Stricter Enforcement along Border Effective - Or is it Wishful Thinking?

| Wed Mar. 21, 2007 5:12 PM EDT

exodus_265x164.gif "It's as if Mexico and the United States are at war," said one migrant who couldn't make it across for all the National Guardsmen stationed along the border. Border Patrol offices along popular pathways into the United States are reporting significant drops in the number of (failed) migrations, according to the Los Angeles Times. In addition to more patrols, new strategies include jailing everyone, even first timers, for up to 2 weeks. Writing for Mother Jones, Vince Beiser argued that the so-called border fence would be a fiasco. Charles Bowden also rejects worker permits and an open border.

The Border Patrol says with the increased punishments and patrols, apprehensions are down by as much as two-thirds. But Bowden, who has spent his life reporting on the border (and shares some of his sun-baked wisdom in his MoJo piece), writes, "On the line, all numbers are fictions. The exportation of human beings by Mexico now reaches, officially, a half million souls a year. Or double that. Or triple that."

Seasonal declines notwithstanding, one of two facts will have to change before migrants stop coming: There are no jobs in Mexico. There are jobs for Mexicans in the United States. Even the optimistic Times piece acknowledges that. It quotes Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, who says "The modes of entry do change. Location of entries change. But the basic dynamics of the process don't change, because the economic factors and family ties that drive the movement haven't changed."

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