Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Halting Illegal Immigration with Manifest Destiny


The number of illegal immigrants that flood into this country every year is a cause for concern. Many people want to "treat" the problem with more restrictive laws, greater enforcement of current laws, and strengthening our borders (maybe build a fence along the Mexican border). What is common to these approaches is that the root cause is NOT being changed - that of abject poverty in Mexico and Central America. Attacking poverty takes MONEY, and money is ALWAYS hard to find for this type of issue.

Mexican Poverty

Mexico has a difficult time trying to combat poverty. It takes a whole lot more money then they have to make a dent in this issue. Without any money, and in debt itself, Mexico just can't change the parameters that send thousands of its citizens north to make a living. If they could just get some help . . .

Manifest Destiny

No one likes spending money and getting nothing tangible in return. There are scores of stories of our government giving money to some country, only to have it squandered and the people of that country not receiving any benefits. Throwing money at problems is easy to do, and highly ineffective! Giving money to the Mexican government would be seen in this light. We would rather spend $100 billion on a new fence, then give it to the Mexican government.

The USA has not grown in size since the 1867 Alaska Purchase. In the 1840-1850 era, we fought a war with Mexico and made 2 land purchases (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Gadsden Purchase). It is now time to grow again - But how?

To kill 2 birds with 1 stone I propose that the USA purchase Baja California from the Mexican government! This allows the USA to "get something for their money" - even though Baja is probably more desolate than Alaska was . . . This also will be a great help to the Mexican government, as the money is sorely needed for infrastructure improvements.

What price, Baja?

When the US defeated Mexico in the 1840s, they could have paid peanuts for Texas and California land - but they didn't. The US overpaid for the territory to help Mexico pay off its foreign debt (lest the Europeans come over here to collect!). This pattern will be followed with the Baja Purchase. From my research, the Mexican GDP is $150 billion and its debt is $30 billion, so I propose a purchase price of $180 billion. The land area of Baja is about 2x the Gadsden Purchase - about 60,000 sq. miles. This means that the price would be about $3 million per square mile.

Also, the price would NOT be paid in cash! The US would pay $30 billion in cash to Mexico so it could pay off its debts, and the rest of the $180 billion ($150 billion) would be paid in services. The US would partner with Mexico in order to build up its infrastructure - and NOT just throw money at the problem.

Transition specifics

  • Baja would NOT become a state initially - it would become a territory and follow the same rules that other states followed.
  • The Mexican people residing there would still hold title to their property, and would become American citizens on the turnover date.
  • The territory of Baja would include all land west of the Colorado river.
  • The Gulf of California would be split evenly down the middle in terms of territorial waters. The US could claim up to 150 miles of "economic zone" water on the Pacific side - but NOT on the south side. The Mexican 150 mile economic zone would extend out past the 12 mile limit on the south side of Baja.
  • Oil and gas development to be negotiated . . .
  • Proposed purchase price may be negotiable . . .


Its hard to see any downside here! The US gains land and a stable (and friendly!) neighbor - plus American companies gain jobs and business in Mexico. The Mexican government becomes debt free, and gains employment for a large number of citizens. Better infrastructure will allow Mexico to attract business and raise the living standard of its people. The "loss" of its land would be a benefit, as the cost of maintaining the Baja infrastructure and policing its borders costs more than it receives from Baja taxes. I would hope that nationalism and accusations of Imperialism would not derail this worthy effort . . .

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