Tuesday, March 02, 2021
President Joe Biden plans a virtual meeting Monday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — a chance for the pair to talk more fully about migration, confronting the coronavirus and cooperating on economic and national security issues.
Mexico’s president has said he intends during the meeting to propose to Biden a new Bracero-style immigrant labor program that could bring 600,000 to 800,000 Mexican and Central American immigrants a year to work legally in the United States.
A senior Biden administration official declined to say whether the U.S. president would back or oppose the proposal, saying only that both countries agree on the need to expand legal pathways for migration. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.
A bracero program? You may remember that such a program was created in the 1950s and terminated by President Johnson in the 1960s. The good news about “bracero” is that it took away the incentive to cross the border because you could apply to work legally in the U.S. The bad news is that U.S. labor unions did not like it and pressured for its termination.
A bracero program now? I don’t see it, because you need border enforcement to make such a plan possible. The bracero program was created to stop illegal immigration and people were deported for crossing the border. How can you have such a program today when the border is open to anyone?
My guess is that the meeting will focus on Biden begging President Lopez-Obrabor to bail him out of the self-inflicted wounds of promoting chaos on the border.
So what will happen? Probably nothing, unless Biden reinstates the order that he inherited. If he does, then the immigration activists will turn on him. If he doesn’t, then he has a bigger mess on the border.
President Lopez-Obrador is shrewd and he knows that President Biden is a position of weakness.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).