Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Opening Borders


While the United States acts to increase immigration and border controls and checkpoints, Central American countries are acting to streamline the process of crossing borders. The changes are described in this Associated Press story.

El Salvador and Guatemala have been the first to move forward, by reducing border formalities to a common checkpoint for passport review. Nicaragua and Honduras are expected to follow. Costa Rica and Mexico do not plan to change their border controls.

How this will impact illegal immigration, drug-trafficking and gang activity is not clear. The participating governments hope that such streamlining will facilitate the free flow of people, goods and commerce throughout the region and be an engine of economic growth. The U.S. government will be nervous, since part of the U.S. border control strategy is to have governments to the south acting vigorously to stop persons illegally crossing borders on their way to the U.S.

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