21st Century America Project

For years the team at NDN/NPI has been a leader in helping policymakers better understand the changing demographics of the United States. We are excited to announce that we are bringing our demographic and public opinion research together under a single banner: The 21st Century America Project. The project will feature work by Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, NDN/NPI Fellows, authors of the critically acclaimed book Millenial Makeover; Alicia Menendez, our new Senior Advisor, who has extensive experience working in these emergent communities; and other NDN/NPI Fellows and collaborators.

Below, please find some of the highlights of our past work on 21st Century America:

2010 Highlights

A Continued Look at the Changing Coalitions of 21st Century America, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Hispanics Rising 2010

The American Electorate of the 21st Century, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Millennial Makeover, a blog by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Data Matters Columns, a blog by Mike Hais

2009 Highlights

The Drop Dobbs Campaign

The Anti Vitter-Bennett Amendment Campaign

The New Constituents: How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census, by Andres Ramirez

NDN Backgrounder: Census 2010, Immigration Status and Reapportionment, by Andres Ramirez

Latino Vote in 2008, by Andres Ramirez

2008 Highlights

End of the Southern Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg

Hispanics Rising II

2007 Highlights

The 50 Year Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg and Peter Leyden in Mother Jones

Millennials Have the Answer to the Country’s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

America is about to enter a presidential campaign that promises to be filled with divisive rhetoric and sharp differences over which direction the nominees want to take the country. This will be the fourth time in American history that the country has been sharply divided over the question of what the size and scope of government should be. Each time the issue was propelled by vast differences in beliefs between generations that caused the country to experience long periods of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), before ultimately resolving the issue in accord with the ideas and beliefs of a new generation.

Every eighty years America engages in this rancorous, sometimes violent, debate about our civic ethos. The first occurred during and after the Revolutionary War and resulted in the most fundamental documents of our democracy: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

The second took place during the Civil War. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments codified the outcome of that debate --- this time in favor of the federal government asserting its power over state laws when it came to fundamental questions of personal liberty and civil rights.  It took the Civil War and a massive increase in Washington’s power to accomplish the end of slavery, although it would be another century until the rights of freedom and equality were fully extended to African-Americans.

And in the 1930s, the economic deprivations experienced by most Americans from the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, and the collapse of corporate capitalism, led to support for a “New Deal” for the forgotten man that placed the responsibility for economic growth and opportunity squarely on the federal government. The government demanded by the GI Generation (born 1901-1924) greatly surpassed the conventional views of earlier generations.

In each case, the resolution of these debates depended on the emergence of a rising, young civic-oriented generation that thought the nation’s dominant political belief system   should contain a strong role for government, overturning the more conservative and limited-government views of the older generations then in power.

Now, as previously, the highly charged ideological arguments on both sides of the issue generate great agitation and anger among older generations, especially Baby Boomers, who have driven our political life towards ever wider polarization. As a result, the resolution of today’s debate over the nation’s civic ethos is not likely to come from older Americans who seem incapable of and unwilling to compromise their deeply held values and beliefs.

This time around, the largest generation in American history, Millennials, (born 1982- 2003), that  will comprise more than one in three adult Americans by the end of this decade, are destined to play a decisive role in finding a consensus answer to this critical question.   If the United States is to emerge from this most recent period of FUD, it will have to look to the newest civic-oriented generation, Millennials, for both the behavior and the ideas that will bridge the current ideological divide and spur the country into making the changes necessary to succeed in the future.

Millennials believe that collective action, most often at the local level, is the best way to solve national problems. Using social media, Millennials are organizing groups like the Roosevelt Institute’s Campus Network, to present a very different vision of America’s future. In this Millennialist future, the idea of top down solutions developed by experts in closed discussions will give way to bottom up, action-oriented movements. This will topple institutions as dramatically as Napster upended the recording industry, or the Arab Spring changed the Middle East.  Just as their parents set the rules within which Millennials were free to exercise their creative energies when they were growing up, the new generation will continue to look to the federal government to set national goals or guidelines, as has long been the view of Boomer progressives.   However, the way in which these guidelines are implemented will not be determined in remote and opaque bureaucracies, but by individuals in local communities across the country. In this way, Millennials will embrace progressive values, but with approaches that may be welcomed by many conservatives.

In the midst of the country’s current period of FUD, it is easy to despair that the nation will be unable to resolve its divisions and come to consensus about a new civic ethos. But throughout its history, when America has been equally fearful of the future, a new civic generation has risen to foster the necessary transition. In the end, this emerging generation served both itself and the country well. Now it is the Millennial Generation’s turn to serve the nation and move America to a less fearful and less divided future. 

Millennial Momentum, New Book by NDN Fellows Hais & Winograd Out Now!

I want to share some exciting news: NDN Fellows Mike Hais and Morley Winograd's new book, Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America is now available for purchase. Following on the heels of their critically acclaimed 2008 book, Milllennial Makeover, this newly released book, Millennial Momentum, investigates how the beliefs of the Millennials are transforming American society. About every eight decades, coincident with the most stressful and perilous events in U.S. history - the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and the Great Depression and World War II - a new, positive, accomplished, and group-oriented "civic generation" emerges to change the course of history and remake America. The Millennial Generation (born 1982-2003) is America's newest civic generation.  Get your copy today!

I also hope you will join NDN and the New Policy Institute for a special event on Thursday, September 15th - a conversation with Hais and Winograd about the ways in which members of the Millennial Generation are transforming our nation.  We are proud to be hosting them here in Washington at NDN, 729-15th st NW.  For more information or to RSVP, click here.

Kristian Ramos on FOX News Live Talking About The Administrations New Deportation Strategy

Kristian Ramos appeared on Fox News Live with Megyn Kelly to debate the merits of the Presidents new deporation guidelines. The video is below:

 

Millennials’ Democratic Ties: Bent But Far From Broken

The recent release of survey data by the Pew Research Center indicating that the party identification of Millennials had narrowed from 60% Democratic vs. 32% Republican in 2008 to 52% Democratic vs. 39% Republican in 2011 produced a flurry of articles by political observers.

USA Today maintained that “in 2012, youth voters may prove elusive for Obama.” Michael Barone posting in the conservative Washington Examiner under a misleading headline that “Under Obama, Millennials move into the GOP column,” could barely contain his excitement at the news that a majority of white Millennials identify as Republicans (52% vs. 41% Democratic). A careful examination of the Pew data indicates that even in 2008 a larger percentage of white Millennials identified outright as Republicans than Democrats. Most of the movement that has occurred since then was among those who leaned to the Democratic Party and had weaker ties to it to begin with.

Nevertheless, given the importance of the Millennial Generation to President Obama’s victories, beginning with the Iowa caucuses all the way through the general election, the data certainly highlighted a source of potential danger to his re-election and to Democratic hopes for regaining their position as the majority party in American politics. Such speculation however ignores some other hard facts about Millennials and why they are likely to continue to be a key part of the Democratic coalition.

Millennials are the most ethnically and religiously diverse generation in U.S. history. Forty percent of all Millennials are “nonwhite” i.e., African-American, Asian, and, especially, Hispanic. These groups will represent an even greater percentage of those Millennials turning 18 in the next decade. Virtually all of the Millennials’ movement away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans in the Pew research has occurred among white Millennials, who, in spite of their increasing Republican proclivities, still more strongly identify as Democrats to a narrow but statistically greater extent than older whites. Nonwhite Millennials continue to overwhelmingly identify as Democrats over Republicans (71% to 17%).

Millennials are also half as likely as older generations to be white Evangelicals or Catholics and a quarter less likely to be white Mainline Protestants, groups that in recent years have trended toward the GOP. While the “Teavangelicals” gathering this weekend in Texas at the invitation of Rick Perry, its governor and possible GOP presidential candidate, may represent an important part of the Republican activist base, they don’t represent Millennials. Members of America’s young adult generation are twice as likely to be Hispanic Catholics or unaffiliated with any faith and a third more likely to be non-Christians—Jews and increasingly Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists—groups that tilt toward the Democratic Party. Any political movement that attempts to use Christian doctrine as the core of its appeal is sure to turn away most Millennial voters.

There are a range of other factors that seem likely to limit a wholesale movement of Millennials to the Republican Party, so long as it adheres to its current belief system. For one thing, Millennials clearly endorse an economically activist government. A March 2011 Pew survey indicated that by 54% to 39% Millennials favored a bigger government that provides more services rather than a smaller government that provides fewer services. Moreover, most Millennials are confident that governmental activism is useful in ameliorating societal problems. A majority of them (52%) believe that government often does a better job than people give it credit for. These beliefs suggest that for many Millennials the major complaint about President Obama and his party is not that they favor “big government,” but that they haven’t used government as often and effectively as Millennials would like.

In addition, one in five Millennials has an immigrant parent. Not surprisingly then, large majorities of Millennials believe that immigrants strengthen the country (69%) and support a legal pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (82%).

Most Millennials (including white members of the cohort) are also strikingly tolerant on social issues. About two-thirds believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society (69%) and support the legalization of gay marriage (64%).

Such attitudes make most Millennials uncomfortable with the anti-immigrant and religiously conservative views that so many Republicans, particularly Tea Partiers, espouse. As a result, some young Republicans such as Meagan McCain, the Senator’s daughter and Margaret Hoover, the 31st president’s great granddaughter, have called on their party to moderate its stance on social issues in order to attract Millennial voters.

Finally, most Millennials do not approve of the GOP’s current highly ideological approach to politics. The Millennial Generation is made up of pragmatic idealists who search for win-win solutions to the problems facing the nation.

As a result, in a Pew survey conducted during the recent dispute over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, a large majority of Millennials (71% to 57% for older generations) preferred a balanced approach that would have combined spending cuts and tax increases to deal with the federal deficit. Two-thirds of the generation (65%) called on Washington politicians to compromise with those holding different views in order to prevent federal government default rather than sticking with their principles (28%). Not surprisingly, after viewing the summer’s events in the Capitol, a large majority of Millennials (60% vs. 27%) believed that the Republican rather than the Democratic Party was most likely to take “extreme” positions on issues.

For all of these reasons, most Millennials simply don’t like the Republican Party very much. In March, Pew research indicated that a majority of all Millennials (56%) held unfavorable attitudes toward the GOP and favorable attitudes toward the Democratic Party (57%).

Of course, none of this is etched in stone. The Democratic Party still has to convince Millennials that it can effectively use government to solve the problems confronting their generation and the nation if it is to retain the cohort’s loyalty. But the GOP is in the much more difficult position of having to change almost its entire imagery and approach to politics and government in order to win over skeptical members of the Millennial Generation. GOP attacks on Pell Grant funding and attempts to restrict student’s ability to vote suggest many Republican office holders haven’t gotten the message about the importance of this new generation of voters. The big question for Republicans is whether their ideological Boomer leadership will ever be willing to alter their ideological principles to accommodate Millennial attitudes and beliefs.

As we point out in our book, Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America (to be published in September), Millennials will comprise a quarter of the voting age population in 2012 and more than one out of every three adult Americans by 2020. In politics, as with just about everything else, which way Millennials decide to go, will determine the country’s future. Right now, that future is up for grabs.


Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais are fellows of NDN and the New Policy Institute and co-authors of Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America to be published this fall and Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics.

The President's Balancing Act On Immigration Reform

In the midst of increasingly frantic debt limit negotiations, it is telling that President Barack Obama took the time to speak at the NCLR Conference. With the 2012 campaign season revving up, Obama’s willingness to take time out from the furious negotiations occurring on Capitol Hill to speak before a capacity crowd of Hispanic leaders shows that he understands exactly how important the Hispanic vote will be.

The stakes were high for the President’s speech. Secure Communities and the deportation of DREAM Act students have dulled some of the initial luster that the President had when he first took office. That is not to say that the President has not been deaf to these complaints. The President has advised the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to show greater discretion in what types of undocumented immigrants to deport. DHS has also created an internal working group within the agency to find ways to improve the many problems associated with Secure Communities.

Today, Obama talked talked up his accomplishments with placing Hispanics in his administration, the recent White House Hispanic Policy Day and the work he is doing for the country as a whole. He spoke of opportunity, the economy, the recession, tax relief, trade and the work facing his administration. He spoke of sacrifice, the debt limit, the economy, energy, the rich, the poor and everything in between. The crowd sat in deferential silence as he discussed the difference between his candidacy and his Presidency.

Only when he began to talk about immigration did the crowd come alive with a monstrous roar. The speech became one of the economic benefit of immigrants, one that sought to bridge the divide between what is and what should be for the immigrant population in the country. When talking about bypassing Congress to grant deferrals for immigrants, was met with raucous chants of “yes we can.”

The President held his own, taking the full brunt of the crowd and spoke frankly: “Keep the heat on me, keep the heat on the Democrats,” he told the crowd. ”But know this we are with you. And never forget who we need to move, Republicans.”

This, surprisingly was also met with applause. The speech went on predictably from there, ending with polite applause and the sporadic chanting of DREAM activists to stop the deportation of DREAMers.

This speech was no game-changer. The President has always (mostly) said the right things on immigration. The problem has always been the expectations of what the President, should do and what he can do. The tension of what people want from him and the reality of his office has bedeviled him for his entire Presidency. This remains true after his speech today. The President knows that the he cannot win without Hispanics coming out big for him. So yes, he has checked the NCLR box, he has shown his willingness to engage. But now he has a little under a year to deliver.

DNC's First Ad Buy of the Cycle is...en Español

File this under things we didn't see coming:  the DNC released their first ad of the cycle, ‘En Quien Confiar’ a Spanish-language spot clearly intended to counter the Crossroads GPS buy.

If you ask me, this is a pretty boring, standard ad.  The value isn't so much in the content (it reads like a book report on the Obama administration) but in the strategic decision to invest in outreach to this important growing electorate.  

Here's a translation of the ad:

CG: REPUBLICAN ATTACK AD
VO: Behind the ads that pretend to care about our children…
CG: REPUBLICAN AGENDA: END MEDICARE GUARANTEE / TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH
VO: It’s the Republicans who would end the Medicare guarantee while protecting tax cuts for the very rich.
CG: OBAMA RECORD: INSURANCE FOR OUR KIDS
VO: It was the President who extended health insurance to our children…
CG: OBAMA RECORD: FINANCIAL AID FOR STUDENTS
VO: Financial aid for students…
CG: OBAMA RECORD: MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS
VO: And cut taxes for the middle class.
VO: We know who to trust, and who we can’t.  Because it’s our job to protect our families.
VO: The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this ad.

21st Century America-Weekly Roundup June 20, 2011

On America's changing demographics:

According to an article by Ronald J. Hansen for The Arizona Republic, the 2010 census data shows that Arizona's rapid growth in population is due largely to a huge increase in the number of children under 10.  Furthermore, ccording to William Schooling, Arizona's state demographer:

Arizona's greatest growth appears to be among relatively young Hispanics, who have higher birth rates than the population as a whole

The implications of all this? Continued or increased demand for services such as child care, teachers and school construction, a possible increase in healthcare costs, and more of a focus on the fastest-growing counties.  The full article has the details.

On the Millennial Generation:

A recent study carried out by the Public Religion Research Institute on abortion and the influence of religion and moral values found that while the millennial generation is slightly more supportive of abortion than the public as a whole (60% compared to 56%), they are significantly more supportive of same sex marriage -- by 15 points -- than any other age group in the population.  A Huffington Post article by James Wagoner analyzes the impact that this and other conclusions from the study will likely have on the 2012 elections.  Some excerpts:

Millennial youth have, as the pollsters state, "a unique, nuanced approach to the issue of abortion, combining strong support for the availability of abortion services and access to birth control with moral reservations."

Millennial youth are major supporters of a broad array of sexual health and rights issues. They not only support same sex marriage and access to abortion, but they also support comprehensive sex education (82%), access to contraception for women who can't afford it (82%), the morality of same sex relationships (57%), and the morality of sex between an unmarried man and woman (70%).

An article by Diane Stafford in the Kansas City Star talks of a new study to be released this month on marketing to the millennial generation.  The study, called “American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation,” compares the results of 4,000 surveyed millennials with the results from 1,400 baby boomers and analyzes the trends and differences.  According to Barkley (a Kansas City-based advertising and public relations agency that is co-sponsoring the study) Senior Vice President Jeff Fomm, due to the use of Twitter, blog posts and web-based consumer ratings, Millennials:

...communicate on networks nobody owns. We have to learn how to market with them, not to them. We used to be in control of our brand and communicate that to our audience. Now we don’t have as much control.

Women and Minority News:

According to a Bloomberg article by Jonathan D. Salant, Democrats and allied groups are framing Republican moves to cut federal spending through measures such as an end to traditional Medicare and cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood as a war on women, arguing that these and other measures have a disproportionately negative effect on women.  The goal is ultimately to influence the 2012 elections by using these arguments to sway female voters in Obama's favor.  For example,

“The Republicans have handed the Democrats a gift,” said Leonie Huddy, a political science professor at Stony Brook University in New York. “If they play it right, they have exactly the issue that will attract women voters to them.”

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Aziz Huq criticizes Oklahoma's "Sharia ban" and the legislators of six other states who have been debating laws explicitly prohibiting courts from considering or using Sharia law.  He says such laws, in addition to being discriminatory, pointless, and a threat to national security are also largely baseless.  He says:

To begin with, the bans’ justifications are thin. Despite the worries voiced by candidates in the recent Republican candidates’ debate in New Hampshire, no state, county or municipality is about to realign its laws with religious doctrine, Islamic or otherwise. Nor does any state or federal court today in Oklahoma, or anywhere else, need to enforce a foreign rule repugnant to public policy. Under the legal system’s well-established “choice of law” doctrines, the courts are already unlikely to help out someone who claims their religion allows, say, the subordination or mistreatment of women.

 

 

The Fight Over Immigration Turns To Businesses

The Supreme Courts decision to uphold Arizona's Legal Workers Act has set off a firestorm of speculation about how Congress and other states will react to this employment verification legislation. One thing is for certain, a new debate on immigration has shifted towards businesses who employ immigrants.

Julia Preston of the New York Times recently held an interview with Neal Conan on NPR' S Face The Nation, which works as a great Q and A about were the current immigration debate is going:

CONAN: And how does this Supreme Court decision change things for employers in Arizona?

Ms. PRESTON: I don't think it actually changes it very much, because this particular law had never been held up by the federal court. The law that the Supreme Court ruled on actually is - was very narrowly tailored to fit a specific terminology in immigration law.  And so it wasn't actually that surprising that the Supreme Court upheld this statute, although what was a little surprising was the sweeping statement that the court made about the possibility and scope of states to act on immigration policy in the way that Arizona did. And I was out in Arizona recently. In fact, the law - the state statute has not been used that frequently so far to prosecute employers. There have been relatively few cases brought in Arizona so far against employers under the state law.

The take away from all this is that, more then anything else, business communities are opposed to these mandatory employment verification programs.

CONAN: Well, the controversial part of the law was what the opponents called the business death penalty.

Ms. PRESTON: Yes, that's right. And so - and I think it's also good to note that Arizona - as it has in other areas of immigration law - went further than most states in this area, so that on the second violation of knowing hiring of an illegal immigrant, a business stands in Arizona to lose its business license permanently. So it's a very severe penalty. I think the cases are hard to make, though.

Later on in the program Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce appeared on the show, I will write about some of his dubious claims in a separate post. In the mean time read the full transcript here.

The President's Speech Puts A Marker Down On Improved Border Safety

Yesterday President Obama took credit for improved safety along the south west border and made a call for a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system. Simon wrote about this yesterday, noting that the President did the right thing by contextualizing the gains on the border with a broader overhaul of our immigration system.

This is important as not only did he acknowledge both the importance of border security as a component of CIR he also noted that now it should no longer be an impediment to moving forward with it, speaking about the Border Patrol:

So they’re doing outstanding work.  And in recent years, among one of the greatest impediments to reform were questions about border security.  And these were legitimate concerns.  What was true was a lack of manpower and a lack of resources at the border, combined with the pull of jobs and ill-considered enforcement once folks were in the country.

All this contributed to a growing number of undocumented people living in the United States.  And these concerns helped unravel a bipartisan coalition that we had forged back when I was in the United States Senate.  So in the years since, “borders first, borders first,” that's become the common refrain, even among those who were previously supportive of comprehensive immigration reform.
 
But over the last two years, thanks to the outstanding work of Janet and Alan and everybody who’s down here working at the border, we’ve answered those concerns.

Perhaps most importantly the President listed the accomplishments of his administration along the border:

  • The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents -- more than twice as many as there were in 2004. 
  • Then they wanted a fence.  Well, the fence is now basically complete.
  • We tripled the number of intelligence analysts working at the border. 
  • I’ve deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California.
  • We have forged a partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations that have affected both of our countries.
  • For the first time we’re screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments to seize guns and money going south even as we go after drugs that are coming north. 

This is showing real results, the President noted that over the last 2 and 1/2 years:

  • We’ve seized 31 percent more drugs.
  • 75 percent more currency,
  • 64 percent more weapons than ever before
  • Apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago.  That means far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.

Some have questioned the veracity of some of these statistics, specifically just how much "operational control" CBP actually has on the border. I will be writing about this later today, but in closing this post, its important to note that the President didn't hold back in calling out Republicans who continually move the goal post on border enforcement as a way to hold back on immigration reform:

So, here’s the point.  I want everybody to listen carefully to this.  We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement.  All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done.  But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.

You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol.  Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol.  Or they’ll want a higher fence.  Maybe they’ll need a moat.  (Laughter.)  Maybe they want alligators in the moat.  (Laughter.)  They’ll never be satisfied.  And I understand that.  That’s politics. 

 

PANEL: Growing Together: How a 21st Century Border is Essential to Prosperity in Both the U.S. and Mexico

NDN and NPI are proud to say that the first LAPI-21st Century Border Inititiave Policy Day, was a huge success. The day featured speeches from senior officials from the White House, the State Department, United States Trade Representatives, and Local Officials speaking. The day also covered a wide spectrum of views on the Americas and the border.

The 21st Century Border portion of the day focused first on the perspective of a Mayor who lives and works with a Mexican Border, this panel was moderated by Chappell Lawson, Associate Professor of Politics at MIT and featured the Mayor of Nogales Arturo Garino.

Following this, Maria Luisa O’Connell, Senior Advisor for Trade and Public Relations Office of the Commissioner US Customs and Border Protection, DHS  led a roundtable panel discussion Growing Together: How a 21st Century Border is Essential to Prosperity in Both the U.S. and Mexico. While this panel was designed to discuss infrastructure and commerce along the border, the conversations quickly dovetailed into discussions on the interconnectedness of America and Mexico's economies and how the real solution to so many of the problems along the border can be solved with a federal comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system.

Jim Kolbe, former Congressman from Arizona and current Senior Transatlantic Fellow, The German Marshall Fund,  kicked off the panel by putting the border in the context of a much larger economic conversation.  His remarks sought to highlight the enormous economic positives of the border. He also placed this conversation in a more historical place, by noting that the border has been under transformation for some time. In particular, the North America Free Trade Agreement changed how the United States and Mexico conducted business along the border forever. To that point he noted that much of the problems along the border today have very little to do with security and everything to do with outdated infrastructure that has slowed the movement of goods moving into and out of Mexico. (to the left is a photo of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez at night)

Col. Eric Rojo, Vice President of U.S.-Mexico Chamber Of Commerce and Security Program Coordinator for CEDAN-ITESM, followed up Jim's portion of the panel discussion by focusing in on the security aspects of the border. Col. Rojo, noted that the concept of securing the border was antithetical to the realities of our economic interests.  Mexico is the United States second largest trading partner, and shutting down the border would be counter intuitive to the interests of both of our countries. Furthermore "securing" the border is unrealistic in terms of the sheer number of military personnel it would require be placed along the border. He also commented that if the federal government was serious about alleviating some of the security concerns along the border then they would find a way to allow workers who come seasonally to do so legally. What has happened over the last two decades as the border has become more secure, migrants have been pushed into the same routes that drug dealers use, and a new market of human smuggling has been created. If the federal government gave these workers legal means, they would not have to cross illegally.

Martin Rojas, Vice President of Security & Operations, American Trucking Association focused more on the movement of goods across the border as they pertain to trucking issues. The trucking situation encapsulates all of the issues brought up by both of the previous panelists. The commerce issue is huge for both the United States and Mexico, particularly when it comes to ports of entry along the southern border. The demand for movement of goods far exceeds the capacity currently along the southern border. Trucks entering the U.S. must be screened by the federal government to ensure that they are not bringing in any illegal substances. This can create long wait times for goods moving into the country. Customs and Border Patrol have also recently begun scanning outbound traffic leaving the United States which also has created long wait times. With more staff focused within ports of entry and not primarily focused on the border much of these issues could be fixed. This would have a positive effect on the economies of both countries.

We will be putting up a video of this panel shortly.

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