INK BLAST | SINCE YOU ASKED…HOW TO FIX THE PESKY U.S./MEXICO BORDER PROBLEM
By Juleyka Lantigua
Recently I was online filling out an application for a foreign affairs fellowship sponsored by a top government entity. After the usual who/what/where/when questionnaire, I was taken to a page with four essay-style questions.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I have not written essay-like answers to anything, beyond winding personal emails from my closest friends, since I applied for graduate school ten years ago. But being a professional writer, I was unfazed by the prospect of some thought-provoking and intellect-tickling inquiry.
That is, until I came upon a question that, to summarize, went something like this: What conditions in the U.S. and Mexico have caused the immigration problem between the two countries, and how would you fix it.
REALLY? You’re asking lil’ old me? Gosh, I’m flattered. Here goes nothing….
“This is a large and complex issue that will require many large and small actions on the part of both governments over a long period of time. But some of the larger and immediate contributing factors that must be addressed include:
–the lack of viable employment for poor people in Mexico; the lapses in compulsory education—standard, higher and vocational—that leave millions without the proper training to pursue meaningful and lasting work in Mexico;
–the poorly regulated underground economy in the U.S., which makes it possible for millions of workers to be absorbed into exploitive work in the service and farming industries;
–and the unwillingness of the U.S. to establish a real and organized guest-worker program which allows seasonal workers to anchor their lives in Mexico while working in the U.S.
My first recommendation would be for both countries to establish a comprehensive guest-worker program, which encourages Mexicans to live, invest and thrive in their home country while earning a living in the U.S.
I would recommend that the Mexican government do more to create opportunities for training in forward-looking industrial sectors like alternative fuels, technology and health fields.
I do not believe that there is only one answer to this issue, but that a joint multi-prong approach is the best place to start.”
Ufff! That was a long breath. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other massive-scale issues you’d like me to tackle in 300 words or less.
Juleyka Lantigua is a writer whose work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers around the country.
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