News Release

Fencing the U.S.-Mexico Border

The New York Times is reports: “President Bush signed into law on Thursday a bill providing for construction of 700 miles of added fencing along the Southwestern border, calling the legislation ‘an important step toward immigration reform.'”

The following analysts and activists are available for interviews:

DEEPA FERNANDES
Fernandes is author of the forthcoming book Targeted: National Security and the Business of Immigration.
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KARLA QUINONEZ-RUGGIERO
Quinonez-Ruggiero is director of Adelante Alliance, a non-profit organization assisting Mexican immigrants in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

JUSTIN AKERS CHACON
Justin Akers Chacon is a professor of U.S. History and Chicano Studies in San Diego, California, and author with historian Mike Davis of the new book No One Is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border.

He said today: “The main problem with things like building a wall is that it doesn’t take into account the causal factors for migration. Also, it’s not really designed to stop migration, but rather to channel it to certain areas, over mountains and deserts. That mostly increases the black market, human smuggling and death.

“Since NAFTA, Mexico has dismantled most of its agrarian support programs which subsidized small and subsistence farmers and fed the urban and rural poor. Similarly, much of the state-owned industrial sector, like the steel industry, which was heavily unionized, was privatized and/or shut down. So you have an increasing population of displaced peoples in the rural regions coupled with declining wages in the urban areas. In the early 1970s, the average wage for a Mexican worker was as high as 1/3 of a U.S. worker — now that’s shrunk to 1/7 to 1/15.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167