Free Trade and Immigration: Cause and Effect by Jacob Hill

Dandelion Salad

by Jacob Hill
Dissident Voice
July 19th, 2007

The just-taken Congressional action by The House leadership against enacting the free trade pact entered into by the Bush administration with Colombia represents a striking setback against President Alvaro Uribe and the US president. Nevertheless, it is a victory for probity, a blow against Bogotá’s scandal-ridden government, and a denouncement of Uribe’s indifference to human rights.

Although discussion of free trade and immigration issues has recently stalled in Congress, supporters on both sides of the aisle are attempting to revive the debate as perspectives continue to polarize.

The combination of free trade and heavy US subsidies has crippled the Mexican agricultural sector, causing impoverished former subsistence farmers to immigrate to the US by any means necessary.

Immigration is not the demon it is often portrayed as — nor is it devoid of any profound dangers to the well-being of the US, as pro-immigration forces insist.

Conservative policies of supporting free trade while restricting immigration are inherently incompatible.

In recent months, the US Congress has circumvented the will of President George Bush by delaying any action on free trade agreements with Peru and Panama. Moreover, the Congressional leadership has just decided to refuse to further discuss the Colombian free trade agreement at this time, damning one of President Alvaro Uribe’s most prized economic initiatives. Now, these issues, much like the immigration debate, will most likely not be revived until after the 2008 elections, if at all. In the meantime, it is vital that all parties involved examine the inextricable link between these two failed policies—immigration reform and expansion of free trade. As US concern over both immigration and free trade issues were reaching a fever pitch, the reality of how the latter impacts the former has not been adequately addressed. It is likely that the group most directly affected by these issues has been the rural, agrarian population of Mexico. Since 1994, the year in which the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect, immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has more than doubled, due, in large part, to the trade pact.


One thought on “Free Trade and Immigration: Cause and Effect by Jacob Hill

  1. actually, NAFTA is a perfect example of managed trade, not free trade. there are all kinds of rules and restrictions on imports, exports, etc.

    and the neoconservatives have done virtually nothing about illegal immigration and are hell-bent on dissolving our borders so they can employ the old tactic of divide and conquer. they are backing the NAU proposals all the way.


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