We are having fits in the US about the illegals pouring into the country. We talk about walls, border patrols, detention centers, returning them to their country of origin.
Why don't we help fix their broken countries? Why can't we take the 10 BILLION dollars that Bush wants to give the Department of Homeland Security:
Washington, D.C. (AHN) - President Bush's Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget places American border security as a top priority. According to data from FY 2007, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection budget request for FY 2008 amounts to a 31.4 percent increase or $2.43 billion.
According to a release from the firm, CBP's FY 2008 budget reflects $8.79 billion in appropriated resources and $1.38 billion in funding acquired through user fees, for a total of $10.2 billion.
And the projected budget for the enormous wall along the border:
A 14.26-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana has already cost America $126.5 million dollars, or $8.9 million dollars per kilometer. Congress approved $1.2 billion in a separate homeland security spending bill to help fund the new fence, but it won’t cover much: the 700-mile fence is expected to cost $6 billion, even though it would still leave nearly 1,300 miles of border uncovered.
A Logistical Nightmare
In addition to its astronomical cost, there are countless other barriers to building a border wall. First, much of the Arizona fence would be on lands of the Tohono O'odham Nation, a Native American group that strongly opposes the idea in the first place. Second, nature’s in the way; the streams running north to south and the established wildlife migration routes know nothing about the U.S.-Mexico divide. Undoubtedly, they will be difficult to work around without causing damage. Add to this the fact that the Border Patrol does not have enough agents to stop smugglers from knocking holes in the wall’s remote stretches, and it starts looking like a very bad, very expensive plan. This, plus the negative effects of trapping millions of poor, young unemployed people in a country that doesn’t have jobs for them, and the pending nightmare of political instability enters the picture as well.
Why don't we put this money (being wasted in ugly, negative, and ultimately useless things such as walls and patrols) and put it into the native communities? Why not encourage the migrants to stay and work in their own land? They would have the things at hand which they lack and for which they leave their country. All that money would be assisting the poorer nation to better itself.
Further more, do micro-loans. Skip the governmental greed which will never share with the poor. Go directly to the women of the communities and give them small loans to start businesses. It works.
Instead of wasting billions on a half-hearted “solution” that will probably fail, why not put that investment into something that will work? Using the proven model of micro-loan programs, a job can be created in Mexico for a loan of as little as $1,000 U.S. dollars.
Imagine: the $6 billion America plans to spend on a fence could create as many as 6 million jobs in Mexico, virtually eliminating the need for Mexicans to come to the U.S. to seek employment. Loaned to individuals and small businesses, the money would be repaid and go right back into the pockets of Americans, not wasted on a wall.
Most importantly, such a wise investment would spur economic growth within Mexico, something both countries acknowledge is sorely needed.
Update: Excellent article about the intent and the reality of NAFTA (via Tengrain).