A tiny explanation of what is going on at the Mexican border

I am going to explain in very few words what is happening at the Mexican border and the context. I have followed immigration for over a decade.

Immediate situation: The number of people trying to cross the border illegally has risen, but not to the highest levels experienced. ICE and other U.S. agencies are bureaucracies which cannot be expected to manage efficiently, consistently, or effectively major surges. Immigration and border enforcement are subject to complicated laws and staffing levels. A pattern of surges has been in place for 30 plus years. I doubt that surges are mainly driven by U.S. policies at the time.

An example of the unreality of the political pronouncements is that much is made of the migrants with COVID, but 15 million people cross the border legally each month and are never tested.

The context: Both right and left are more interested in arousing their constituencies than in longer term solutions. Most activists of both sides feel better off without a long-term solution. Yet, both Dems and Reps in Congress have proposed long term solutions which include legalization of substantially all unauthorized persons in the U.S. I have discussed this here. Among the relative handful of politicians who follow immigration closely, I think there is a lot of agreement about where immigration should be heading.

For 100 years + a transnational economy has existed involving Hispanic workers. This reality has never been addressed by legislation, including NAFTA. The economic and social incentives for Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate to the U.S., perhaps just for labor and not settlement, are and will be very high. I do not believe that the U.S. can successfully improve social/economic conditions there. This is the largest transnational labor market among advanced nations in the world.

Your Congress person is likely unable to articulate a coherent vision of comprehensive reform. We are a nation of immigrants. For us not to discuss immigration coherently is like Microsoft executives not to discuss the future of information technology.

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