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Broken U.S. immigration system is a “constant source of friction” between U.S. and other countries in the Americas

April 22, 2012

The Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue is a think tank whose purpose is to “convene [key] leaders to help build productive ties among Western Hemisphere nations.” A recent report highlights serious challenges in the relationship between the U.S. and its neighboring countries in the Americas. The report identifies the U.S. immigration system as one significant problem area.

The inability of Washington to reform its broken immigration system is a constant source of friction between the United States and nearly every other country in the Americas. Yet US officials rarely refer to immigration as a foreign policy issue. Domestic policy debates on this issue disregard the United States’ hemispheric agenda as well as the interests of other nations.

Latin America economies are on the rise. Brazil is the most dominant power, with the sixth largest economy in the world. By 2050, it is projected to be the world’s fourth leading economy, followed by Mexico. Recent years have seen a great expansion of the middle class in Latin American countries, with poverty and inequality diminishing.

In light of these changes, regional views on a variety of issues, including immigration, are worth noting. According to the report, the broken U.S. immigration system is “breeding resentment across the region.” Construction of a physical barrier between the U.S. and Mexico is a sore point.

Latin Americans find the idea of building a wall on the US-Mexico border particularly offensive.

The report goes on to note that passage of the DREAM Act would be welcomed not only by those of Latino heritage in the U.S. but also by Latin American citizens who would view it as a serious step toward addressing immigration problems in the U.S.

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