I'm making this post so that people know that, somewhere out there, there's a solution to a political problem that we face in the U.S. every day. I hope someone in power gets a chance to consider this--because I really feel like this could be an economically viable solution, and result in peaceful and long-lasting change.
I'm talking about Illegal Immigration.
Honestly, I don't care about Illegal Immigration either way--some are a boon and some are a tax to our society. I really just don't know enough to make a judgement call either way, and I'm not sure we, collectively, have the information needed to make a distinct decision that would be in the universal interest of everyone involved with this issue. We could argue about it for years and still probably never gain decisive and unbiased data.
One thing that I do know for sure--we should really revamp our foreign policy regarding Mexico. Studies have effectively demonstrated that the most lasting changes on foreign soil are those that were perpetuated and endorsed by the general population. Most people in Mexico agree that they need to do something about corruption in their government, and about general working conditions across the board, but feel powerless to do so. I gained this information from interviewing and talking with a number of my friends who were born in Mexico. If we looked beyond our own borders and discovered ways to empower the citizens of Mexico to peacefully bring about those changes, then the problems involved with illegal immigration would be greatly alleviated.
The first step would be "de-throning" Carlos Slim and breaking up his monopoly on the telecom industry in Mexico. He was granted that monopoly because he was friends with the President of Mexico, and has utilized it to become the wealthiest man in the world (yes, he has surpassed Bill Gates in net-worth). He overcharges for his services, and anyone who wants to use the internet south of Arizona (this includes nations south of Mexico), have to pay him a premium to do so.
The next would be helping them implement labor unions so that the individual worker can start standing up and saying that they will not work in life-threatening and continuously miserable conditions with absolutely no hope of ever getting a raise or an increase in benefits.
We have the economic power to enforce these changes in their government. We can--much to the temporary dismay of a vast majority of people--firewall off Mexico from doing any kind of e-commerce with the US until Carlos' monopoly is broken up into individual companies. The foreign pressure outside of the US alone would ensure that this is done swiftly. We can ban imports from Mexico (yes, this would hurt us a bit, but we're retooling our economy now anyway, so why not just add another item on the to-do list?) from any non-unionized company, or rather, any company that doesn't clearly demonstrate competent working conditions.
These are simple things for us that would cost the US a few hundred million to implement. I'd wager it'd be about as hiring 10,000 employees and funding anti-immigration projects for a year. In the end, items from Mexico cost a little bit more, but we pay for that when we choose to buy pens, and dice, and little plastic toys--rather than when we need medical care, or adequate facilities to educate our children.
I know it's a complicated issue--and I don't think it can be solved overnight, but I do know that if we make Mexico better for Mexicans, then the US will be a better place for all US Citizens. We can't lift our neighbors, without lifting ourselves.