Immigration is a complex problem that frustrates everyone. It will not be fixed by sending all the poor Mexicans back to Mexico, as some propose, or by any other simplistic solution. Nor does it help to declare that all Mexicans who came here seeking work are criminals.
I would suggest the first place we should look when we want to make progress is with the question of justice and moral rightness. The US is not necessarily on the side of the angels.
Consider this: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was enacted in the Clinton era. No one knew exactly how it would turn out, but it seemed like something that would be beneficial to both countries. That’s not what happened.
One of the things we had forgotten is that billions of US tax dollars are paid to subsidize certain farm crops raised by huge corporate farms, corn being the main crop. These are not “farmers”, but major corporate powers with many thousands of acres of cropland, and for many decades they have been getting billions of dollars a year intended to preserve the family farm. Their products are cheap, even as they reap billions in profit.
The 2011 corn crop is expected to be 13.5 billion bushels. It’s hard to get a grip on a number that size. Each bushel weighs about 55 pounds, if I recall correctly, so just 100 bushels weighs some 2.75 tons, as much as a big pickup truck. So our corn output weighs about as much as five million pickup trucks. Five million.
When NAFTA came into being, what did we do with this mountain of subsidized cheap corn? We sent many tons of it to Mexico, where it promptly plunged virtually all of Mexico’s five million corn farmers into abject poverty, since they could not compete with billions of dollars of tax subsidy.
This was not just a minor inconvenience. These people and their families suddenly had no income at all, so of course they all moved to the cities, mostly Mexico City, to look for work. Mexico City had a population of over 15 million, and suddenly it had a huge increase in population, all of them in deep poverty.
So the plain fact is that “free trade” is not exactly what it says in the treaty. It’s only free on the Mexican side, and almost all the benefit flows to us. NAFTA had immoral consequences we didn’t think about enough, and we have done nothing since to correct that.
Now, if you were a former corn farmer whose perpetually hungry family was living in a slum shack in Mexico, D. F., what would you do? For many, since Mexico itself could not afford to help, the only possibility was to strike out for El Norte, the US.
What is it like to come to El Norte? The trip will take you months of extreme hardship and it is very dangerous. You will spend or lose every penny you have. Your chances of being killed by extortion gangs, human smugglers, miscellaneous criminals, or accident, is high. If you do somehow reach the border, you will find hostility and danger on both sides of the border. If you are caught, you will be sent back, and the only possibility will be to start over. After as many as a dozen tries, you may be lucky enough to find seasonal stoop labor picking crops. Your pay will be below minimum wage. You will live in rundown shacks, maybe without running water, and eat whatever you can. You will probably be here, under these terrible conditions, alone, away from the wife and children who are everything to you, for many years, decades. You may make $11,000 a year if you are lucky, and you will send half of it home, because it will be the only thing keeping your family alive. And many US citizens will think you are a criminal who must be punished.
If you still don’t understand what this means, read Enrique’s Journey, by Sonia Nazario. Here are a few people who should:
Obummer does not care about the economic drain this will cause on this country. He will collapse this country any way possible to achieve his socialist govt. What can’t all the douches understand . ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL. Go back and start from the beginning thru proper immigration. GO NOW !!!!
I’m getting sick and tired of this “Immigration Reform” debate, if you even want to call it that. They are not “undocumented workers” who “do jobs Americans are otherwise unwilling to do”, and our economy would surely not “collapse without them”. They are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who put a serious drain on our healthcare system, in addition to our public education system, towards which they contribute no taxes towards…
So, POOR Mexicans sneak into America illegally and because they remain poor for the same reason they were poor in Mexico, they will rise up against America because America didn’t fix their problems when they entered America illegally? ATTENTION MEXICANS: Stay in MEXICO and have a REVOLUTION against YOUR oppressors. America is FREE and PROSPEROUS because there were people in America who were willing to fight and die for freedom. What happened to Mexico?
But never mind that most of what these kind folks say is simply incorrect, and they do, in fact, pay taxes, and have already had their revolution. Maybe we are looking for immigration reform in the wrong place. Maybe what we should be doing is updating NAFTA to disallow the unfair advantage our tax support gave industries like Big Ag. We should certainly end the long outdated farm subsidies that are killing our national budget regardless. Maybe Mexico should back out of NAFTA entirely.
We owe Mexico more than an apology. Maybe the best way to keep poor Mexicans out of the US is to find ways to help Mexico give them jobs.
Don’t forget that Mexico has a very long and complex history itself, including the revolution that “Ameritianity” apparently has not heard about. There were advanced native cultures south of us long before the violent Spaniards arrived to rape the land and enslave the people. And don’t forget that the culture of Mexico for several hundred years has been one of a very rich upper class (the richest man in the world lives there) who often care little about the rest of the population.
So it’s not so simple as calling poor Mexicans criminals and abusing them, as is done in Arizona. We do need them. Those who believe that stoop laborers are stealing jobs from Americans should make themselves available for the jobs they say are being stolen by these Mexican criminals. So far they haven’t.
Not long ago a big grower advertised heavily for “American” crop pickers. There were almost no takers.