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October 13, 2003

Tighter Borders- More Undocumented Stay

Here is the perversity of anti-immigrant policies in the United States-- tighter border patrols have not slowed immigration into the US, but it's made it so expensive to go home that more undocumented immigrants are staying permanently in the US.

[From Wall Street Journal] Illegal immigrants are still willing to risk crossing the border between the U.S. and Mexico, arriving at a rate of about 400,000 a year, by some estimates. But as the number of border-patrol agents has doubled since 1995, the price of an illegal crossing has roughly tripled to about $1,500 for a three-day trek across the Arizona desert. As a result, many immigrants have cut out much of the back-and-forth travel and decided to stay put in the U.S....

The California Public Policy Institute reports that only about 11% of the illegal immigrants who arrived in 1998 returned home within a year, down from roughly 30% in 1990...

As permanent populations of unauthorized laborers replace what was once a temporary, mostly male work force, the immigrants are often trapped by poverty. They are also transforming many U.S. communities that used to enjoy the benefits of cheap labor without the problems associated with entrenched communities of low-income workers and their families.

Stupid border controls have just helped accelerate the creation of a permanent exploited workforce, without labor rights and a disincentive to return to Mexico when no jobs are available.

Posted by Nathan at October 13, 2003 10:59 AM