Monday, July 4

The root of the immigration problem

I was looking through the Human Rights reports from the State Department for El Salvador, and found this to be very insightful. Here is the root of the immigration problem in this country.
The country has a market-based economy focused on services and light manufacturing, while simultaneously opening its markets. The country's population is over 6.9 million. Remittances from abroad are the largest single source of foreign income, equivalent to approximately 15 percent of GDP, and they continue to grow in value. (emphasis added) Agriculture remained the largest source of employment. Coffee and sugar are the principal export crops. The rate of real economic growth changed little during the year and was estimated at 1.8 percent, with inflation at 5.4 percent. According to the Ministry of Economy's statistics and census office, in 2003 approximately 36.1 percent of the population lived below the poverty level, compared with 38.8 percent in 2002.
Poverty, corruption, and out-of-control gang violence in Central American countries force people with no hope to seek out hope in the US. I find that a lot of illegal immigrants would rather be able to stay home, make an honest living, and care for their families. But, for the most part, they come to the end of the road, and coming to the US to find work is their last option.

As long as these Latin American countries do not institute political and economic reform, their countries will stay where they are. Of course, they don't have a motivation to do so. 15% percent of their GDP--that's a huge amount. Political reform needs to come in regards to eradicating corruption. Political corruption, besides it's weakening effect on the freedom and proper government, also weakness enterprise. There is much to many unethical conflicts of interest with government sanctioned monopolies. Economically, these governments need to create a healthy competing environment where these hard working people can do what they do best, and earn a healthy income for their families.

Until then, there will be plenty of business for the border crossing "Coyotes" who help smuggle them into the US. While these Coyotes are still in business, we are in danger of their other clients--Islamic terrorists.

UPDATE:

Brought this story back to the top in light of the passing of CAFTA. It offers a light of hope for a change in Latin American economies.