I have contended for years that mass immigration is harmful to Mexico, and for several reasons.
See my recent memo entitled "How to Help Mexico—Close the Border"! and previous articles here and here.
Mass emigration from Mexico eliminates the incentives to carry out economic reforms in Mexico.
Today I discovered there is another person who agrees with me.
It's none other than Guillermo Ortiz, the highly-respected chairman of the Banco de Mexico(Mexican equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve).
On a visit to Dallas, Chairman Ortiz made some quite interesting comments, reported in the Dallas Morning News. [Mexican Bank Chief Talks Immigration by Dianne Solis ,Sept. 27th, 2006]
It's very informative , and touches on some of the same themes I have written about, so I quote the article at length :
Guillermo Ortiz, Mexico's central bank governor, admits he takes a contrarian view on immigration policy.
Unlike the current Mexican administration, Mr. Ortiz thinks tougher enforcement policies in the U.S. might help Mexico.
"I think Mexico needs its people," said the 58-year-old Stanford-educated economist, on Tuesday in Dallas. "It would be best to keep its people in Mexico, and it would give incentives for Mexico to create the jobs that are needed."
In remarks to the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Ortiz characterized his views as a "little contrarian" to those of President Vicente Fox, who has pushed for a guest worker plan with the U.S.
Instead, he says tougher enforcement measures, such as those being discussed in Congress, "would not be altogether bad. It would certainly be better over the long run."
Mr. Ortiz said the Mexican economy must become more flexible and more competitive in energy and telecommunications to facilitate growth and businesses. Higher economic growth rates would help absorb a growing number of workers who leave Mexico for work in the U.S.
But closing the gap between Mexican and U.S. wages—a key driver of migration—will take decades, Mr. Ortiz acknowledged. A recent Pew Hispanic Center survey in seven cities, including Dallas, found that most Mexican immigrants held jobs in Mexico before migrating to the U.S.
Remittances sent back to Mexico from immigrants, legal and illegal, have steadily increased. At the current pace, remittances may reach $25 billion this year.
Mr. Ortiz said their steady growth over the last few years reflected better tracking methods, not increased migration. Remittances are more important as a safety net for Mexico's poorer families than as a key lubricant to the economy, he added.
Mexico has the highest per-capita income rate in Latin America, according to the World Bank. Yet 48 percent of the population was living in poverty in 2004, according to the World Bank.
This year, the central banker expects the Mexican economy to grow at 4.6 percent to 4.7 percent. It grew about 3 percent in 2005.