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The Collective
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

WaPo has an interesting piece on the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez border in today’s edition: Border Crackdown Has El Paso Caught in Middle.

One of the issues that it notes is one that is frequently under-discussed in the immigration/border security debate, i.e., the economic interchanges that cross the border daily and the degree to which security has economic costs:

“Every major auto manufacturer in the world gets the parts to their cars manufactured in Juarez or Chihuahua, from the wire harness in the dash to the lights in the overhead, the headlights, stereo system, you name it. Just about every component is manufactured here,” said Richard Dayoub, president of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

“If we take it to a point where the application of these laws in order to more secure our borders slows down commerce from Mexico into the U.S. . . . we’ll all feel it throughout our economy,” he said.

The piece also has this interesting tidbit, that puts some of the economics into perspective:

Now North America’s fourth-largest manufacturing hub — after Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth — El Paso and Juarez’s surrounding state of Chihuahua have 270,000 manufacturing jobs, three times as many as Detroit, in 400 maquiladoras, or duty-free factories, economic development officials said. About 78 percent of residents are Hispanic, and 25 percent are foreign-born. Families send breadwinners across the bridge daily to work, and children to study.

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