Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Tightening borders

Closing the Borders: on the effects of the post-9/11 immigration crackdown on Mexicans which have already been seen and those that may still be to come.

Until Sept. 11, the U.S. debate about migratory reforms centered on the impact of immigrants on the economy, particularly of unemployed and unschooled workers in the agricultural and service sectors that employ temporary immigrants whether documented or not. There was also discussion about the impact on the environment, among other issues, in addition to the airing of the traditional, recurring xenophobic arguments expressed by some individuals and sectors of U.S. society. After Sept. 11, the debate shifted to the need to control the borders as a measure of national security--and to ensure that fewer immigrants enter. Unfortunately, the trend toward a more open border between Mexico and the United States is going to reverse. Residents on both sides of the border could not have received a worse piece of news as a result of Sept. 11.

Today, the scrupulous inspection of goods on the Mexico-U.S. border has already caused losses in tourism and bilateral trade. Many Americans who make their living from Mexican consumers have watched their sales drop more than 60 percent and, in areas very near to Mexico, up to 90 percent. To temporarily solve this problem, representatives from different sectors on both sides of the border have agreed to begin a process to have the border declared an "emergency area"; to do that they solicited tax breaks and immediate loans from the governments of both Mexico and the United States.

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley