But the fact is that allowing North Americans to move more effortlessly across the borders would help alleviate our contentious domestic immigration battles.
We have more than 10 million undocumented immigrants in this country because we didn’t create a realistic, legal avenue for the number of Mexicans who would — and should, given our level of integration — come to the United States over time. Moreover, by erecting a wall along the border and making crossings so difficult, costly and dangerous, we have interrupted the old “circularity” of migratory flows, trapping millions of workers on this side of the border.
If we established a North American passport and adapted our legal framework to economic realities, allowing people to move within our North American economy, we wouldn’t need to debate whether to offer more than 10 million people U.S. citizenship. Even a few years ago, immigration was a far more polarizing issue in states like Arizona. Now the tide is slowly changing. More Republicans are recognizing that their prior stance on immigration needs to change if they want to win over voters in the next presidential election.
A North American passport would reflect the unique relationship and shared interests among our nations. In the face of growing competition from rising powers elsewhere in the world, simply taking our geography for granted and focusing our attention elsewhere is no longer a viable option.