News Release

Immigration: Corporate Trade Deals Root of Problem


Author of the book Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt, Gibler said today: “In current parlance, the ‘federal failure,’ or one of the many, has been to design trade policies that create unemployment and poverty in Mexico and across Latin America while subsidizing industrial agriculture and ignoring the speculative boom of the housing and construction industries. …

“Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, not only ignores the economic and political roots of mass labor migration, but harkens back to the racist laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the California Alien Land Law of 1920 and the Immigration Act of 1924. The Arizona law borders on being the legislative equivalent of hate speech: fomenting racial profiling and criminalizing migrant workers.”

Author of the book Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Bacon recently wrote the piece “Better Options Needed on Immigration Reform,” which states: “What’s wrong with the Schumer-Graham proposal? It ignores trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, which produce profits for U.S. corporations, but increase poverty in Mexico and Central America. Since NAFTA went into effect, income in Mexico dropped, while millions of workers lost [their] jobs and farmers their land. If we do not change U.S. trade policy, millions of displaced people will continue to come, no matter how many walls we build.

“People working without papers will be fired and even imprisoned under their proposal, and raids will increase. Vulnerability makes it harder for people to defend their rights, organize unions and raise wages. That keeps the price of immigrant labor low. Every worker will have to show a national ID card (an idea too extreme even for the Bush administration). This will not stop people from coming to the United States, but it will produce more immigration raids, firings and a much larger detention system.”

Said Bacon: “Grassroots immigrant rights groups want an alternative immigration bill that would end trade-related displacement. The proposals made in D.C. do nothing about the root causes of forced migration while criminalizing migrants. We need a human rights policy that ends corporate displacement while protecting the rights of migrants.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167