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United States: immigration reform

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Investment by U.S. companies in Mexico and Central America means profits for the investors, and decent jobs for Mexicans and Central Americans, who would stay home.

The United States would benefit, if it created an opportunity for many Central Americans and Mexicans to acquire citizenship.

And regardless of whether it does this or not, there should be a Plan "B".

As part of the current debate in Washington and elsewhere, some critics say that these future immigrants would cost a fortune in welfare payments.

But few Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans leave their families and friends, run the risk of being shaken down by gangsters along the way, undertake a difficult border crossing, and even – in some cases – risk death in the American desert, in order to collect welfare.

Another concern is unfairness: with favorable rules, Mexicans and Central Americans would have a better chance to become U.S. citizens, than potential immigrants from other parts of the world.


But Central America, Mexico and the United States are neighbors, and neighbors often make special efforts to cooperate.

In any case, the alternative is building and maintaining a massive border barrier.

The image of wall to keep out poor workers, sends a terrible public-relations message to Latin America.

In addition, such a barrier would cost billions of dollars, which could be better spent.

Most Mexicans and Central Americans migrate to the United States, to make a living.

If they had decent jobs in Central America and Mexico, they would stay home.

Under Plan "B", the United States takes money away from prosecutors, lawyers and jail wardens, and uses it to encourage productive investment in the region.

Americans each day spend trillions of dollars at a giant, financial roulette table – stocks, gold, bonds, futures, selling long, selling short...

If the odds were better, Americans would be motivated to to invest productively in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

If they build decent businesses, they will have good returns.

Meanwhile, the people who work in those businesses, will happily stay home.