Amy, with a perspective from the ground in Mexico, in this week’s Phoenix:
Miguel Pickard, who works for a social-research organization in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, says that the mainstream US media often overlooks how neo-liberal policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have contributed dramatically to the rise in Mexican immigration. Following NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, subsidized US agricultural products flooded the Mexican markets, and Mexican farmers couldn’t compete with the cheap imports.
Immigration to the US became a “survival strategy,” Pickard says, for campesinos that could no longer make money selling corn and other agricultural products, as they had for many years. As a result, immigration to the US from Mexico tripled after 1994, leading “millions” of people to make the trip, he says.
NAFTA’s impact illuminates how the source of the Latino immigration “problem” is sometimes closer to home than we are willing to admit.