A sensible approach to the Mexican border problem has to deal with two realities. First, Mexicans and other immigrants with few skills and low cognitive awareness levels are coming to this country illegally because they have no or very little economic opportunity at home. Second, illegal immigration poses an unacceptable risk of economic and cultural dislocation, as well as real security threats, to the United States. I have an approach that tackles both problems.
The key is to secure the present border at the Rio Grande and west to the Pacific. This means a highly secure fence or wall, patrolled and electronically monitored 24/7/365. This is well within our capabilities. That doesn't deal, however, with the fact that it is the economic opportunity available in the United States that is attracting undesirable immigrants.
I propose the creation of an economic and security zone in northern Mexico, extending from the present border with the United States to a line joining the Gulf of Mexico shoreline to Monterrey to Chihuahua to Hermosillo and then to the Gulf of California. All of Baja California would be included in the zone. Special security and identification measures would be in effect in the zone, so that all residents would be unequivocally identified and their status clearly established. The idea will be to establish within this zone the economic and legal framework which has been so successful in making the states of the United States prosperous and attractive. This would have to include clear and effective real property and commercial transactions regulations, as well as incorruptible law enforcement and political organizations. The United States will consult with Mexico as to the nature of these changes in the present failed and fragile social framework within this area. The only real difference between this zone and the states of the United States would be that social welfare provision would remain at the level that obtains in the rest of Mexico. It is to be anticipated that economic development in this zone would be rapid and healthy. All the economic migrants who pose security and cultural risks to the United States should be able to find the opportunity they seek for legitimate economic activity in this zone. It may even turn out that this zone will be a magnet for those migrants from around the world who cannot meet the standards that legal US immigration should require. Perhaps many Mexican citizens who have immigrated illegally or legally to the United States will find this zone just as economically attractive and more culturally and linguistically comfortable than the areas in the United States where they find themselves today.
Should it become impossible to establish this zone by agreement with Mexico, it will become necessary to impose, by whatever means may be required, a border control zone, a hundred miles wide, from the present border south into Mexico. Within this zone travel will be prohibited and all existing settlements will be removed. Such a drastic measure should not be necessary, however. If Mexican immigrants only want to come to the United States to work and prosper, they will have that opportunity within their own country. Perhaps when the rest of Mexico, and eventually the rest of Latin America, observe the results that can be achieved by a rational regime of laws and a government with integrity, they too will adopt the measures prevalent in the zone. Then the border zone will no longer be necessary and men of all cultures and ethnicities can be free and prosperous in their own countries.
Update: Just to show I'm not a complete nut, there's a good article by Tom Bethell at the American Spectator about Hernando DeSoto's theories as they apply to the third world, and specifically to Mexico:
Hernando de Soto's organization was invited to Mexico and did some work on the question. He says that only 6 percent of Mexican enterprises are legal, the rest are informal. If you want yours legalized, it will take you four years with no certainty in the outcome.
This is the kind of problem that could be addressed in the economic and security zone.