Mexico needs emigrants

They can be seen planting fields in the spring, washing dishes in American restaurants, cleaning the homes of Americans and clocking in numerous hours on the assembly line. Illegal immigrants from Mexico pay smugglers upwards of $1,000 to get into the United States where they will work for less than minimum wage and live with the constant fear of being deported. Recently, due to talks between President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox, the immigrants’ presence and future in America has become one of the most pressing issues in U.S. foreign policy.

Currently, an estimated 3.5 million Mexican workers in the United States send approximately $9.3 billion to their families in Mexico each year. Most Mexican workers plan to stay for just a short time-just long enough to pay back the smuggling fee, pay back bills in Mexico and put some money away. However, many who find success in the United States stay in order to provide relatives in Mexico with the money necessary to afford a comfortable lifestyle, ultimately helping many Mexicans escape poverty. It is no wonder Fox calls the workers “national heroes.”

But Americans are not always as cheery about the illegal workers. The $9.3 billion dollars leaving U.S. borders untaxed doesn’t help an already slowing economy. Now Bush and Fox want to cut a deal legalizing current aliens or extending their work passes. The notion makes sense, but Mexican workers in the United States would still send money across the border instead of staying home and earning at least the minimum wage in Mexico. Although the United States would benefit by collecting the income tax from the immigrants, it is still not the best solution for both countries.

Legalizing the current aliens would prove beneficial to both nations immediately, but any clause that would make future immigration easier would be detrimental to both. Often times the hardest working and most motivated individuals leave Mexico in pursuit of a better life. To improve Fox’s own struggling nation, he needs these workers to help develop a strong and qualified work force that is essential for building a successful country. At the same time, America needs to keep its taxable income inside its borders. Also, Fox must work to improve working and living conditions in Mexico so that it is possible for Mexican citizens to provide for their families without leaving the country. For Mexico and the United States to each revive their respective economies, Presidents Fox and Bush must find a viable long-term solution that will also help Mexicans in search of practical financial opportunities.