Immigration has become a toxic issue in the United States, hijacked and misconstrued to the point of hysteria, while the causes and solutions are traceable and quantifiable but have been ignored. The most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression has increased the stress of families across the United States, drastically affecting the way that the immigration debate is targeted.
As we witness the widespread vilification of immigrants in the U.S. and the anti-immigrant policies that it has inspired, we turn a blind eye to the role that U.S. policy has had on uprooting millions of Mexicans and Central Americans from their homeland, where almost 80 percent of undocumented immigrants come from. A key component missing in the immigration debate is a focus on the root causes of the problem. In “Disposable Workers: Immigration after NAFTA and the Nation’s Addiction to Cheap Labor,” I call attention to the root causes of immigration: international economic policies that have triggered a massive displacement of workers and the U.S.’s addiction to cheap labor.
Immigration reform is a priority and must happen soon but, so far, only short-term solutions have been proposed. For immigration reform to really work, all the factors influencing migration must be addressed simultaneously. There is little point in changing the immigration procedure without also changing the economic forces behind that migration.
There is a strong relationship between free trade policies between the United States and Mexico, the grave reliance on cheap labor of various economic sectors in our economy, and the drastic increase of undocumented migration to the U.S. over the last two decades.
The U. S.’s addiction to cheap labor and powerful business interests have established a deregulated system that is voracious in its demand for cheap and exploitable labor, impacting immigration flows into the U.S. At the same time, the anti-immigrant movement and the immigration enforcement policies that have emerged out of several state legislatures have made undocumented workers more vulnerable and exploitable, living the new American nightmare.
This is why we need a serious discussion that focuses on overhauling our labor, trade, and immigration policies so we can address the root causes of economic insecurity and increased migration and improve the economic opportunities and conditions of all workers in the process.
When NAFTA was being negotiated it was presented on both sides of the border as the magic solution to solve the region’s economic problems. However, NAFTA proved to be a big failure for working people on both sides of the border. Overall it drove wages down in Mexico and the United States, exacerbated the wealth gap and displaced Mexican farmers off of their land and into the already overcrowded cities in Mexico, or on a path to migration to the United States.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com