Friday, June 6, 2014

Old Economic Policies Shape Today’s Migration Tragedies

This is the thing that is so frustrating about our immigration policy debate. We hold it as though it is domestic policy only, as though it has no relationship to U.S. foreign policy and global economic behavior.

By Rinku Sen Share, ColorLines
May 1, 2014

In “The Accidental American,” I write about Apolinar Salas, who had been a dishwasher and prep cook in New York City restaurants for more than a decade when I met him. Salas had grown up on his family’s two-acre farm in Puebla, Mexico, where they grew beans, corn and peanuts. They used to grow just what they needed to eat and to sell at local markets to earn enough for school clothes, supplies, medicine and other necessities. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) changed Salas’ life forever, bringing subsidized corn products from the U.S. into Mexico, raising the price of food, and pushing 2 million small farmers like Salas out of business. The government offered subsidies for growing sugar cane instead, but, as Salas told me, “you can’t eat sugar cane.” So he left for New York City, where he joined many people from the state of Puebla working in restaurants. [...]

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