Monday, July 02, 2018

A fairly detailed writeup on cost of entering the US illegally from Latin America

This article in the NYT tells a very compelling personal story of an illegal immigrant and the costs associated with the journey. It costs something like $10K to go from El Salvador to Houston illegally.  

It is staggering when you normalize the cost of the journey with the per-capita income (it is basically several years wages) and the ROI is minimal given how little the average illegal is paid in the US (roughly a third of what a legal worker/citizen is paid). 

If one were to take this amount as a personal loan, it would take several decades to pay off the interest alone. These people are basically slaves. They cannot afford to pay back the cost of the trip unless they work in the US and make enough money to pay off the debt. The likelihood of that happening are extremely slim. 

This is just bad debt. And if the pressure on the immigration pathways is increased - then it will only increase the amount of bad debt in the system. 

Unfortunately given the mess left behind in South and Central America by all the failed drug wars, there does not appear to be a way to stem the flow of immigration all together. 

The criminal syndicates left behind in South and Central America control a vast portion of the US bound drug trade. They are persistent and they thrive off dramatically reducing the standard of living in these places. With no end to US drug consumption in sight, the Cartels will remain powerful for the foreseeable future. And with that there will be no end to the flow of immigrants from their nations as people do whatever is possible to get away from the Cartels. 

I feel any attempt to destabilize the flow of immigration from these countries will only increase the power of the Cartels in those nations. 

There is only one scenario where the flow of immigration has ebbed, and that was the 2008 economic collapse. The supply of illegal construction labor from Mexico had risen to keep up with the construction boom but as the real estate section in the US collapsed, the flow ebbed. It is also notable that the cost of illegal immigration in this fashion rose about 10x in President Obama's time - earning him the "Deporter-in-Chief" title. I am guessing but that is a fact that most Trumpers don't want to face up to. 

A collapse of Agriculture in the US would produce a similar effect, however it would also be accompanied by a famine in the US which would leave a hundred million or so Americans dead (famines usually kill the children and the elderly). 

It is unclear if the proponents of anti-immigration agendas are aware of the link between cheap food and  illegal immigrant labor. 

And since stupid is as stupid does - one can expect no surprises on this front. 


Post a Comment

<< Home