US - Mexico Border Solutions | MEDICARE in Mexico? | An Independent Voters View
For folks that maybe newer followers of my ramblings here at Hub pages, you should know that I do comment on political issues but I generally refrain from writing up Hubs just to rant on any issue without also having some solution for the problem at hand. So after much deliberation and thought on the subject of illegal immigration, including some spirited debates with Customs and Border personnel I know, I have reached some interesting conclusions and even some possible solutions to the problem at hand.
First establish Ellis Island South – “Give me your tired, your poor, your hungry, yearning to breathe Free.” I think it is time for the US to renew the spirit of the Statue of Liberty. When it comes to the illegal alien workers, we really have to stop for a minute and recognize what it these folks want and what they have been willing to risk in the past to get here.
On average the illegal worker has saved for years to get the $1500-$5000 dollars to pay a ‘Coyote’ to get them across the border. They have risked the uncompromising deserts of the Southwest, being locked in a connex, or stuffed under the back seat and chassis of cars. Face it; these people are committed to get here and create a better life. I heard the old joke recently, the goes like this, “If you look at your breakfast you can see the difference between committed and involved. The Chicken was involved in your breakfast by supplying an Egg, but by supplying the bacon the Hog was committed.” These are exactly the kind of folks that came over on the Mayflower, committed to the opportunity of ‘The New World’, the same kind of committed the Irish showed up with at Ellis Island during the potato famines, The same kind of committed the East Europeans showed up with, the Italians etc., throughout our history we have honored those who put it all on the line for a chance at the opportunity America holds out. Not a guarantee of results; mind you, but the promise of opportunity.
The fact is that with an estimated 12,000,000 illegal workers (IW’s) already in the country, (this represents 9%of the population of Mexico). It’s time to rethink the work aspect of this and also separate the potential Immigrant from the Migrant worker. I don’t have any supporting research on this but I would suspect that 60% or more of the current IW’s would prefer Migrant status as opposed to Immigrant. Most are here because they have family in Mexico that needs the money, money not for a new TV or Washer or Dryer but for more essential things like food and shelter. The kind of reasons many Americans would be migratory for given the same circumstances (remember the Dust Bowl and “The Grapes of Wrath”).
For this 7to 8 million workers we need to set up a minimal; standard for entry, that include a basic medical check, and an employer at the gate willing to hire them. This would be the reason for an Ellis Island South. Instead of having to save $1500 or more for an Illegal entry, you could charge them say $200 to cover basic costs. These Migrant workers would not be authorized any US services like Social Security, Unemployment, or Medical Treatment (Emergency Treatment in a US hospital would be billed to the Mexican Government). On the later we need to negotiate with the Mexican Government to establish migrant clinics (maybe even regional hospitals) that serve these folks at the same cost as these services are provided in Mexico. The rules would allow the employers to pay in a band from say 80%-120% of the minimum wage; and occupations would be limited to unskilled labor type jobs. These include field work, simple labor, I’m sure there are others that would come to mind. Their visa would require them to periodically (annually) check in with the government and have a 3 year expiration. When they then must put foot on Mexican soil for a day or two and then having followed the rules may return.
Immigrants must have a three year US work history with no record of derogatory information, meaning a clear police record. They must pass a Basic English, American History (basic facts), and Drivers License test in English. They are then issued a ‘green card’ and minimum wage rules apply for employers. They are then eligible to compete for skilled labor positions,(except State, Local, and US Government) and they become tax paying Immigrants with all the rights and privileges normally extended, most importantly the ability to bring immediate family with them at a designated point in the future (say 6 months) call it ‘establishment time’. Immediate family would be defined as Spouse, Children, Parents, and Parent in-law. This individual would be on a fast track to Citizenship of say 1 year for the primary green card holder, and 3 years for immediate family, all must pass the Standard US Citizenship exam etc etc.
These rules and facilities should be established immediately along with the completion of our fence and other measures along all of our borders. How to do this in a hurry you ask? I propose we use the Military Reserves (not including the National Guard). The way I envision this is to allow service members exiting active duty with a service obligation, to continue at current pay grade in border service with an accelerated release date at a 2:1 ratio. That is if you did 3 years active duty and you now have 5 years remaining on your service obligation, instead of doing it in the National Guard and being eligible for overseas deployments but maybe no deployments at all (with Iraq winding down) and just local duty, you serve on the Border for 2 ½ years and your service obligation is over. For retirees, once you lock in for retirement you get to serve your last two years before retirement on the border (This would maintain an appropriate rank structure in the force). To minimize costs this would be treated as a deployment with essentially the same sort of camps set up (maybe not as rudimentary but say unaccompanied tours) as overseas contingency operations. Duties would essentially be manning the Border, Fence Line and the 200m Kill zone (yes I said Kill zone) in front of the fence. The border would be well marked, defined and warning signs in multiple languages would be placed well in front of it. Now we have the bad guys locked out from overland unauthorized entry and to keep them out of light planes set up an no nonsense Air Defense Identification and Engagement Zone. We do have the technology to accomplish this and folks with the skills to do so.
Now I can already hear the rumblings of both the right and the left politically on this one so keep reading ‘cause it gets better. I have recently read a press release (see link below) on how certain Me3xican Hospitals are upgrading their facilities and standards to meet US Medicare Standards so they can accept payments from US retirees living in Mexico. There are already over 1,000,000 retired Americans living in Mexico and there are already 8 hospitals that meet the criteria and more on the way. The Amerimed Hospital in Puerto Vallarta advertises “All doctors are bilingual US Board certified. Hospital is open 24 hours. We offer emergency and urgent care. In addition to in-house consultations we offer hotel consultations.” With healthcare costs only 30% of what they are in the US for the same services, you have what I call a unique Eureka moment facing us here.
I have further researched the living in Mexico and am seriously rethinking my retirement plans base on what I have found. In a place like Puerto Vallarta I could by a nice two bedroom apartment in a gated community for around $60-110K. I nearly have that much equity in my current house and my Army retirement would go a very long way even in the tourist trap of PV.
Now if we give economic incentives so we have an equal number of US retirees living in Mexico, as we do migrant workers, in the US the cost savings for Medicare would pay the border security costs in probably one or two years. Remember Healthcare services and drugs are on sale 70% Off! The long term effects could be enough to subsidize the early retirement and Medicare enrollment to say age 55 for those willing to relocate and to encourage this we could increase the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security in the states to say age 70.
This influx of US retirees might well take some of the pressure off of the jobless rate in Mexico itself, as we would of course need our gardeners, maids, and cooks down there as well. I could see the whole border situation stabilizing inside of three years with just this initiative alone.
Some other possible actions and benefits would be to require the migrants and immigrants to set up a 401K that can only invest in US Treasuries and 1% of their income must be contributed with a 2% match by the employer. US expatriate retirees must put 30% of their IRA, 401K in US treasuries as well. But the normal rules of withdrawal are suspended so they can take less out each year they are over 70 and make withdrawals with no penalty for those retiring under age 59 ½. While it would not completely fund the US Debt it would give a real floor to it so the ratings may remain higher in the future.
I could see this sort of program extending to other countries as well like Belize, The Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua (They have some really beautiful gated Golf Course communities super cheap!) . If Aruba can knock its prices back maybe them too, along with Panama, and Columbia. After all if it’s only Mexico then inflation will kick in with no competition and would wreck the whole plan. Who knows maybe even Brazil or Argentina might want to get on board.
Now I recognize this is an oversimplification but good plans are simple ones. I think we may have a place to start here, and welcome comments and debate on this issue. I think the hard right gets to keep the pressure up on the United Farms Workers this way, along with the consumer benefit of cheap produce, and a well-tended garden. The left gets easy access for migrant and immigrant workers (although if they can’t vote they may be less enamored). But they get the gardener and the maids and nannies too. Those of us in the middle get all of those benefits plus a great warm and sunny climate to live out our years only a short flight away from our home country (and a reason to go visit the grand kids now and then and the means to spoil them rotten (He He!)).
I say it’s a Win-Win-Win situation all the way around…
Note: I particularly want to thank my good friend and fellow vet and hubber 50 Caliber His comments on several recent hubs of others gave me much reason to pause and think this through. Thanks Dusty!!
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I welcome rational debate but please keep your comments civil..
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