US-Mexico Border: Better than a Wall Is Economic Development!

Beyond all the uproar around the project of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, U.S. President Donald Trump and his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador reached an agreement on Dec. 19, which offers in principle a much more effective and humane way to end the migrant crisis than building a border wall, by going for the causes.

The two Presidents agreed, according to the State Department, to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation “to foster development and increase investment in southern Mexico and in Central America to create a zone of prosperity. Both countries recognize the strong links between promoting development and economic growth in southern Mexico and the success of promoting prosperity, good governance, and security in Central America.”

President López Obrador called the agreement “a new, different way of dealing with the problem of migration, which addresses the causes. The day is going to come, very soon, in which people are not going to emigrate from Mexico — at least, that is my dream.”

Concretely, the U.S. commits to rougly doubling current planned investment into southern Mexico and the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, for a total of $10.5 billion dollars.

The new money is largely to come from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an institution of the U.S. government. What is now needed is to transform this initiative into the start of a giant regional infrastructure program, of the scale required to eradicate the brutal drug cartels and grinding poverty which are driving so many to flee the region.