Victor Leonel Juan Martínez
other of exiles. from her the next U. S. president. families, children without fa-beacon-hand glows world- A good start would be to rec- thers, communities socially
wide welcome…. Give me your ognize who these migrants ac- rent by distance, and the
tired, your poor, your huddled tually are. Last year a friend of gradual corrosion of a socio-masses yearning to breathe mine returned to Mexico after cultural network in many of
free.” Emma Lazarus’ famous living for 12 years as an undoc- those communities.
poem is engraved on the ped- umented worker in the United A new U.S. approach to these
estal on which the Statue of States. At the age of 29, he was migrants must take into ac-Liberty stands. The invita- already bitter. “I have given my count the value of the contrition implicit in those words is youth, the best years of my life, butions they have made to the
so compelling that every day to a country that is hostile to U.S. economy. A 2003 study
someone dies in the desert me.” For many like him, who conducted by the Thunder-near the U.S.-southern border, sought a better life, the per- bird School of Global Man-attempting to reach the United sonal cost of following their agement in Glendale, Arizona,
States. Thousands of Mexicans, dreams has been high. The vast estimated that Mexican im-Central Americans and others number of Mexican immigrants, migrants annually pay $356
from the larger region take the contrary to what many United million in taxes and cost the
same dangerous route every States critics believe, represents government $250 million in
year, no matter the risks, aban- a highly qualified and moti- services.
2 The U.S. Social Secu-doning their families, homes, vated labor force that would be rity Administration estimates
friends, and countries. a resource to any country. Some that 75 percent of undocu-
However, faith in the Prom- 45 percent have high school edu- mented immigrants pay taxes
ised Land soon turns to dis- cations, 38 percent have college and contribute to pension and
illusionment. Many of those degrees, and half are younger medical insurance services.
migrants face xenophobia, than 32 years of age.
1 That is to say, Mexican-Amer-racism and economic exploi- It is the young blood of Mex- icans pay a lot more in taxes
tation. But this does not have ico, in other words, that nur- than what they receive from
to be inevitable. We can ei- tures the U.S. economy. And U.S. public services.
ther allow Latin American they have paid deeply. Most In addition, immigrantś
immigrants to continue sink- leave wives, children and par- spending power surpassed
ing into the U.S. legal quag- ents behind. Stories of those $800 billion in 2007. The Uni-mire, or we can take measures who have missed their chil- versity of Georgia’s Selig Cento make freedom a reality dren’s best years, after ab- ter for Economic Growth at
for those who have sacrificed sences of five, 10 or 12 years, the Terry College of Business
much to get there. That will are fairly common. Such costs estimates that in 2011 Lati-require, first and foremost, a cannot be measured in statis- nos´ total purchasing power
new policy spearheaded by tics: they include fractured will reach $1.2 trillion, and the