Lee, Garcia noted in Financial Times' story about borders
Jan. 5, 2013
A Financial Times recent article and photo essay focused on border security and relations in Europe and around the world. Erik Lee, associate director at the North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University and a member of the Morrison Institute Latino Advisory Board, and Joseph Garcia, director of the Morrison Institute Latino Public Policy Center, discussed the U.S.-Mexico border and fence with news reporter Simon Kuper:
The proposed fence across the border, begun in the years after the 9/11 attacks, ended up covering only about 600 of the 2,000 frontier miles. Then it was quietly abandoned as expensive, ineffective and silly. This is the most-crossed frontier on earth. Mexican-US trade hit $500bn last year, up fivefold since the North American Free Trade Agreement took force in 1994, notes Erik Lee, a border expert at Arizona State University. Yes, many poor Mexicans die while secretly crossing the desert at night. Yes, Arizona’s then state senator Russell Pearce pushed through the infamous law requiring police officers to check the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants. However, even hardline US immigrant-hunters tend to want cheap Mexican labour to build their house, or crave a weekend’s hedonism in Tijuana. As with most borders, people on either side need each other.Nogales International: Border trade message gains traction
Lee’s colleague Joseph Garcia says American politics are now tending towards a more open border. Pearce lost office in 2011. The Republican party, chastened by last November’s election, has begun flirting with Latinos. Meanwhile, Barack Obama wants increased cross-border trade. Politicians may still talk macho about the Mexican frontier, but as we saw in Europe, the sturdiest borders can suddenly evaporate.