblocks the Mexican government puts in place for foreign nationals, and even naturalized citizens, from serving in the public sector.
True, the public sector doesn’t grow an economy, but a country’s openness to foreigners working in government is often a good indicator of that society’s view of their value in the private sector.
Running a country that allows only 3,000 immigrants a year and severely restricts their economic prospects could well be a protectionist’s recurring fantasy, but it’s Mexico’s reality, and it sure isn’t attracting foreign capital or protecting jobs for native born Mexicans. The perpetually lackluster Mexican economy is only worsened by governmental restrictions that discourage free enterprise. Is it any wonder it’s losing so much of its domestic labor force to the other side of the Rio with the labor and immigration policies to which the Mexican government stubbornly clings?
While media outlets should portray the high costs borne by American taxpayers from illegal immigrants as they cover the immigration debate, conservatives should avoid the temptation which will arise to confuse vigorously enforcing our present immigration law with a separate debate we should have: do we need to change our immigration laws, particularly our quotas with countries like Mexico?
Yes, let’s strictly enforce the laws we have and punish illegal immigrants, but our Congress should also take the hint from the influx of labor through illegal channels that it’s quite likely we need to update our laws a bit. Are our present immigration quotas too small? Do they represent an artificial ceiling which the market cannot bear and as such present a natural incentive for law-breaking by immigrants who would otherwise be happy to use legal channels of entry?
As conservatives we rail, as well we should, against mindless government red-tape which stifles free enterprise.
We should debate the possibility that our current laws are reams of red tape which defy reflect economic reality.
[The preceding reflects Mr. Shepherd’s personal views and should not be construed as the opinion of the Business & Media Institute.]