The wave has ebbed

One of the great myths is that we in the US are being overrun with illegal Mexican immigrants. That’s why Republicans in Congress continue to insist that we can prove the border is 100% “secure” before allowing any illegal to become legal. This despite fencing, drones and a doubling of the Border Patrol. And, this despite the fact that Mexicans are not lining up to get into El Norte as they used to.

The rate of illegal immigration into the US has slowed to a trickle. Some demographers believe there is a reverse migration, that Latin Americans are going home as fortunes improve south of the border.

The biggest numbers of immigrants lately to Storm Lake are not from Mexico but from Asia and Africa.

Along come a couple prominent Harvard professors, Pierpaolo Barbieri and Niall Ferguson, in a Wall Street Journal essay arguing that Mexico’s star will rise faster than Brazil’s.

The Mexican gross domestic product is growing faster than Brazil’s. Returns from the Mexican stock market over the past five years have tripled the returns from Brazilian stocks. “Jobs are being created so fast in Mexico — nearly two million since 2010 — that the problem of illegal immigration to the United States may soon be history,” the duo wrote.

They credit market-based reforms in telecommunications and energy as keys. They also cite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico’s labor costs for US production are back below China’s.

The government is making some headway against corruption, and advanced against some of the major drug cartel leaders. That war is far from won but there are signs of progress.

A growing middle class is predicted.

Passing an immigration reform bill will help adjust the realities of the past 20 years. People who came here illegally are now dug in. The border actually is secure. But cops in Storm Lake still aren’t sure who they are confronting on a traffic stop. The occupant fears deportation more than the seat-belt fine. Bringing people out of the shadows will make employers more productive and communities safer.

Railing against immigrants is a red herring.

The wave has ebbed.

Yet the largely phony battle rages. It is unlikely that a real immigration reform package will pass Congress in 2014, an election year. Too many people far from the border, such as right here in the Fourth Congressional District of Iowa, continue to operate under the misimpression that they are about to be laid underfoot by the raving hordes.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We should know by now that the truth matters little in an election year.

There is no threat to America from hard-working Latinos. Their children are the future of places like Storm Lake. Congress cannot hold them back forever. That is the repeated lesson of history in immigration: At first they are despised, until they own the place.

Keep on dreaming

We see that there is another joint cities-county meeting where they will talk, of course, about trails. They are talking trails around Alta — good! And they are talking trails all hither and yon. There is one trail that no public official is seriously talking about, and that’s where it is needed most: generally around the lake.

Bicycling is the fastest-growing recreation in Iowa, thanks to our bike-friendly terrain. We claim a desire to be the healthiest state. Yet you take your life into your own hands anytime you try to ride along the airport blacktop.

Buena Vista County does not want anything to do with a trail around the lake.

Period.

All we have suggested is a wide shoulder on the blacktop with signs clearly posted. It works well in Dickinson County, where a heavily-used trail runs alongside blacktops linking the Iowa Great Lakes. The county supervisors never can see their way clear to pulling it off.

You cannot be serious about trail development until you start talking about a safe route around the lake.