Market-based visas would be transformational to Mexico, without question the most important piece of US-Mexico legislation since the passage of NAFTA almost twenty years ago.
As we have noted earlier, the vast cost of US immigration policy is suffered primarily by Mexicans in Mexico. Consequently, the end of the black market in migrant labor would disproportionately benefit Mexico.
Some of the benefits:
- An end to predation and victimization. An end to the humanitarian crisis.
Almost all the costs of current US immigration policy are incurred in Mexico. Over the next twenty five years, Mexico would be spared 10 million cases of predation and victimization, including 25,000 deaths, 3 million rapes, and half a million kidnappings.
- The right of Mexicans to work and travel to the US freely
Mexican citizens would almost certainly greet the right to enter the US at will with enormous relief and happiness. It would represent an end to the fears, risks and stresses of both trying to enter and remain in the US. Ten of thousands of Mexicans held in US jails could be released and families who have not seen each other for years in some cases, will be united. From the perspective of the Mexican voter, MBVs are likely to be appreciated as a collosal win for Mexico and its people, which should redound to the benefit and popularity of the Mexican government.
- An integrated immigration system with the US at little cost
The envisioned system would rely on cutting edge technology -- but technology available to all: the smartphone. This is a necessity to enable migrants on-demand access to the US market by purchasing visas online and similarly a necessity for employers to be able to verify job applicants real time. This approach will allow police, banks, hospitals and schools to definitely identify migrants even in the absence of supporting documentation. It is the system conservatives will demand.
By its nature, this system could be used in Mexico as well with minimal incremental cost.
- The closure of Mexico's southern border
The availability of market-based visas for Central Americans and access to a smartphone-based system would allow Mexico to effectively regain control over its southern border, just as it does in the US. With an integrated system, if a migrant were detained and entered in the system using a smartphone and an associated app in Mexico, that person could be disqualified from eligibility for a US visa. A smartphone based system gives the US and Mexico combined and leveraged border control.
- A large reduction in crime
Organized crime in Mexico is largely centered around the drug and human smuggling trade. With a market-based visa system, the human smuggling component would be effectively eliminated. Mexico saw a record 25,000 murders in 2017. With an MBV system, a drop of killings and other violent crime by perhaps a quarter would not be surprising.
Illegal immigration colors every other aspect of American's perception of Mexico and Mexicans. An MBV system would elevate migrants from criminals to customers, and with it, Mexico's standing and prestige. No other program could do a fraction as much.
- No Wall
Market-based immigration makes a wall unnecessary. If the US administration can be convinced to use an MBV system, the entire issue of a wall could be taken off the table, and replaced with advanced detection systems, perhaps jointly operated by Mexico and the US. This would represent a huge political win for the Mexican government.
- A constructive topic to discuss
Most mainstream economists view the deteriorating NAFTA negotiations between the US and Mexico with great concern. Mexico is not America's enemy, but our neighbor and partner not only for today, but forever. Mexico and the US both share a stake in each other's success. Market-based visas would offer an opportunity to enlarge negotiations beyond the subject from NAFTA to more fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
- Annual revenues of $1 billion to the Mexican government
As discussed earlier, a market-based visa system would ideally be paired with related bank accounts with remittance capability back to Mexico. Such a capability would require the cooperation the Mexican goverment. Remittances costs remain prohibitively high. Were a system agreed with the Mexican government which would lower these costs, a portion of the savings could be recouped by the Mexican government as tax revenues of approximately $1 bn annually.
For Mexico, a market-based visa system would be transformational in almost every respect.