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Undocumented immigration: paying the price of NAFTA

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  • A study published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in December 2009 explains how this worked out in practice. ("Rethinking Trade Policy for Development: Lessons from Mexico under NAFTA")
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  • The Economics of Immigration Reform
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Emile Schepers, People's World

The rationale for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), which came into force Jan. 1, 1994, was Ricardian (after the Anglo-Italian classical economist David Ricardo, who thought that each country should specialize in the production that most suited its climate and other characteristics).

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Much of Mexico's rural population was engaged in maize and wheat farming, which is much more productive in the vast plains of the central United States and Canada than in Mexico's more rugged terrain. So the idea was to push the grain farmers off the land and move them into specialized fruit and vegetable farming, and into manufacturing which was supposed to be attracted to Mexico by the cheap labor of displaced farmers.

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The Economics Of Immigration Reform, Matt Corley and others, Think Progress
While anti-immigrant groups use anecdotal evidence to erroneously claim<http://cis.org/UnemploymentAmongNativeWorkers>  that legalization would be disastrous for the American worker, passing comprehensive immigration reform would not only strengthen the labor market, it would promote needed economic growth.