American Renaissance

Illegal Influx from Mexico Soars to Meet Labor Needs

Houston Chronicle, Apr. 28

WASHINGTON — The number of undocumented Mexican immigrants entering the United States has increased dramatically over the past decade and will continue to increase because of U.S. labor demands, according to a study released Tuesday to Congress.

The study and report, “Managing Mexican Immigration to the United States,” calls economic development in Mexico and a U.S. guest-worker program important measures to curb the flow of undocumented immigrants.

“What we have been doing has not been working,” said Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., a member of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Council, which conducted the study and released the report.

The study found that undocumented immigration from Mexico increased from 65,000 annually in the 1980s to more than 440,000 per year during the 1990s economic boom.

At a news conference, Kolbe compared attempts to stanch illegal immigration through legislation and stepped up law enforcement to “spitting in the wind.”

The study, sponsored by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, found economic opportunity as the motivation for most of the 5.3 million Mexican nationals estimated to be in the United States illegally.

Mexican immigrants make up more than half of the 9.2 million foreigners believed to be in the United States without documentation, the study found.

In the case of Mexican migration, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a member of the binational council and a former drug czar in the Clinton administration, said the problem lies 95 percent with U.S. employers and 5 percent with law enforcement.

“You can’t solve the immigration problem with fences and police,” said McCaffrey, who suggested that Congress and the Bush administration “de-link” terrorism and immigration to solve separate problems.

McCaffrey said the economic motivations must be addressed if the United States and Mexico want to reduce the flow of migrants.

But John Bailey, a Georgetown University professor, said immigration and security issues could not be separated in the political climate after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.