Immigration – Who Really Benefits?
Why do people move from one country to live in another? In trying to understand this trend, one needs to understand the reason behind a person’s motive to seek economic fulfillment. All countries, in one way or another, are affected by immigration, its policies and agreements. As such, countries must work together in order to address immigration issues, both for the authorized and undocumented immigrants. The two important aspects that people should understand before forming an opinion about immigration are the (negative) impact of policies on immigrants and locals alike, and that immigration drives the US economy, particularly in the areas of wages and employment opportunities for American-born workers.
The creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) indirectly generates a negative impact on the Mexican agricultural farmers. According to the article entitled “The North American Free Trade Agreement” taken off the US-Canada-Mexico government website “The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)”, the “agreement was created in 1994 and considered to be one of the world’s largest free trade zones ….Its purpose is to provide economic growth and rising prosperity for Canada, the United States and Mexico”. However, this was proven not to be the case for Mexico. Prior to NAFTA, small businesses in Mexico relied heavily on their
agricultural produce such as corn plantation and hog farming. These farmers were able to make a living from their agricultural produce and livestock farming. In the article “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration” by David Bacon, Bacon highlights how David Ceja, an immigrant from Veracruz, was able to buy the necessities by just selling the pigs that he reared. However, that all changed once NAFTA came into effect. The free trade agreement allows the U.S., Canada and Mexico to trade goods based on supply and demand. As a result of NAFTA, Mexico imported more pigs from the U.S. due to its low pricing. The low price strongly affects the Mexican farmers and small business owners who rely purely on their agricultural produce and livestock farming. According to the article “Do U.S. Economic Policies Fuel Latin-American Immigration?” by Peter Jesserer Smith, Smith cites that “Mexican farmers are not able to compete with the overall low cost of U.S. imported goods”. The costs of imported U.S. pigs are much lower than locally produced pigs, thereby, making it difficult for Mexican farmers to “compete effectively” (Smith). This lower cost ultimately drives small farmers out of their businesses and, Mexican workers out of their livelihoods.
The subsidies that U.S. farmers receive from the government contribute to the low cost of goods exported to Mexico. “Mexico was flooded with agricultural imports exported at prices below production costs”, said Timothy A. Wise, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and...