Exploration of the Economic/Profitable Dimensions of Illegal Mexican Immigration for U.S. Economy

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The United States government, through its policy of discouraging immigration, has only caused further misery to the immigrants longing to cross the Mexican American border in search of work. The United States has a border patrol whose sole purpose is to stop undocumented immigration across the US/Mexican border; however, this policy has hurt both the U.S. and Mexican economies. The United States government loses economically not only in its funding of the border patrol, but loses large tax revenues which could be generated if the Mexican worker were allowed to work legally rather than covertly. Much is bantered regarding the use of public facilities by the illegal alien; however, it is only our policy of disallowing legal migration which keeps our economy from gaining tax revenues to fund the programs which are already in place. By allowing for legal migration, the United States would be in the position of taxing the migrant worker, who would, in turn, make a decent wage, therefore keeping him from becoming a burden to our already exhausted system of social programs. The U.S. economy sees little profit from an entity which it cannot see; thus, illegal immigrants working and living outside of American society cannot offer any financial gain to this society.

On the Mexican side of the border the policing of the border is also a liability to their already struggling economy. The maquiladoras (The maquiladoras are generally owned by non-Mexican corporations. They take advantage of plentiful low-cost Mexican labor, advantageous tariff regulations (lessened somewhat as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement), and close proximity to U.S. markets to produce such items as home appliances and automobiles) might provide the Mexican opportunity to make a slightly better wage than can be found in centralized regions, however, the working and living conditions of these employees are on the most part abominable. Without the stability to form unions, the workers of the maquiladoras are at the mercy of the opportunistic factory owners who exploit their workers with 12 hour workdays, unsafe working conditions and lack of benefits. Although these workers are paid the minimum wage of Mexico, it is not enough to allow the worker to achieve any level of economic independence, thus, the worker remains dependent on the outside entrepreneur who proves time and again that his only concern is profit. On top of all this, Mexico's economy suffers as money which would be earned in the U.S. could be filtered into their economy by the worker who is free to return to his country and spend his earnings where he lives.

Another economic disadvantage to the current border policy lies in the hands of the American businesses and individuals who prey upon the illegal alien. Knowing that the illegal aliens cannot avail themselves of unions, benefits, or, in some cases, law enforcement officials, dubious employers will take advantage of the Mexican much in the way that the maquiladoras do. Without the protection of the U.S. government and/or labor unions, many illegal workers not only get paid wages below the poverty level, work in unsanitary and dangerous environments but, in some cases, such as the recent case of the deaf Mexicans forced into slavery in New York City, the abuses take on a much more ominous tone. Additionally, while illegal and undocumented aliens are able to provide cheap, ununionized labor, the entire structure of the American labor movement is jeopardized. As the illegal aliens who were brought in during the grape boycott were a threat to the agricultural union, so are the myriad of other unionized industries across the United States.

Beyond the obvious danger to the economy of the United States, the illegal immigration opens up new career opportunities. For instance, the border patrol allows for the existence of the coyote. The coyotes are opportunistic people who, for a fee, smuggle immigrants across the border. The coyote preys on poor immigrants in search of economic advantages in a variety of ways including the perpetration of violence along the border. This is all to avoid the US border patrol, which is employed to catch them. Thus far, the border patrol does little to stop the influx of immigrants or the profiteering of the coyote as every night brings more "victims" over the border.

For these reasons, it would appear that the border patrol and immigration policies of the U.S. and Mexico have been a dismal failure which has hurt both economies. By creating a system of legal migration that fosters economic development for both nations, many of the problems along the border of each would dissolve. NAFTA, which offers some new hope to the misery of the Mexican/American interdependence, is not enough. It is time to reevaluate the failing migration laws and border policies in order to bring profit to both government, both peoples, and alleviate some of the misery along the border.

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