7.18.2007

Lift Latin American poor to stop desperate border crossings

Leading Latino conservative Herman Badillo writes (Immigration Overhaul, NYSun - 7.18.07) that it's a shame that immigration reform went down the tubes, but that the proposed bill would've been ineffective anyway.

Why?

Because, he says, the bill ignored the propellant for immigration and desperate border crossings in the first place: the dire economic circumstances of so many South of the border.

While it disappoints me that Badillo, in his quest to prescribe solutions to some of the problems besetting the Latino community, joined ranks with some of the very people that helped kill immigration reform in the first place, I give him credit for focusing attention on the political/economic circumstances in Latin America.

Badillo offers that any of us would jump at the chance to cross national borders if doing so meant living in the relative wealth of American poverty versus the hellish poverty of the Latin America poor. He's right.

Badillo believes that what Mexico and most of Latin America need is an economic overhaul. Here, here! He suggests a package of technical assistance, improved educational opportunities and financing--a sort of Marshall Plan for South of the Border that leverages the assets of international development agencies.

Badillo also calls for institutional reforms including steps to remove the systemic corruption that exists in many Latin American regimes. Although he fails to mention America's historic and continuing support of often brutal, corrupt and elitist regimes.

While Badillo's proposals are worthy of serious consideration, my question is, Where is the American will, vision and leadership to come from given the anti-Latino/immigrant hysteria of the times?