Just Joe and JR have it half-right: raising standards of living in Mexico is the only long-term solution. As long as folks on the other side of the line have to choose between making $13 a day in Tijuana or $60 a day in San Diego, guess which one they will choose? (Mexicans, it turns out, are rational decision-makers when it comes to economics.) 

The question, though, is how best to work toward this result. Closing the border is a pipedream — the border never has been closed and it never will be closed. This, quite simply, is not the way the border works. By tightening security (and increasing the cost of migrating back and forth) we have in fact encouraged Mexican immigrants to stay permanently in the United States. I know this must be maddening to folks who want to limit illegal immigration, but there you have it.

JR‘s proposal for “exporting democracy” strikes me as improbable — but, hey JR, I’m all for thinking outside-the-box. More successful would be for the U.S. and Mexico to pursue long-term diplomatic and economic joint planning with the stated goal of enabling free, regulated flow of populations across the border. This is the way the Europeans have done it — with some success — in working towards equalized standards of living throughout the European Union.

I also disagree with Joe‘s assertion that “the people of the US are not responsible or interactive with the Mexican nation in the ways we were with our own in the South before the 60’s.” I believe this to be factually incorrect (our lives are highly interrelated with our Mexican neighbors) and I believe it also sells short our culture’s highest moral and ethical ideals. I prefer Christian‘s way of thinking about mutual responsibility, rooted in an ancient question: Am I my brother’s keeper? The answer, I say, is “yes.”


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