July 14, 2014
By Christopher Wilson and Eric L. Olson
The Hill, 7/14/14
The huge wave of families and unaccompanied children arriving in South Texas from Central America has ignited a debate on how to best dissuade the influx.
Many have proposed managing the problem at the border by beefing up the Border Patrol with more agents. Some have even called for the National Guard to be sent in as a stopgap measure. A case could be made for modest staffing increases to the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley, where the number of overall unauthorized migrant apprehensions has more than doubled since 2011, but it is important to note that adding more boots on the ground would do little or nothing to stem the flow of children across the border. The real solutions lie in addressing the push factors in the source countries.
January 3, 2014
By Duncan Wood and Christopher Wilson
FT Beyondbrics, 1/3/2014
We will look back on 2013 as a truly historic year for Mexico. The scale of the reform process that was undertaken and largely achieved by President Enrique Peña Nieto is astonishing by comparison not only with other countries around the world today, but also in the context of recent Mexican history. For 15 years Mexico had seemed condemned to endure one of the less palatable elements of democratic systems, legislative gridlock. However President Peña Nieto, through a combination of determination, hard bargaining and political skill, has managed to work with the congress to pass a series of major reforms that do much to put Mexico on the road to modernity and competitiveness.
January 2, 2014
By Christopher Wilson and Duncan Wood
With the North American Free Trade Agreement completing 20 years, it is a good moment to reflect and look toward the region’s future and its place in the world economy.
It is important to recognize that NAFTA was a first-generation free trade agreement, originally conceived in the 1980s, and for that reason it was very limited.
May 29, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson joined San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and others on ‘HuffPost Live’ to discuss cross-border cooperation.
Watch here: http://bit.ly/USMXborder
May 1, 2013
By Christopher Wilson, 5/1/2013
As President Obama heads to Mexico to meet with his counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, bilateral economic ties are deeper and more massive than ever. In fact, in 2012 the volume of bilateral trade grew to the point that our countries trade a million dollars in goods and services every minute.1 With almost 80 percent of all bilateral merchandise trade crossing the land border, making sure the border is both secure and efficient is more important than ever.
Unfortunately, long lineups to cross the border currently cost the economies of the United States and Mexico billions of dollars each year in lost economic growth and eat away at the competitiveness of manufacturers working in the region. To eliminate the border bottleneck, investments in border infrastructure and staffing are important and necessary, but they are not cheap. One tried and true solution, however, is especially cost effective.
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April 12, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English-language press had to say…
Last Friday, some 2,000 teachers protesting the education reforms proposed by the Peña Nieto administration blocked the highway between Mexico City and Acapulco for several hours. Federal policemen forced them off the roads, but future clashes are likely. Mexican officials announced homicide rates are down about 14% compared to the same period last year. Media outlets including the Los Angeles Times remained highly skeptical of such claims, and directed attention to the growing vigilante crisis affecting parts of the country, as well as the violence suffered by journalists covering organized crime.
Optimistic news pieces, however, continued to surface. Real Clear Politics referred to Mexico as a “stable, politically diverse neighbor.” American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies remarked that while “Brazil was everyone’s favorite two years ago, Mexico is now being hailed as a hot performer.” And in an article for The New York Times, Eduardo Porter argued Mexico’s austerity experience following the 1982 financial crisis holds lessons for struggling European nations today.
On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol and across the United States in support of immigration reform. A bipartisan bill led by eight senators – which Politico reports may be released next Tuesday – will define ‘border security’ as “100% awareness of when people cross the most trafficked sections of the Southwest border,” as well as the ability to stop 90% of unauthorized traffic. In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, the Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson argued that more attention should be placed on the “staffing, infrastructure and technology needs of ports of entry themselves” in order to secure the border and enhance America’s economic competitiveness. A conservative think-tank released a study arguing immigration reform would boost economic growth and reduce the federal deficit.
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April 12, 2013
By Christopher Wilson, The Dallas Morning News, 4/11/13
As the senatorial Gang of Eight finalizes its immigration reform bill, it has become clear that border security will be a key, if contentious, part of any viable immigration proposal. In fact, it remains one of the few sticking points with the potential to derail the whole reform process. Yet despite having so much riding on improving border security, there is no clear definition of the term.
Statistics about drug smuggling, aspiring terrorists and unauthorized immigrants are naturally difficult to collect. In the absence of clear metrics to guide our border strategy and funding, we have given ever more resources to the Border Patrol, which operates in the areas between official border crossings. Comparatively little attention has been paid to the staffing, infrastructure and technology needs of ports of entry themselves, both leaving them less secure and undermining America’s economic competitiveness in the process.