Border Security Reform
By: Wayne Brown
Much to the dismay of the majority of the American public, the illegal immigration issue continues to plague our lives. The only real significant action on the part of the responsible party, the Federal Government, has been to take legal action against Arizona for attempting to do something about the issue. Seeing this play out, Americans can only wonder if they are helpless to address the issue. It appears the public must endure the Federal Government’s will to act on the problem and secure our borders.
The problem is highly irritating to me and I feel it needs to be solved as expeditiously as possible with the security of the southern border being the primary task at hand. We all want to stay within the confines of the law on the matter if at all possible. After all, America is still a country that holds the Rule Of Law to a sacred standard thus we must be cognizant of that fact. Given that rationale, is there anything left that we, as individual private citizens of America, can really do about the problem which will have any significant impact?
After much thought I reached the conclusion that the citizens of America do have options and they are options which we control both individually and more powerfully as a group. Certainly we have our right to vote and we should use it to send our message that we do not like what has and continues to transpire on this issue. We also have a lot of power as consumers but we are not using that power to gain the leverage that we can in this particular situation. On that basis, we need to modify our behavior and use this new found power accordingly.
Based on information from 2008, it appears that approximately 12 million Americans visit Mexico each year to go to the various tourist attractions located in the country. This includes ancient ruins but more frequently, the trip is to the beach style resorts located in the coastal areas of Mexico. Needless to say, this is big business for Mexico and one of the primary drivers of revenue within the country. The government of Mexico wants American tourists to come down, bring their money, and spend it in Mexico. Now, you start to see the formula take some shape.
In my opinion, the government of Mexico is doing far too little on their side of the border to control the illegal traffic moving across the border into the USA. In truth, the Mexican government is doing more to support the movement than anything else. Their officials openly criticize America’s attitude toward the illegal traffic and seem to think that it is their right to do as they please at the border.
I don’t know the actual value of American tourism in Mexico on an annual basis but we can speculate at least by assigning an arbitrary dollar figure to each tourist. For example, based on 2006 figures, the average international tourist spent $710 in Mexico on tourism. For 2010, the estimated take for Mexico on tourism dollars is $13.3 billion dollars. Using the project 12 million Americans who visit each year for tourism multiplied by the average dollars spent and it quickly becomes apparent that Americans are approximately $8.5 billion of the projected $13.3 billion tourist dollars coming into Mexico annually, or approximately 64% of the annual tourist revenue.
Tourism in the third largest revenue generator in the country of Mexico. Dollars coming in from tourism provide one in every five jobs in the country. The beach resort of Cancun alone generates approximately 25% of the tourist dollars flowing into the country. This is no small potatoes to the Government of Mexico as tourism revenue makes up 8% of the nominal Gross Domestic Product of the country coming in third behind oil and manufacturing. Mexico got a taste of a decline in revenues last year when tourism dollars dropped by a factor of 15% mostly on the decline of U.S. tourist traffic driven by the H1N1 flu scare. Needless to say, their government began efforts to shore up the sagging tourism.
Given these facts, the American public wields a strong and effective tool over the heads of Mexican government officials which can be used to leverage levels of cooperation and support that we have never before seen. If we, as consumers, begin to withhold our tourism dollars from Mexico by avoiding vacations that include any Mexico destinations, by avoiding cruise ships with any Mexico port stops, by avoid cross border weekend visits, we will soon get their attention financially. Once we do that, good things can only follow.
Friends, this is what I like to refer to as gaining control of the horse’s head. Once you have his head, his heart and ass will follow. As consumers, if we want Mexico to step up and take the necessary actions on the border to control some of these factors to a higher level, all we have to do is exercise our spending power and influence our friends, neighbors, and family to take the same actions. We don’t need the Federal Government to do it. We don’t have to break any laws in the process. And, we don’t have to give up our leisure time or money to do it. We simply elect to spend our vacation dollars somewhere else…like in America maybe??? We don’t have to do it for long either. Mexico will begin to feel the pain within one year and begin to really hurt within two. The message will get through.
Let’s use our power as consumers starting today. Let’s vow not to spend one dime in Mexico until we see some real change going on that spells safety and security along our southern borders. Once Mexico wakes up and shows some sincere and intense efforts to address the problem, then we, as American citizens and as consumers, can reconsider where we spend our tourist dollars. We are in control, we just need to exercise it and let the right folks know it. Let’s Roll!
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