Immigration reform is certainly a popular topic of debate. It always has been and probably always will be. Currently, the immigration reform bill, known as S. 744, and some of its key points are being tossed back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. However, it's crucial to understand what else is at stake when decisions like this cannot be reached.
One important consideration is that of the economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. As reported by the Immigration Policy Center, our neighbor to the south is our third largest trading partner, behind Canada and China. This is in terms of total trade in goods. Meanwhile, the U.S. is Mexico's largest partner in trade.
This data makes it clear that maintaining ties with Mexico is not just important, it's a must. When you think about the border between the U.S. and Mexico as a thriving economic locale, it is pretty offensive when lawmakers, politicians, or anyone else refer to it as an area that needs a fence in order to keep the two countries and their citizens separate. It's ridiculous to insinuate that we can be kept apart. We are neighbors and have relied on each other for trade and other economic ventures for decades.
Immigration reform is not only needed, it is welcomed. It is, in fact, a way to strengthen our bond with Mexico and potentially increase economic growth and enhance opportunities for both U.S. and Mexican citizens. In order to help make my point, I have included some facts from the Immigration Policy Center website.
- In the year 2011, the U.S. had a total trade in goods of $460.6 billion. In 2012, the total amount grew to $494 billion. This amount was beat out only by Canada and China.
- In total, trade in goods and services between Mexico and the U.S. totaled in excess of $500 billion in 2011.In 2012, the number increased to $535.9 billion. It is estimated that six million American jobs depend on U.S. trade with Mexico.
- In 2012, Mexico was America's second largest goods export market, with a total of $216.3 billion in goods exported to Mexico that year. This was a 9.1% increase in goods exported from the U.S. to Mexico and a 121.9% increase from 2002.
In addition to traditional goods and services, tourism is another crucial export for the U.S. and Mexico. U.S. citizens love to travel. In fact, it consistently outranks exports of agricultural goods and motor vehicles. Tourism accounted for 25% of all service exports in 2011. Most people realize that with tourism comes a multitude of other goods and services that impact the economy, as well.
Not only do Americans travel to Mexico, but Mexicans vacation in the U.S., as well. After Canada, there are more visitors from Mexico than from any other country. There were a total of 134.2 million visits to the U.S. from Mexican citizens in 2011.
These facts help to highlight how important it really is to maintain good relations with Mexico. Immigration reform is not a simple issue, there are many more nuances to the concept than what most people realize.