The longest border in the world between a first world class and a third world country is the border between the United States of America and Mexico. The border goes for 1933 miles cutting through four American states and six Mexican states. The border features sharp differences in practically everything from language of communication, culture to political systems.
Mexico is the origin of illegal aliens and drug traffickers smuggled through the border to the United States. But although Mexico can be described to be unsafe, the United States of America also derives some benefits from the country and thus closing the border would lead to more losses than managing the evils associated with the border. The derived benefits make me argue against closing the border due to the following reasons:
When countries enter into international trade agreements, they promise to reduce or remove barriers which discourage free movement of goods and services. Under the General Agreement on Trade and Tarriffs (GATT) principles, what is done to one of the member state should apply to other member states. If United States decides to close the borders with Mexico the same case should apply to other countries which borders America like Canada and this would be a costly mistake to make.
The closure of the border would also violate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was affected on January 1994 with its main aim being to promote trade among the three countries USA, Mexico, and Canada. The organization expanded trade among the countries and its other aim was to eliminate barriers thus enabling member states access domestic goods of other (Haralambides & Londono-Kent 171).
Though Mexico is often characterized with negative sentiments, it is an important trade partner with a population of over 100 million people; with Mexico City alone being more populous than Canada with above 25 million citizens. With 50% of Mexican population being below 25 years of age, the market prospects for the country are very high to risk closing the border which would close these markets (Haralambides & Londono-Kent 173).
Some people argue that the borders should be closed until Mexico solves its domestic issues but the border problems are not associated with Mexico alone.
Trade, legal and illegal U.S arms trade, money laundering and other types of trade are major influence on the health and well being of Mexican communities at the border though the above activities are viewed by most of the US citizens as originating from Mexico. In closing the border America will be harming its own interests and risk losing its appealing look as the country of promise and hope.
Rather than closing the borders, the two countries should engage in a non rivalry relationship that would seek to improve the relations at the border. The two governments should design policies that try to make the border a better place for the two countries and in designing these policies they must prioritize on national goals (Anonymous 3).
The continued opening of the American border will also ensure there is cheap labor supply as with the Mexican population most of its citizens are unemployed or half employed. In this case both countries would benefit with America offering job opportunities to the Mexicans and the Mexicans providing cheap labor thus increasing its economies of scale as it has been happening in the “maquiladora” program (Simcox 1).
The program enables a company to participate in foreign investment of up to 100% with no specialization. Allows duty free import of machines and other equipments through the Mexican border subject to posting a bond which guarantees the goods will not remain there permanently. This has enabled American industries to shift their industries to these regions where there is cheap labor without having to incur high medical costs for the workers.
The closure of the Mexican- American border would be a nice strategy if safety of the Americans was all that was to be considered. But comparing to other benefits which would be lost if the border was closed, it is better for the two governments to devise strategies which will keep the borders safe for everyone and promote a favorable environment.
Anonymous. “Developing the U.S.–Mexico Border Region for a Prosperous and Secure Relationship.” Published by James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University. 2009.
Haralambides, E. Hercules and Londono-Kent P. Maria. Supply chain bottlenecks:
Border crossing inefficiencies between Mexico and the United States. International Journal of Transport Economics Vol. XXXI· No 2· June 2004.
Simcox, David. “Immigration and Free Trade with Mexico: Protecting American Workers against Double Jeopardy.” Center for immigration studies. 1991.