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JOE HERMOSA Immigrants: No Reason to Remain at Home the commission, said that “Texas products account for 70 percent of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico.” Any large-scale expansion in U.S.-Mexican trade is good news for the sagging Texas economy. National Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Forum executive director Frank Sharry said that he strongly favors forming an independent agency because he believes it could improve U.S. refugee policy, currently “dominated by the State Department advancing its foreign policy objectives.” According to Sharry, the INS uses this policy to “put Central American kids fleeing forced conscription and human rights abuses in socalled shelters in South Texas.” Sharry thinks “an independent agency could be more humanitarian and far more Salvadorans could be given asylum.” The INS currently approves fewer than 3 percent of Salvadoran petitions for political asylum, often denying entry in cases that refugee advocates widely believe are legitimate. For the commission’s far-reaching economic recommendations to take effect, legislators must fashion them into bills and persuade the Bush Administration to restructure U.S.-Latin American trade. In light of the eventual adoption of many recommendations contained in the 1981 Select Commission on Immigration Report, it’s unlikely that Asencio’s key suggestions \(such as the design of an independent immigration The 1981 Select Commission “created the blueprint for the political debate and legislation of the 1980s,” said Doris Meissner, who served as acting Commissioner of the INS under President Jimmy Carter. That legislation gave 3.1 million illegal aliens green cards and slapped fines on employers who hire unauthorized workers. Meissner considers the 1990 commission report to be the immigration blueprint for the 1990s. Asencio admits that Congress may ignore the messages of the “Unauthorized Migration” report he spent three years preparing. If so, Asencio said that the INS would remain intact and the report that suggested eliminating “la migra” will “shrivel up and die.” ‘0 Economic Development Is the Answer The Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development, created by Congress, determined that economic need is the force that drives immigrants to the United States, where they hope to find decent jobs. Rather than building barriers to keep immigrants out of this country, the Commission recommends working to strengthen the economies of the countries that the immigrants leave. Unauthorized Migration, issued by the International Migration Commission in July, suggests a number of measures that Congress could enact to improve the economies of Latin American and Caribbean nations: Generate a U.S.-Mexico free-trade zone and create a North American freetrade bloc with Canada. Strengthen U.S. support for the Caribbean Basin Initiative and a reactivated Central American Common Market. Transfer U.S. quota allocations away from Asian nations toward Latin American and Caribbean countries, and levy lower tariffs on products exported from the region. Offer tax breaks for U.S. investors who will encourage labor-intensive industries in the Caribbean. Consider immigration concerns when assigning sugar and textile quotas, and influencing international coffee prices. Encourage the construction of more maquiladora plants in Mexico, while trying to prevent these assembly plants from becoming south-of-the-border sweatshops. Expand funds for technical and vocational education, including scholarship programs in the United States, for countries from which large numbers of people emigrate. Finance international family planning. Support resettlement for Central Americans displaced by wars. In contrast to other regions where it advocated only trade and economic initiatives to improve local economies, the Commission advocated direct U.S. aid for Central America because of the devastation inflicted on the region since 1979. Encourage private enterprise in Latin America and the Caribbean by linking aid to the privatization of state-run enterprises and eradication of protectionist trade barriers. Increase rural employment, encourage small-business development, and ask international financial institutions to aid Mexico’s poorest regions. “Improve the quality of life” along the U.S.-Mexican border by encouraging development, developing new border crossing points, and monitoring environmental hazards. Form an independent immigration agency to replace the Justice Department’s “step-child” Immigration and Naturalization Service and various offices spread across the Federal bureaucracy. Unauthorized Migration, the product of extensive research in 15 countries, features charts, graphs, and explanatory inserts covering everything from the projected size of the Mexican labor force in the year 2010 to the inner workings of Australia’s immigration system. E.S. 16 AUGUST 31, 1990