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Noah Smith

The Sensible Border Fix Protectionists Will Hate

If Biden wants to stop the flood of asylum-seeking immigrants, the U.S. can use tax breaks and trade policy to encourage companies to build factories in Central America.

A better fix than "Don’t come over.”

A better fix than "Don’t come over.”

Photographer: Alfredo Estrella

The U.S. is once again facing a border crisis — a wave of asylum seekers from Central America. President Joe Biden knows that the only long-term way to make the issue go away is to improve the economies of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. But doing that will require more than foreign aid, it will require U.S. companies to actually put factories in those countries.

The Biden administration has little desire to let masses of asylum seekers into the country. The border will not be opened. In an interview last month, the President’s message to the desperate citizens fleeing violence and poverty in their countries was: “Don’t come over.”