How Open Is the U.S. Border?
By Bryan Caplan
How open is the U.S. border? There are many measures, but my favorite is: How many months’ wages do immigrants pay smugglers (“coyotes”) to get them across the border?
Coyotes’ current price is about $3000 per person.
I can’t find good recent data on Mexican farm workers’ wages, but back in 2001 the U.S.D.A.’s estimate was $900/year.
Even if we round that number up to $1500/year, it looks like Mexicans pay about 2 years’ income to get here.
You might want that number to be even higher. But anyone who claims that the U.S. border is “already open” (yes, I’ve heard this many times) is dead wrong.