“I support the Task Force report and its recommendations aimed at building a safer and more prosperous North America. Economic prosperity and a world safe from terrorism and other security threats are no doubt inextricably linked. While governments play an invaluable role in both regards, we must emphasize the imperative that economic investment be led and perpetuated by the private sector. There is no force proven like the market for aligning incentives, sourcing capital, and producing results like financial markets and profit-making businesses. This is simply necessary to sustain a higher living standard for the poorest among us – truly the measure of our success. As such, investment funds and financing mechanisms should be deemed attractive instruments by those committing the capital and should only be developed in conjunction with market participants.”
Here are some highlights of the CFR report endorsed by Heidi Cruz:
“To that end, the Task Force proposes the creation by 2010 of a North American community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity. We propose a community based on the principle affirmed in the March 2005 Joint Statement of the three leaders that ‘‘our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary.’’ Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly, and safe. Its goal will be to guarantee a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America. …
Our economic focus should be on the creation of a common economic space that expands economic opportunities for all people in the region, a space in which trade, capital, and people flow freely. …
WHAT WE SHOULD DO BY 2010
• Lay the groundwork for the freer flow of people within North America. The three governments should commit themselves to the long-term goal of dramatically diminishing the need for the current intensity of the governments’ physical control of cross-border traffic, travel, and trade within North America. A long-term goal for a North American border action plan should be joint screening of travelers from third countries at their first point of entry into North America and the elimination of most controls over the temporary movement of these travelers within North America.” ..
To make the most of the impressive pool of skill and talent within North America, the three countries should look beyond the NAFTA visa system. The large volume of undocumented migrants from Mexico within the United States is an urgent matter for those two countries to address. A long-term goal should be to create a ‘‘North American preference’’—new rules that would make it much easier for employees to move and for employers to recruit across national boundaries within the continent. This would enhance North American competitiveness, increase productivity, contribute to Mexico’s development, and address one of the main outstanding issues on the Mexican-U.S. bilateral agenda.
Canada and the United States should consider eliminating restrictions on labor mobility altogether and work toward solutions that, in the long run, could enable the extension of full labor mobility to Mexico as well. …
WHAT WE SHOULD DO NOW
• Expand temporary migrant worker programs. Canada and the United States should expand programs for temporary labor migration from Mexico. For instance, Canada’s successful model for managing seasonal migration in the agricultural sector should be expanded to other sectors where Canadian producers face a shortage of workers and Mexico may have a surplus of workers with appropriate skills. Canadian and U.S. retirees living in Mexico should be granted working permits in certain fields, for instance as English teachers.
Move to full labor mobility between Canada and the United States. To make companies based in North America as competitive as possible in the global economy, Canada and the United States should consider eliminating all remaining barriers to the ability of their citizens to live and work in the other country. This free flow of people would offer an important advantage to employers in both countries by giving them rapid access to a larger pool of skilled labor, and would enhance the well-being of individuals in both countries by enabling them to move quickly to where their skills are needed. In the long term, the two countries should work to extend this policy to Mexico as well, though doing so will not be practical until wage differentials between Mexico and its two North American neighbors have diminished considerably.