Mexico’s central bank claims that Mexico, in 2016, received more income from remittances that it did from oil production. Think about that for a minute. It generates more from Mexican nationals living abroad than it does from one of the world’s most valuable commodities! The figure is close to $30 billion. It is a safe bet that other Central American nations also rely on remittances from the U.S. as their primary source of income. About $60 billion a year, some data says the number is $70 million, flows from U.S. sources to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mexico and other Central American nations need to get serious about border security within their region, as well as fixing the primary reason people try to leave: poverty and lack of economic opportunities, as well as rampant corruption and crime, lack of rule of law, among many other indicators that make life tough in these countries. This latter issue is a more long-term issue (one that the U.S. companies can help with), but border security within Central America can start today.
If some of these governments fail to take concrete steps to secure their borders, who knows, maybe the U.S. can impose a very nominal fee on those remittance flows so that the U.S. taxpayer can defray the costs of securing the borders resulting from the failure of allies to do the same. There are many ways to pay for border wall.
Every option must be discussed. If we exact user fees or tolls to improve our road system or landing fees on airlines at airports across the nation to maintain runways, then we should consider imposing fees on remittances to defray costs of enforcing border security.
Mexico’s President said yesterday that his nation, demands respect. Respect is earned. Mexico needs to secure its northern border. Work with allies in Central America. Stop complaining. Stop blaming America. Get it done. Access to the U.S. market is a privilege, not a right.