U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's controversial claim that the U.S. Mexico border is 'more secure than it has ever been,' is getting support from an unlikely source.
Rene Zenteno, the former Deputy Minister for Migration in Mexico's cabinet, told a forum at UTSA last night that Napolitano's claims are right.
"The border is more under control now than ever before," Zenteno told 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason before the forum. "It is not easy to cross. It is more risky and more costly to try to come to the United States."
Zenteno said even if the border controls were lifted, significant improvements in the Mexican economy are prompting fewer people to make that hazardous and costly journey north of the border.
"Undocumented Mexican immigration to the United States is at its lowest level of any time in recent history," Zenteno said. "It would be very difficult, and very unlikely, for us to go back to the large levels of illegal immigration that we saw in the 1990s."
But Zenteno says that doesn't mean it is no longer important for the U.S. to engage in comprehensive immigration reform. While not taking a position on the politically hot issues of a path to citizenship or what benefits newly legalized immigrants should receive, he says as long as U.S. businesses are willing to hire illegal immigrants, they will keep coming to America.
"We must learn a lesson from the past," he said. "Migrants will continue crossing the border is they can easily be hired by American businesses that want them."