NAFTA and Mexican immigrants in the US
In the last decades, migration has been an important topic in North America. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was promised as a solution to the patterns and processes of Mexico-US migration. “During the 1993 battle over the North American Free Trade Agreement, the proposal's promoters' most politically effective argument was that NAFTA wouldkeep Mexicans out of the United States” (Jeff Faux, 2003). The opposite has happened since then, even with stronger border control policies by part of the US. Even with the 80% of Mexican trade being accounted for trade with NAFTA partners, the agreement does not provide any social contract, which leads to a lack of aid to Mexican´s labor, health and environmental standards (Hudson, 2009; Faux,2003). Therefore, it can be argued that NAFTA accelerated Mexico´s out-migration, due to reasons that will be examined in this essay.
Firstly, an analysis of the impacts NAFTA had on Mexican labor market will be conducted. Secondly, the essay will look at the impact of immigrants on the American labor market. Thirdly, it will considerpossible solutions for the migration problem. Finally, the conclusion will confirm the argument presented in this introduction.
The implementation of structural adjustment policies by the Mexican government in 1994 involved deregulation and the elimination of subsidies and incentives. That was the beginning of the reduction of public spending and elimination of social programs. With thesigning of NAFTA, the country was to live a strong commercial and, ultimately, economic relation with the US. As mentioned before, the trade relations between the two countries “broadened substantially since NAFTA´s implementation” (Hudson, 2009), but that is basically due to the maize production, as other products and industry sectors are not a significant part of this relation. NAFTA´s purpose isto expand opportunities for capital investment, and it is paid little attention to worker mobility (Fernández-Kelly and Massey, 2007). What the supporters of NAFTA forgot to take into consideration was the fact that the US and Canada heavily-subsidized farm industry would start competing with Mexico´s farm industry (Hudson, 2007). Throughout NAFTA´s existence, “Mexico´s growth has been far toosmall to provide jobs for its people and its economy has been virtually stagnant” (Faux, 2009). It is a fact that some have had economical advantages over the agreement, but NAFTA does not protect all groups in society, especially in Mexico. As Faux (2003) claims, “NAFTA is not the cause of all Mexico's economic troubles, but it has clearly made them worse”. The situation Mexico finds itself withinthe middle and lower classes, with low wages and growing labor force and the growing violence due to the drug cartels, it is hard to deny the probability that more than “half a million of Mexicans will cross the border annually for the next 15 years” (Faux, 2007).
“Against all logic, we wish to create an integrated, continent-wide economy characterized by the free movement of all factors ofproduction except one” (Massey, 2003). With 12 million Mexicans living in the US, the latter works hard to make sure they do not receive any illegal immigrants crossing the border. There are different opinions towards the influence of immigrants in the American´s labor market being positive or negative. One can argue that the immigrants are taking jobs that belong to Americans, but the reality isthat for the American employers, the illegal immigrants are an opportunity to reduce the costs of a company/industry. On the other hand, the immigrants have to face a lot of problems due to the fact that they are not recognized as a citizen in that society and therefore don´t have rights as one. Hudson (2009) claims that the employment has had an increase in the US since NAFTA´s inception and...
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