Immigration Plans Need a Foreign Policy Component
by Stephen Johnson
WebMemo #948

December 19, 2005 | |

Congress and the White House are at odds over ways to reduce illegal immigration into the United States. This month, the House of Representatives approved a measure that would tighten security and extend a fence along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border. President Bush has proposed a guest worker program to regulate what he sees as an unstoppable flow of alien job seekers.

Largely ignored is the need for a foreign policy component. Latin America is the primary source of undocumented migrants entering the United States and, with few exceptions, the conditions that push people out are not getting better. Unless policymakers pay attention, efforts to secure borders and regulate temporary workers could be too little, too late.

To solve them, U.S. lawmakers sometimes find it easier to break big problems into manageable chunks. That’s why Republicans in the House of Representatives have for now proposed expanded controls to reduce flow at the borders and punitive measures against employers who hire undocumented workers.

Reducing the flow with technology and stronger law enforcement responds to the majority of citizens’ concernsâ€