Enchilada Lite: A Post-9/11 Mexican Migration Agreement

March 1, 2002

After September 11, immigration, like many areas of public life, has to be viewed through a security lens. That means transforming Mexican migration from the chaotic, dangerous, habitual, and illegal to the regulated, safe, selective, and legal.

Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, has indicated that he regards our disorderly southern border as our most challenging. The answer is not to “close down” that border, were that even possible, and thus to junk NAFTA and tip the American southwest and Mexico into economic crisis. Together with Mexico we should fashion a “smart border” with pre-clearance for goods, fast lanes for frequent travelers, and modern detection devices. But in addition, Mexico must accept shared responsibility for controlling our common border. Though the war on terrorism sidelined work on a Mexican migration accord, a migration accord with teeth could actually shore up our security.

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