Occasionally I get the if I were king question. I usually reply that my first step would be to resign the position. This is a bit of a cop-out. I have given thought to the condition of the Mexican border and have a proposal.
The border cannot be viewed in a microcosm, so whatever is done must be viewed in the context of the world at large. You cannot seal our Southern border without addressing the pressures that cause the migration in the first place. Migrants and the money they send home are like pressure release valves, keeping Mexico out of a total state of chaos and civil war. The root cause of Mexican migration to the United States is poverty and a radical difference in wealth between our nations.
NAFTA was implemented to address this issue, but trade between our nations is anything but free, reserved only for major corporate entities and denied to the rest.
Here’s a cliff notes version of what I think could and should be done:
First, we should close military bases and bring our troops home from around the world and use them to strengthen border security. We don’t need a fence to do this. This means the entire border, including all sea ports. Everything coming in or out of our nation needs to be checked.
Second, create a ten mile free trade zone on both sides of the Mexican border with manned checkpoints at both sides. Allow Mexican and American citizens (not just big companies—any legal citizen) to sell and exchange wares in this zone duty free, and allow the products exchanged to be imported through the checkpoints into both countries.
Vet the hell out of any and everyone entering this free trade zone with a bi-national police force, using the latest and best equipment and intelligence possessed by both countries. This then becomes a buffer zone, providing security for both nations.
Stop illegal immigration, but provide legal opportunities for temporary workers seeking employment and business opportunities (going both ways).
We need them; they need us.
You didn’t really want to make me king after all, did you?
PS. After feedback from a trusted friend I thought I should add a note or two. I would not place soldiers as soldiers on the border, but instead train police and border agents from among their ranks.
And drug legalization need be part of the plan if it is to work.
A pipe dream, given the current state of affairs...