NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 9, 2006

When U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderón meet on November 9, the U.S.-Mexico border will be at the top of their agenda.  Their first priority should be shared initiatives that make border communities more safe, secure and prosperous.  This will require substantially reducing the illegal border crossing that fuels criminal activity on both sides, say Stephen Johnson and James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation.

For starters, the two leaders must craft an effective strategy to disrupt existing undocumented migrant pipelines and make legal migration a viable alternative.  A successful disruption plan should have three components, say Johnson and Carafano.

First is security and enforcement:

  • Mexico should establish floating security checkpoints on its southern border and along known migrant byways, such as the railroads that run from Chiapas to Texas.
  • The United States should ensure rapid, robust border patrol deployment and consistent enforcement along its southwest border.
  • To make legal migration attractive and aid enforcement, employer certification procedures, Social Security and Medicare tax filing, and the visa application process should be simplified and streamlined.

Second, Bush and Calderón must find ways to help border states and municipalities develop their own solutions to protect the frontier while facilitating legal commerce:

  • Platforms already exist for this, from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank to the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission Working Group on Homeland Security and Border Cooperation.
  • Today, the North American Bank is underfinanced, and decisions in Mexico are slowed by the need to deal with its centralized bureaucracy.

Third, they must discuss Mexico's responsibility to foster a more competitive economy and boost employment, say Johnson and Carafano.

Source: Stephen Johnson and James Jay Carafano, "A Border Security Strategy for Bush and Calderón: Improve Cooperation Between the U.S. and Mexico," Heritage Foundation, WebMemo #1252, November 8, 2006.


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