News Release

How NAFTA Pushed Mexican Migration

mpr-nafta-BorderExplorerWednesday night, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton discussed immigration and other issues in a debate organized by Univision with the Washington Post and carried by CNN. There’s a Republican debate scheduled for Thursday night organized by CNN and the right-wing Salem Radio Network.

While there’s been extensive discussion in debates of immigration and some discussion of NAFTA-style deals, virtually ignored is how the latter helped to cause the former. The following analysts show the connections:

MELEIZA FIGUEROA, [currently in the Brazilian Amazon] melfig at berkeley.edu
Figueroa is a Ph.D. candidate in geography at the University of California at Berkeley and a producer at KPFK in Los Angeles. She recently wrote the piece “Hillary Clinton Cries Crocodile Tears for Latin American Immigrants.” In addition to trade and migration, Figueroa also stresses U.S. backing of coups in Latin America, the recent assassination of an indigenous environmental activist in Honduras (see “Cáceres Murdered — Honduran Activist who Stood up to Clinton-Backed Coup Regime“) and how governmental policies lead to environmental degradation.

MANUEL PÉREZ-ROCHA, [in D.C.] , manuel at ips-dc.org, @ManuelPerezIPS
Associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Pérez-Rocha wrote the articles, “NAFTA Pushes Many Mexicans to Migrate,” and “NAFTA’s 20 Years of Unfulfilled Promises: The trade deal has become an engine of poverty in Mexico.” He recently wrote the piece, “The Moral Case Against the TPP.”

Pérez-Rocha states: “Trump’s idea of a wall is pure nonsense, inhuman and takes us back to the dark ages. Mexicans and Central Americans contribute more to the economy of the U.S. than all his unproductive enterprises together.”

He has written: “Of course, hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have vanished since automotive and tech companies moved their production across the border in search of much lower wages.

“This was supposed to boost employment in Mexico. Instead, NAFTA has become an engine of poverty in the country, forcing millions of Mexicans to migrate to the United States in search of jobs.

“Why?

“Under NAFTA, cheap subsidized corn from the United States flooded Mexico, making it impossible for millions of Mexican farmers to compete. Government support previously given to small farmers was withdrawn and directed to big agricultural exporting corporations instead. ….

“Unfortunately, most factories that opened in Mexico are merely assembly plants, not production sites. … NAFTA not only decimated many Mexican small businesses, it also helped to destroy entire national industries. Before NAFTA, Mexico produced trains, tractors, and other industrial goods. They generally weren’t exported, but that production made the economy more self-sufficient. …

“Meanwhile, Mexican consumption of U.S. goods has skyrocketed, with Mexicans shopping in big box stores like Walmart and Costco. At these stores, even food items emblematic of Mexico like tortilla chips and salsa are brought in from the United States. The result? Millions of small-scale producers, mom and pop shops, and other traditional Mexican employers were scrapped.”