Illegal Immigration To The Usa
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Illegal Immigration and Human Smuggling: Central America and Mexico Melinda S. Oja International Policy Formulation White Paper May 9,2002 Immigration is not a new phenomenon. Long before small-scale societies emerged, man roamed the earth, primarily in search of food. The principle reason that migration is noticed today is the establishment of organized states with defined borders. The struggle for life’s necessities continues as thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, traverse the world in search of a better standard of living. Although current media is focused primarily on Mexico’s northern border with the United States, a little known debate has raged over a situation farther south along the Mexico-Guatemala border as thousands of immigrants attempt to cross the border daily on their way to the United States. In this paper I plan to explain several aspects of immigration, the circumstances in Central America that contribute to illegal immigration, Central America’s significance in the illegal immigration network, and specific polices that might be established to reduce it. Uti possidetis juris. It is shocking that three simple words had the power to irrevocably change the territorial composition of Central America and the life of its indigenous inhabitants. After independence, the uti possidetis juris principle dictated that the current borders between the nations be primarily the same as when the Spanish had divided the region into viceroyalties (Rarick, 2000). Where colonial boundaries were vague, local geographical features marked the border. Unfortunately, the Spanish drew these boundaries irrespective of the local indigenous populations, which later caused the first form of cross-border migration between Central America and Mexico as the border divided extended families. Social, political, and economic factors called “push factors” influence potential migrants when making the decision to leave their host country. Push factors like of underdevelopment, poverty, corruption, exploitation, low wages, the lack of land and jobs, income disparities, or political strife are major causes of international outward migration (Smith, 1997). It can also be caused by overcrowding because of high population density, as in the case of El Salvador (Morner, 1985). The lure of higher wages, possible employment, higher standards of living, cultural support networks, and freedom from political violence are examples of factors that “pull” a potential migrant towards another country. Though many upper class members of developing societies migrate as well, the dramatic push/pull factors of international migration are most influential on members of the poor sectors of society who have less to lose by migrating (Morner, 1985) Persons residing in developing countries decide whether to immigrate or not by “comparing offers” in a cost-benefit analysis. The potential migrants consider the varying costs of migration and weigh them against the likely benefits of migration. The decision to migrate is also effected by each persons beliefs, history, family and his country’s historical relations with other nations (Parfit, 1998). Current data also shows that the further away, more expensive, dangerous, or risky (illegal migration penalties) it is to migrate from source to host country, the smaller the flow of migrants will become (Borjas, 1999). Inversely, the higher risk involved in staying and the greater the income differentials and job opportunities will result in a larger population flow (Borjas, 1999). In some cases, where legal migration is not an option, the dramatic disparities in income differentials will completely outweigh the possible migration costs or penalties and the person will attempt to enter the country ille gally (Borjas, 1999). The historical and current political, social, economic conditions in Guatemala and the rest of Central America help explain why high incidences of immigration occur in Central America. Three major events in the history of Guatemala spurred a steady outflow of immigration. In 1954 the US helped to oust the reform-minded, and democratically elected, President Arbenz. His replacement made Guatemala a “safe haven for US interests” and transformed Guatemala from a country that produced food primarily for consumption to an exporter of cash crops and nearly dependent on the United States for trade (Loucky, 2000). While Arbenz planned to dissolve much of United Fruit Company’s lands for redistribution to the masses, the new export economy required plantation style agriculture unsuitable to the individual farmer and tailored to US big business. The resulting lack of consumable goods led to a dramatic increase in infant mortality and child malnutrition where one child in five died before the age of six and 80 percent of Mayan children were malnourished (Loucky, 2000). The increased poverty of the lower classes coincided with the increased wealth of the upper classes that benefited from the new export led agriculture, which widened the income disparities within the country. In the 1970s, Guatemala suffered from state repression that resulted in the disappearance or murder of many individuals who attempted to promote change—including development workers, peasant organizers, priests, and teachers (Loucky, 2000). Heightening repression caused many to flee into Mexico as refugees and some even went to the United States. Many joined relatives or friends who migrated to the US in search of agricultural or urban opportunities (Loucky, 2000). Additionally, Guatemala experienced a devastating earthquake in 1976. Civil war tore Guatemala apart in the 1 980s as the military intensified their attacks on the guerrilla movement in northern Guatemala and imposed state terror that claimed countless lives and caused thousands to flee across the Guatemala -Mexico border. Hurricane Mitch hit the shores of Central America in 1998 causing the near collapse of several economies under the pressure of rebuilding (Nezer, 1999). As forceful winds and rain leveled entire cities, and floods covered roads and washed away houses, many lost all their belongings, which only served to increase the flow of migrants northward. As of December 2000, Mayans make up 60 percent of the Guatemalan population but are 80-90 percent illiterate and completely impoverished (Woodard, 2000). Furthermore, even though the richest 2 percent of the population own early 66 percent of all farmable land, the upper class resists any efforts to reform social or economic systems for land and tax distribution (Woodard, 2000). Unfortunately, Guatemala is not the only nation that has suffered US intervention, natural disaster, political turmoil, severe poverty, or economic inequality. Earthquakes and high population density have left El Salvador struggling to cope while Honduras has suffered drought and Nicaragua a social revolution (Katel, 2001). The kinds of economic, social, and political conditions that persist in Central America in contrast to life in the United States make any kind of immigration, legal or otherwise, an understandable and logical response. The geography and current international policies of Central America are significant within the context of immigration. Central America is an isthmus that connects the countries of South America, and their popula tions, to the United States, making Central America a primary overland route for illegal immigration. The region is also surrounded on the two sides by water. Most countries carry out few coastal patrols and possess numerous obscure landing sites for boats of illegal immigrants (Smith, 1997). The launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been instrumental in moving the “gateway” to the United States farther south. Mexico’s border to Central America has been described as “the rear guard in the US backed fight against illegal immigration (Wilkinson, 1994). In migrating from source country to host country, migrants often must pass through “transit countries.” All Central American countries are “transit countries” because of their proximity to Mexico, the US, and the lack of efficient and adequate law enforcement personnel. Not only is Central America the source of 200,000 to 300,000 illegal aliens who attempt to enter the US, it is also a migrant assembly center and the western terminus for international smuggling routes that bring some 100,000 a year from Asia, South America, and the Pacific Islands (Smith, 1997). A Guatemalan immigration agent stated “Once on the ground, no matter in what country, all networks converge on Guatemala, and from Guatemala overland through Mexico across the California or Texas Border” (Smith, 1997). Mexico and Central America have enacted several different policies in an attempt to curtail the flow of immigration. Coyote 2000 and the Southern Plan were Mexico’s main attempts at reducing human smuggling and illegal (CITE). In June, Coyote 2000 was implemented to reduce the number of human smuggling networks in Mexico though it was criticized for being purely an immigration raid. In Coyote 2000, nearly 5,000 Central Americans were deported from Mexico but it is unclear how many of them were actually coyotes (CITE). In June 2001, the Southern Plan, designed to decrease human smuggling and increase deportation of illegal aliens in Mexico utilized increased enforcement and the Mexican army to crackdown on illegal immigrants living in border towns. It resulted in 6,000 deportations of illegal aliens to Guatemala (Jaramillo, 2001). Fifty percent of these immigrants were Guatemalan, 28 percent Honduranians, and 22 percent Salvadoran (Jaramillo, 2001). The program seems inadequate when numbers are compared to the 70,848 Guatemalans, 40,892 Hondurans, 33,960 Salvadorans, and 1,836 Nicaraguans deported in the previous year (Jaramillo, 2001). The Southern Plan also increased the presence of soldiers and other government officers at the border and allocated 10 million dollars to the repair and construction of immigration checkpoints. The most inventive part of this plan was the positioning of an elite immigration task force on the trans-isthmus highway that runs from Mexico’s eastern to western coast. All illegal immigrants traveling by land must pass over this road on their way to the United States. Mexico’s Southern Plan coincided with Guatemala’s plan, Venceremos 2001 (We Shall Overcome 2001), to facilitate deportation and clear out its own illegal immigrants. Until the establishment of Venceremos 2001, illegal immigrants deported from Mexico were simply dropped at the Guatemalan border, creating a high incidence of repeat migration. Now with US financial backing, Venceremos 2001 is deporting these immigrants directly to their country of origin in the hopes that this will discourage repeated attempts at migration (Jaramillo, 2001). The plan also mobilized more than 2000 agents in clearing out hotels, bars, and brothels and deporting all illegal aliens. As recently as 1981 Guatemala allowed smugglers to operate freely within the country in exchange for foreign aid from Taiwan and Guatemala’s support that Taiwan be admitted to the United Nations (Smith, 1997). Guatemala recently changed its immigration law to criminally condemn all forms of assistance to undocumented migrants and has begun requiring passports from all Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans who wish to enter the country (Nezer, 1999). However, both Mexico and Guatemala seem to adopt a policy of rising and falling awareness to illegal immigrants. The governments will crackdown on illegal immigrants, deport them, and then relax immigration controls only to repeat the process the next year. This kind of inconsistency only encourages Central Americans to wait until the next period of relaxation before trying to cross the border. In 1982, a United Nations study confirmed that illegal migration is “the dominant type of migration” between Latin American countries and is driven by a powerful force—the search for employment, higher wages, and a better life (Morner, 1985). The economic, social, and political situations in many of these Central American countries continue to deteriorate and increase the flow of migrants in search of employment, safety, and a higher standard of living. Many illegal immigrants will attempt to cross the Sichuate, a border that forms 60 miles of the southernmost part of Mexico-Guatemala border (Rohter, 1989). Open rafts glide across the river border, unimpeded by local officials. Occupants step from the river rafts and through a hole in the border fence into Mexico (Wilkinson, 1994). When the water is low, people can just wade across to the other side. The border contains very few checkpoints, some rundown and undermanned. This border is far more porous than that of the United States because it lacks the technology and manpower available at the Northern Border. However, the Guatemala -Mexico border towns closely resemble those on the southern side of the US-Mexico border—full of crime and people recently deported, or waiting to cross. Immigration officials catch many illegal immigrants on the other side of the border and send them back by bus Guatemala. In the first half of 2001, Mexico repatriated more about 93,000 undocumented migrants, outpacing 169,000 for all of the previous year. the drug trade, prostitution, money laundering, or alcoholism (Wilkinson, 1994). Mexico also assumes a significant financial cost by attempting to decrease illegal immigration. Illegal aliens that are caught in Mexico on their way to the United States are deported. The cost of this deportation is considerable considering the number of immigrants entering Mexico daily. Mexico, with US assistance, has already invested 10 million dollars in a new program that will deport immigrants to their home country instead of leaving them at the Guatemala border (Jordan & Sullivan, 2001). The most significant cost of illegal immigration is the loss of human life due to violent crime along the border. Tales of efforts to migrate north often include robbery, rape, and physical abuse by gangs that prowl the Mexican side of the border waiting to prey on incoming migrants (Thomspon, 2001). More than 90 percent of all migrants questioned have reported being robbed by gangs, coyotes, or immigration officials (LaFranchi, 1996). The number of immigrants who died along the border in 2000 rose from 29 to 260 the following year (Thompson, 2001). As immigration increases along Mexico’s southern border, so does the crime, violence, and corruption commonly associated with it. Though many consequences are associated with illegal immigration, the practice does have some supporters and benefits. First, illegal immigration can be an inexpensive way for employers to fill important labor needs. Opponents of illegal immigration insist that aliens take jobs away from native laborers, though others contend that these aliens fill the jobs that most of society tend to avoid—menial, tedious, low-wage jobs with little room for advancement (Morris & Mayio, 1982). Second, illegal immigration is often used as a “safety valve” solution to societal problems for some nations in Central America. These nations have little incentive to control the flow because outward migration relieves pressure on a nation~ s economy struggling to support itself. Third, illegal migrants that do find jobs in other countries will often send a portion of their paychecks home in an effort to support remain ing family members. These remittances sometimes make up a great portion of the countries gross domestic product and are used by the families to purchase consumable goods, which in turn stimulates the economy (Smith, 1997). Fourth, an immigrant’s country of origin is not the only beneficiary of their weekly paycheck— the host country profits as well. Nearly 80 percent of an undocumented worker’s salary stays in the US while only 20 percent goes back to his home country (Quintanilla, 2001). Finally, the human smuggling industry generates direct profits that were near 7 billion dollars a year in 1997 and that can be invested locally and abroad. In addition to the direct profits of immigrant smuggling, hotels along the transit routes are full of Central Americans on their way to the border (Smith, 1997). Hotel owners protest loudly whenever immigration officials raid their units. Cash crop plantations and food processing companies, which find that illegal immigrants work for lower wages than native laborers, also strongly support and benefit from illegal immigration. The United States is the most appropriate nation to examine when determining what immigration policies work because the relationship between the United States and Mexico is similar to the relationship between Mexico and Guatemala. In 1954, the United States employed a program similar to the Southern Plan in Mexico called Operation Wetback (Mayio, 1982). Over a million Mexicans living in the United States were deported. This program was enacted in 1954 and the fact that illegal immigration has increased significantly since then demonstrates that it had little effect on illegal immigration over time. Other programs ensued over the next twenty years. Then in 1986, the United States enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act (LRCA) in an attempt to reduce immigration in the following steps. First, all illegal immigrants in the country that met specific standards received amnesty. Nearly 3 million illegal immigrants petitioned for amnesty, though not all received it, and there is some debate as to whether the flow of immigration has been reduced at all (OECD, 1993). In most cases, amnesty encourages further illegal immigration into a country, especially if that country has provided amnesty in the past. Amnesty provisions also serve to endorse further illegal immigration by raising the hopes that once inside an illegal immigrant will eventually be able to apply for amnesty. The next step involved enhanced border security and increased penalties for employers caught hiring illegal workers (OECD, 1993). The use of bribery and human smugglers to bypass enhanced border security is fairly efficient and employer sanctions are only useful if the employer will enforce them. Most employers who hire illegal workers are aware of the fact and are not deterred by the employer sanctions (Azfar, 2001). The final step of the IRCA raised the yearly limit of skilled workers and their immediate families gaining legal entry (OECD, 1993). However, the admittance of a higher number of skilled workers will not usually serve to lower migration because the majority of illegal migrants are members of the lower classes. In 1994, the US established an anti-immigration program called Operation Gatekeeper in an effort to tighten security and “throw the book” at those attempting to enter the United States using false documentation (Light, 1996). The intense scrutiny of immigration documents increased illegal immigration overland (Light, 1996). This, combined with enhanced security along the border, resulted in a higher number of illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the border. While the United States equated the numerous captures to the program’s efficiency and success, the operation really only succeeded in diverting one form of illegal flow to another. The enhanced security of Operation Gatekeeper included a ten to twelve-foot high fence along a sixty-mile stretch of the border near San Diego, increased personnel, seismic and magnetic sensors, and infrared scopes (Light, 1996). The higher level of security undoubtedly helped to catch more illegal immigrants but it also served to redirect immigration to a more treacherous route through the Tecate Mountains. Finally, this type of high-tech security would only be useful in Mexico if the United States or another nation provided financing and technical training. Another possible way to reduce illegal immigration is the introduction of international identification cards in countries with high rates of illegal immigration. These cards would be mandatory in order to obtain jobs and possibly access to health care. Similar cards identification cards were introduced in the UK during World War II to facilitate the identification of illegal aliens (ID, 2002). Everyone was required keep the card with them and show it on demand to law enforcement personnel and police workers (ID, 2002). However, abuses of this system occurred as people were asked to show their cards in situations irrelevant to immigration and in 1952, the card was abolished. The UK is discussing the possibility of reintroducing the card on a larger scale because of the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States. The implementation of this system would require a computerized registration system for all citizens of a country and would most likely consist of an individual’s photograph, fingerprints, or even retina scans (Miller & Moore, 1995). Obviously this technology is far too advanced to be implemented in Central America at this point in the countries’ social and economic development. Additionally, this method of immigration control creates concern over governmental power and controversy over an individual’s right to privacy. Also, in today’s technologically advanced society, there is no guarantee that a “tamper-proof identity card will not become “tamper-resistant” in five years and an international joke in ten with the reproduction of identity cards only adding to the complexity of international illegal immigration. One potential policy that could slow the flow of illegal immigration is to allow potential migrants to enter the country temporarily so that they could participate in a worker program instead of illegal immigration. During the 1950s and 1960s, France tried to curb illegal immigration and fill a gap in the labor supply by creating a temporary worker program (Hollifield, 1986). While these workers helped to achieve a very high growth rate, after a time France decided to end the worker program because of large numbers of unemployed nationals. Unfortunately, they were unable to stop worker migration and many just stayed in the country after their work permits had expired (Hollifield, 1992). Furthermore, immigration creates ties between the immigrant’s host country and their country of origin. The French learned that it is more difficult to start labor than to stop it because of the ties created. Worker migration is “self-perpetuating because family members inevitably follow workers. If unable to pass through legal channels, many will enter illegally” (Hollifield, 1992). Though it seems intelligent to use foreign labor when the national labor supply is low, like the US did with the Bracero Program, the ties created between the host country, the immigrants, and their families at home are generally permanent, though there are exceptions (Hollifield, 1986). When the program ended in 1964 there was a marked increase in illegal immigration from Mexico and other countries (OECD, 1993). The European Union countries, specifically the UK and Italy, are attempting to reduce the flow of illega l immigrants via information exchange and transnational collaboration. The hope is that collaboration will lead to more effective enforcement of the borders, ports, and airports, reduced human smuggling, and larger apprehensions of illegal immigrants (Italy, 2002). The exchange of information and support is essential between countries that are attempting to lower their collective illegal immigration levels. However, it is also necessary to secure the support and active involvement of illegal immigrant’s countries of origin to effectively reduce immigration levels. It is important to remember that ending all illegal immigration is neither essential nor realistic. The costs of creating a system so perfect that no illegal immigrants passed undetected would be prohibitive. Many theories have emerged on possible ways to reduce immigration indirectly through policies or social programs concerning poverty, development, job creation, technology, education, health care, etc. It is important to remember that while policies can slow immigration through stricter enforcement and higher walls, these policies are only treating the symptoms of international migration and not the causes. As was previously discussed, international migration is caused by poverty, underdevelopment, lack of jobs, low wages and standards of income relative to neighboring countries, and many other factors. The following social programs or policies address the immigration issue by attempting to eliminate the causes of illegal immigration. In the past, Mexico has developed some innovative ideas for treating underdevelopment, poverty, and unequal income distribution. Mexico’s President Ernesto Zedillo enacted the Progresa program during his presidency. The Progresa program provides financial compensation to families that either send their children to school, instead of to work, or take their children in for free preventative health care checkup (Let, 1999). One study showed that the attendance of children in the program increased by a full year and that infants involved in the program were 22% less likely to die before they reached two years of age (Rich, 2000). These financial incentives allowed families to “invest in the human capital of [their] children” by subsidizing participating families’ incomes (Gertler, 2001). Before Progresa, students would be bedridden much longer because their families could not afford to take them to a doctor. Under Progresa, children can receive free medical care and return to school much sooner, which is especially important since children can only miss 15% of their classes to receive Progresa payments. Also, Progresa payments are given to the women in the family to help ensure that funds are allocated correctly and for the benefit of the children (Let, 1999). A similar program could be implemented in Central America to redistribute wealth and increase the standard of living among the lower classes—a prime factor in the decision to migrate. Many people believe that reducing the population of Central American will reduce the number of illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the border. Despite the racist implications of that statement, the fundamental idea has some validity. Currently population growth rates in Central America far outpace the government’s capacity to create jobs (OECD, 1985). One solution that may or may not be effective in the reduction of illegal immigration is the provision of free education on family planning and birth control. In this way the choice is offered but the decision is personal. A decrease in the number of people searching for jobs would, in effect, reduce the number of potential migrants, though probably not to a significant degree. A program that has limited success in decreasing poverty in Mexico and Central America is the LDS Perpetual Education Fund (PEF). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established the PEF in 2001 as a way for its members, many of which live in poverty in developing countries, to improve their way of life (Hinckley, 2001). The PEF is seen as “an educational opportunity [where] they [can] develop the skills whereby they [can] earn sufficient to take good care of their families and rise above the poverty level that they are in their prior generations have known” (Hinckley, 2001). The money for this program came initially from the donations of wealthier members; however, the funds are replenished as those who have accepted loans pay them off when they obtain employment (Hinckley, 2001). It provides small loans in situations that most banks would not—to the poor. Providing the necessary funds to pursue practical education, the PEF helps to alleviate poverty among its members. The PEF is a wonderful program but limited in its scope because it is only available at this time to members of the LDS church. Perhaps if it was implemented on a larger scale with the support of some private organizations it could help significantly alleviate poverty and the need to migrate. One solution to the severe poverty and inequality in Central America and Mexico that drives illegal immigration is a structured system of micro credit loans for vocational training or the establishment of small businesses. The Grameen Bank of Bangladesh is significantly different from traditional banking institutions. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank believed that rural poor could generate productive employment for themselves if they were provided with small micro credit loans and loan counseling, or the ability to buy tools and supplies. The bank offers small loans (usually $30 to $300) to the rural poor as start-up capital for small business on the basis of group liability (Wahid & Hsu, 2000). Borrowers do not have to be able to read, write or offer collateral (Skousen, 1999). The borrowers are organized into groups that help each other meet the ir modest payments each month. These groups participate in training session where they receive investment advice, are trained in accounting and management and learn the banks rules and regulations, and how to sign their names and make important decisions (Wahid & Hsu, 2000). Members are organized into groups and the two neediest members of the group are given loans first. If either of them defaults on the loan, no one else in the group will receive theirs, which provides incentive to make payments. Grameen Bank allows rural poor to borrow at low interest rates instead of from local moneylenders who charge exorbitant fees (Skousen, 1999). The bank has significantly increased member productivity and alleviated a small portion of poverty in developing countries, which should reduce the pressure to migrate. One possible way to decrease the number of illegal immigrants flowing through Central America into Mexico is to allow for individual withdrawal from the cash economy. A return to a subsistence economy where food was produced for consumption instead of export would significantly raise the standard of living of the lower classes. This proposal, while inventive and idealistic, must be examined from a realistic perspective. Is it possible to actually withdrawal from the cash economy and still abide by the same laws that govern the country? Not everyone would be willing to receive payment for services rendered in corn, beans, and squash or labor. In turn, what happens to necessary services like health care? Would the group have to pay taxes since they receive nothing but land from the government? I think a more realistic approach to this would be setting aside a sufficient percentage of the food produced in Central America for consumption and a certain percentage for export. Another approach to eliminating illegal immigration would be for Mexico and Central America to legalize all forms of immigration and maintain an “open border” policy. Some argue that the effects of immigration legalization would eventually even out and create economic growth in all countries. However, there are not the same push/pull factors in every country and more people are likely to go to those countries that have the highest pull factor and all are close to the United States. This might cause a disproportionate amount of people in one area to relocate. The massive exodus from one country to another in search of jobs or a better standard of living could lead to high burden on societies and a rapid increase in unemployment in those countries (if the new immigrants are included in the count). Each country has the right to dictate whom passes through its borders. If immigration were made legal, all immigrants would receive at least minimum wage for their labor, however, since many of the rural poor are uneducated they could be a possible drain on welfare and would hurt the lower end of wage labor. Since there is unlikely to be full international cooperation, legalization of immigration is not a realistic proposal. Vicente Fox recently announced his intentions to pursue the Puebla -Panama Plan (PPP) which focuses on the development of infrastructure (roads, canals, maquiladoras, etc.) as a way to create economic development in Mexico and Central America (Plan, 2002). While the plan has many supporters and could be a solution to immigration push factors, opposition forces say that the plan will displace thousands of indigenous that live where the new infrastructure would be built. Ironically, these displaced migrants would then be available to work in the maquiladoras alongside the canals (Plan, 2002). Because the PPP will appropriate land for the production of cash crops to “facilitate globalization and economic growth” it does not seem to be a sound strategy for promoting economic development, but rather further globalization and dependence on exports for growth. One of the impediments to successful implementation of immigration reduction policy is the culture of bribery and corruption that is widespread in Central America. Corruption is a significant impediment to economic development and undermines otherwise functional governments. Corruption occurs when an official “deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of private, pecuniary [financial], or status gain” (Azfar, 2001). Often funds are diverted away from otherwise successful and important social projects and into the pockets of the corrupt. Widespread corruption can threaten the rule of law and any social policy directed to the lower classes will be unsuccessful. For any social policy to be set into motion to slow the flow of illegal immigration and human smuggling, corruption must be significantly reduced. In order to reduce the flow of illegal migration from Central America to Mexico and the United States significantly and permanently, the region must accomplish the following objectives: • First, the OAS or the United Nations or must establish Anti Human Smuggling and Anti-Corruption — task forces under the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division. Both of these task forces would be divided into regions (Central America, North America, South America, etc.) that would participate in information sharing and intraregional collaboration in anti-smuggling and anticorruption efforts. These regional divisions would be responsible for exposing corrupt practices, overseeing increased accountability in governmental and judicial processes and ensuring the secured freedom of the press, which serves as a corruption watchdog and a voice for “whistleblowers.” Considerable cooperation between these officials and local law enforcement would be necessary to prevent these activities, which undermine the rule of law and its efficiency. These Anti-Human Smuggling and Anti-Corruption task forces are essential if any policies or programs enacted to slow illegal immigration or increase social and economic development are to be completely effective. • Central America must implement the Progresa program found in Mexico with the cooperation of individual national governments and the United Nations Development Program or the UN International Development Association. This will serve to develop human capital in each country and increase the standard of living found among the lower classes. A specific agency should be included in the Progresa program in each country and should be dedicated to the implementation and supervision of appropriate local development such as clean drinking water, low-cost alternative energy sources, support of small local businesses, education, health care, and [optional] family planning initiatives. • Programs structured like Grameen Bank’s micro credit loans and the LDS PEE’s loans for vocational training or education should be implemented and supported by non-governmental organizations and private sector groups. It is very important that this money be handled outside of the governmental sphere so that any funds will be assured to benefit the lower classes. These groups could direct the funds to a low profit volunteer organization that dispenses and deals with the transactions. This would be an effective way to induce job creation on the local level and promote social development. • Though border enforcement technically only treats the symptoms of immigration, this does not mean that all border enforcement should be eliminated since the short-term effects of immigration still need to be controlled. What is needed is a consistent policy of deporting every illegal immigrant to his home country in order to reduce repeat immigration and ensure that each country is responsible for the care and safety of its citizens. Where possible an increase in immigration officials, coastal patrols, and efficient checkpoints will help the immigration/deportation process run more smoothly. In addition, the countries of Central America and Mexico would have to work together to create policies that augment each other rather than conflict. Ideally, each nation’s government and the United States would finance these costs since increased border security will work toward the reduction of illegal immigration all the way to the United States. • There must be severe penalties for immigrant smugglers and an increased cost of illegal immigration imposed by the countries from which the smugglers originate. It is essential that each country make the act of assisting in ille gal immigration unlawful and punishable with a stiff fine or incarceration. Courts must be willing and able to establish high penalties that will increase the “cost” of smuggling above the “benefits.” • Each state must create a government policy in which a certain percentage of the food produced in each country is set aside for local consumption. It is important, if for no other reason than the value of human life, that Central Americans have enough food to feed themselves before they export to feed Americans or Europeans. This process should go hand in hand with agricultural and land reforms and be overseen by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Plantations and cash crops must not be allowed to control these Central American countries and land not being used should be effectively redistributed. The argument of economic growth is highly overrated because in order for a country to achieve sustained development, its people must be fed. • It is vital that the majority of development and technological advancement that occurs in Central America and Mexico be appropriate to the economic, social, and political conditions in each country. There is no sense in promoting economic growth continually if the country has no base in economic development. Do not try to skip steps.. .it does not work in math and it will not work here. It is not enough to address the symptoms of international migration. Though politicians may feel that all they need to offer is short-term solutions to a long standing problem, the only way to achieve a genuine reduction in the number of illegal migrants that migrate through Central America and Mexico is to diminish the factors that push immigrants out of the country. The final solution must be focused on long term results and contain policies that address government and police corruption, underdevelopment, poverty, population growth, job creation via micro credit, the production of food for consumption, 1 —, appropriate technology and development, increased penalties for human smugglers, and more effective border enforcement. The only way to reduce the flow of migration is to be realistic —it is a long-term project and requires special attention and participants must be dedicated to long term solutions. WORKS CITED Alarcon, D. (1997). The Rising Contribution of Labor Income to Inequality in Mexico. 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