Tuesday, May 29, 2012

U.S., Mexico in talks to deport criminal immigrants deep into Mexico to cut down on repeat crossings

The United States and Mexico are negotiating plans to start deporting criminal illegal immigrants deep into Mexico rather than releasing them at the border, hoping to stop adding to the criminal chaos south of the border.

Some possible outcomes are fewer repeat illegal border crossings and fewer deportation flights originating from the United States, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Last fiscal year, the government spent $120.9 million deporting 182,655 people by plane.

On one recent flight from Atlanta, most of those onboard had criminal records. They were being flown to Harlingen, where they would be bused to the border. Several of those interviewed said they were upset about leaving their U.S.-born children and frightened of returning to Mexico amid the gruesome drug gang violence there.

The government is flying most Mexican illegal immigrants to Arizona and Texas and releasing them at Mexican ports of entry along the border.

The deliberations between the two nations jibe with the Obama administration's emphasis on deporting criminal illegal immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano advanced the talks with Mexico officials in February when she signed a memorandum of cooperation with them.

ICE officials said the plan calls for year-round flights from U.S. border states into Mexico.

Two experts on Mexican immigration and U.S.-Mexican relations sharply criticized the government's latest plan for what they called "deep repatriation."

"It is politically attractive to do this kind of stuff," said Wayne Cornelius, director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. "But it is essentially a waste of taxpayer money, if the objective is to keep deportees back in their places of origin."

Steven Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based group that advocates for tighter immigration controls, said such a plan could help curb illegal immigration in the United States -- but only as part of a broader crackdown that would include blocking illegal immigrants from getting jobs and public benefits in the U.S.

On the flight from Atlanta to Harlingen were roughly 100 shackled deportees who came from an ICE detention center 145 miles south of Atlanta.

Most of them had committed crimes, from minor traffic offenses to violence. Some had been deported before.


Free markets require increased LEGAL immigration

When Mitt Romney’s campaign says it is “still deciding what his position on immigration is,” it goes without saying the political debates inside his campaign are intense. What should not be contentious, however, is the commitment for increasing legal immigration by anyone supporting free-market principles.

The current immigration system is the antithesis of a free-market economy and resembles nothing so much as a Soviet-style economic central planning bureau.

The government fixes quotas and subquotas on the number of immigrants by skill, country of origin, employer and even where they can live. Arbitrary rules, inspections and other requirements make the system virtually unworkable for all but the most committed of employers, with the result that American companies are prevented from finding the talent they want.

Alex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.
More by Alex Nowrasteh

Soviet bureaucrats thought they knew everything about the labor market, including the number of workers, their skill level and even where they should live. Their efforts failed, and so has our immigration system.

American workers, not just American employees, are hurt in the process. Foreign workers typically have different skills and experiences than Americans, which means there is little competition between them. Employing more foreign doctors and farmworkers increases the demand for American nurses and pesticide producers, creating jobs and expanding the economy. And these come with the benefits of increased choice and lowered prices for goods and services for the average American consumer.

Our immigration regulations are not just arbitrary, complex and expensive, but are based on an entirely false premise that there is a fixed pool of jobs over which people must compete. Jobs are constantly being created and destroyed in a healthy economy. And immigrants create many of them.

Immigrants are typically more entrepreneurial than native-born Americans. At the high end of the skills spectrum, more than half of all Silicon Valley startups in recent years have been founded by immigrants, many of whom were in the U.S. for more than a decade before becoming entrepreneurs. Lower-skilled immigrants, primarily from Latin America, are contributing to an immigrant business-creation rate more than twice that of native-born Americans. This penchant for business creation seems to pass down the generations.

The Great Recession has forced many immigrants into being entrepreneurs because of the tough economy. Even during good economic times, however, immigrants are at least 25 percent more likely to start a business than native-born Americans. Business creation from any source increases economic growth and employment opportunities for all.

In a free market, firms and workers should be free to negotiate and work together - regardless of nationality. The labor market is the largest market in the U.S., and increasing legal immigration will allow people to move to our relatively capitalist economy, where they are most productive, increasing economic growth in the process.

Legalizing peaceful unauthorized immigrants will give them an incentive to more quickly learn English, increase their incomes and become Americans. The same pattern was observed in the aftermath of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, when around 3 million unauthorized immigrants were legalized. Deportation or living in the shadows permanently is not a just punishment for breaking our Soviet-style immigration regulations.

Immigrants are less likely to abuse the welfare state than similarly skilled Americans, even when they are eligible. To the extent that abuse of the welfare state is a concern for anyone espousing free-market principles, they should follow the advice of the Cato Institute’s late chairman emeritus and economist, William Niskanen, who said, “Build a wall around the welfare state, not around the country.” Welfare ineligibility is a far better and cheaper solution than closing the border further. The welfare state and the perverse incentives it creates are the problem, not immigrants.

Mr. Romney has told us that free markets produce more wealth and prosperity for the greatest number of people than other systems. A true free market in labor, accessible to immigrants without the burdens of dealing with our near Soviet-style immigration regulations, will reap enormous gains for Americans and immigrants, and propel us out of the Great Recession.


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