Moyers: The Rise of Hispanic America
Continued from previous page
JORGE RAMOS: After that it's easy to argue for the, an open border, right? Like the European Community. It is never going to happen here. I don't think so.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
JORGE RAMOS: Because the economic differences are so big. When an immigrant here in the United States can make in half an hour what they make in a day in Mexico, about $5 a day. And still immigration has to do with economic forces, it's an economic problem. I don't think I'll see, I'll live to see an open border between Mexico and the United States even though internet and communications and traveling has made it possible. I don't think there's the political will to even discuss that possibility. At one point--
MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And--
JORGE RAMOS: --when the Europeans were discussing that many people thought that it would be a good idea. But not anymore, I don't think it's going to happen.
MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I don't either. And I don't think, why it's necessary. A lot of people think that if you favor immigration reform that means that you favor open border. And I don't think anyone is actually saying, "Yes, we should have an open border and let people come in and out whenever they want." I think there needs to be order and I do believe that this country and every country has the right to control their borders, just like Mexico has the right to control its border with Guatemala.
It's the way that you treat human beings when they do cross over. And as part of a comprehensive immigrant reform you could also have legal immigrant that's more orderly. I don't think that is the issue of immigration reform. The issue of immigration reform is what do you do with people that already came here? What do you do with people that have roots in this country, that have children that were born in this country? What do you do with them and how do you treat them? You know, it's—
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, the movement of people has been a constant in our human history.
MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Right.
BILL MOYERS: They just, we just keep moving.
MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And whenever you have a country, a poor country next to a rich country you will always have people trying, anywhere in the world, trying to make a better life. Trying to come into the richer country looking for a better life.
But I think one thing needs to happen, and this is something that I would love to see in this, these countries that export immigrants, they need to be strengthened. I mean, when are we going see some of these Latin American countries strengthen their democracy? Their justice system? We can't continue to have so much crime in Mexico--
JORGE RAMOS: But what you're saying also is very interesting because we can explain violence in Mexico in part because of the United States. We have 22 million people in this country who are using drugs, 22 million people. And the last survey that I saw was reported on the people who had either used some kind of illicit drug in the last month.
Because of that drugs, because of that, the drug consumption here interest United States we have drug traffickers in Mexico making sure that they bring all the drugs from South America, crossing Central America and Mexico to come to this country. So in the last six years in Mexico 65,000 people died, were killed because of the drug war.