Easing Immigration Tensions Via Economic Growth
Jude Wanniski
June 12, 1997

 

Letters Editor
National Review
215 Lexington Ave
New York, N.Y. 10016

National Review is fighting a losing battle in trying to drum up support for a major curtailment to immigration through direct legislation (June 16 issue). The problem can only be solved indirectly, by exporting economic growth to countries that are disgorging their populations because of poverty and hopelessness.

We are now flooded with immigrants from Mexico because of the 1994 peso devaluation, which wiped out half the value of peso assets of ordinary Mexicans, including wages and pensions, so that a handful of insiders in Mexico City and Wall Street could make a killing. The complicity of our Treasury Department and the thugs at the International Monetary Fund greased the wheels for this financial scandal and predictable exodus of impoverished Mexicans.

The same is true throughout the world. People who have even minimal hopes of improving their lives in the poorest countries of the world prefer to stay where they are, with their families, neighbors and cultures. What causes them to uproot themselves is the poison we send their governments in the form of foreign aid tied to economic conditionalities.

In the last week, we have seen the Marshall Plan celebrated as the savior of postwar Europe, when in fact it probably hurt more than it helped. The countries that received most of the $13 billion we sent abroad had the slowest recoveries England in particular. The alleged success of the Marshall Plan spurred our government, cheered on by our biggest banks and multinational corporations, to coax $1 trillion from our taxpayers to spread around the world.

Just as American families when given everything they need by Uncle Sam stop working, so do countries who are the recipients of our welfare handouts. The IMF economists see to it that the recipients of foreign aid keep tax rates confiscatory and money devalued. The miserable citizens we are supposedly helping have no choice but to get here by any means possible. NR should take the lead in arguing they should compete with us from where they are and we will help keep the IMF off their backs.

Jude Wanniski