Try, try again.
According to a new study based on more than 1,300 detailed interviews with migrants and their families in Mexico:
tightened border enforcement since 1993 has not stopped nor even discouraged unauthorized migrants from entering the United States. Even if apprehended, the vast majority (92-97%) keep trying until they succeed.That 92-97% figure really stuck out at me. Taxpayers can never spend enough money to outwit that level of persistence - we're throwing tax dollars down the toilet to try, especially given that America needs the labor.
Even worse, boosted enforcement has enriched organized crime, says the study. Counterintuitively, it's also encouraged once-migrant workers to stay here permanently (for fear they can't get back in). From the report:
Neither the higher probability of being apprehended by the Border Patrol, nor the sharply increased danger of clandestine entry through deserts and mountainous terrain, has discouraged potential migrants from leaving home. To evade apprehension by the Border Patrol and to reduce the risks posed by natural hazards, migrants have turned increasingly to people-smugglers (coyotes), which in turn has enabled smugglers to charge more for their services. With clandestine border crossing an increasingly expensive and risky business, U.S. border enforcement policy has unintentionally encouraged undocumented migrants to remain in the U.S. for longer periods and settle permanently in this country in much larger numbers.That really puts a different spin on the effects of a border crackdown, doesn't it? US policies discourage Mexicans here illegally who want to go home from doing so, while making millionaires of coyote thugs engaged in organized crime. As that annoying Guinness commercial says, "Brilliant!"
Expanding immigration quotas to match US labor needs would stop most of the bad consequences of Mexican immigration and put the coyotes out of busniness. If we gave most of these immigrants legal paths to entry, no question they'd do it in a heartbeat. I still don't really understand why we don't. Via Benders.