It is important that America remain a country that welcomes immigrants from many countries. Legal immigrants perform vital jobs and create a more robust economy and nation.
But for our nation's well-being and survival, we must have enforceable borders. The United States cannot possibly accommodate everyone from around the world who wants to come here while providing a social safety net for our citizens and protecting them from harm. The cost of untrammeled immigration is unsustainable.
Unfortunately, those we have sent to Washington have done a poor job of closing the border and working with fellow officials on comprehensive immigration reform, which would help those who have been here for years to become citizens and escape from the shadows.
The absence of such cooperation led President Trump to declare an emergency this year and shift $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build portions of a wall that Congress would not fund. The Supreme Court ruled on July 25 that a chief executive has such authority.
The president has also prodded the Mexican government to halt "caravans" that originate from Central and South America.
Mexicans themselves are not fond of the caravans. A survey conducted by the Washington Post and Mexico's Reforma last month found "more than 6 in 10 Mexicans say migrants are a burden on their country because they take jobs and benefits that should belong to Mexicans." At the same time, 55 percent of respondents supported deporting migrants who travel through Mexico in hopes of reaching the U.S.
And the Mexican government has started to do something about that, prodded in part by the president's threat to impose tariffs if they did not.
According to a July 30 Associated Press story, the number of Central American migrants heading for the U.S. border has decreased. Marcelo Ebrard, who serves as Mexico's foreign relations secretary, said the number of migrants dropped from 144,278 in May to 87,648 in July.
"People shouldn't think that at all points along the border we are going to receive more migrants every day," Ebrard said. "In Tijuana there has been a very, very, very big drop. In Yuma, on our side in Sonora, in Ciudad Juarez, there has been a significant decrease."
Unfortunately, the corruption that permeates Mexican government has affected its immigration enforcement.
Mexico's National Immigration Institute head Francisco Garduno told AP that roughly 10% of his agency's 4,500 officers "were under investigation for corruption or other abuses." This includes extortion and migrant smuggling.
Still, it is encouraging that Mexico is helping curb the illegal migrant caravans attempting to cross the U.S. border. The suffering surrounding such crossings is enormous, with many women and children brutally violated and abused along the way.
In the face of this chaos, we hope Mexico and the United States can continue to work together to reduce human suffering and thwart illegal immigration.
This editorial originally appeared in the Providence Journal
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD
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