Friday, July 11, 2014

Admitting Immigration Failure

Boz makes an excellent point here about the well-intentioned ad campaign to let would-be migrants in Central America and Mexico know that the journey is too dangerous to undertake. What it indicates is policy failure--that journey actually shouldn't be that dangerous.

I would take this a step further and note some specific ways that specific policies have failed:

--the Immigration Reform and Control Act had as an explicit goal the regularization of immigration, thus greatly reducing illegal border crossing.

--NAFTA was explicitly framed as something that would reduce migration. I don't recall off the top of my head whether the CAFTA debate was quite so emphatic in that regard but its logic is obviously similar.

--the War on Drugs (or whatever you want to call it) was explicitly intended to reduce drug-related violence.

--the Obama administration's response to the 2009 coup in Honduras was explicitly phrased as helping to bring democracy and stability to the country.

This doesn't mean all these policies (or elements of them) are bad or that there was a magic answer to the problem. But it does mean that collectively we need to figure out why they failed and how to improve them.


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