How Nafta Has Affected Immigration

David Simmonds

Immigration has been a very useful political football for the past three decades, summarily trotted out to rally the troops by limp-kneed elected officials whenever they are up for re-election. Most recently it was the GOP’s turn to throw some red meat to their starving jackals as they declared, “by God, we’ll build a fence”, ignoring the reality that as long as there are jobs waiting for Mexican border-crossers, no fence is going to keep them out, virtual or otherwise. Yes, big business loves that cheap labor.

Now that we are down to three viable presidential candidates, McCain, Clinton, and Obama, we haven’t heard much in their many debates on the subject. What has been discussed in more detail by the Dems is NAFTA, the trade agreement signed by Bill “Big Dog” Clinton in 1993, after years of being promoted by the Republicans and major corporations. I was a critic of it then, and even more so now.

Fortunately, the Democratic contenders now both agree that is hasn’t quite worked out as advertised, for the U.S. or Mexico. McCain doesn’t mention it often, but he thinks it’s just swell as is, and by the way, keep that big biz lobby money coming. Meanwhile, a million manufacturing jobs have moved out of the U.S., to a country with an $8.00 a day minimum wage. That really was a sucking sound that Ross Perot talked about. Since the signing Wall Street has rejoiced, Main Street has suffered. I don’t know about you, but I hang on Main Street.

A major repercussion has been a huge increase in illegal immigration, as many millions of Mexicans have slipped into poverty, especially in the rural areas where subsistence farming had been a family provider for many generations.

Ted Lewis, from Global Exchange, has written a brilliant, accurate summation on how NAFTA and immigration are directly linked, and how a new U.S. president will have a unique opportunity to  renogotiate the treaty and present programs, with Mexico’s cooperation, that will result in a Mexico that will gradually be able to create more jobs for their excellent work force. To read the article please click here: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080229/news_lz1e29lewis.html

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