Jim Hightower: Immigrants Come Here Because Globalization Took Their Jobs Back There

If all of these Republicans, both nationally and in Utah, want to raise such a ruckus about immigration, maybe they should take a careful look at the roots of the problem. Jim Hightower explains.

The question that policy makers have not faced honestly is this one: Why do these immigrants come? The answer is not that they are pulled by our jobs and government benefits, but that they are pushed by the abject poverty that their families face in Mexico. That might seem like a mere semantic difference, but it’s huge if you’re trying to develop a policy to stop the human flood across our border…
…Because in the last 15 years, Mexico’s longstanding system of sustaining its huge population of poor citizens (including small self-sufficient farms, jobs in state-owned industries and subsidies for such essentials as tortillas) has been scuttled at the insistence of U.S. banks, corporations, government officials and “free market” ideologues. In the name of “modernizing” the Mexican economy, such giants as Citigroup, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and GE – in cahoots with the plutocrats and oligarchs of Mexico – have laid waste to that country’s grass-roots economy, destroying the already-meager livelihoods of millions.
…In our national imbroglio over Mexican immigration (yes, some illegal migrants come from elsewhere, but more than three-fourths are from Mexico), our “leaders” have set us up to look down at impoverished working people forced to leave their homeland and risk death in order to help their families escape poverty.
…Instead of coming down on them, why not start looking up – up at the executive suites on both sides of the border. Up is where the power is. The moneyed elites in those suites are the profiteering few who have rigged all of our trade and labor policies to knock down workers, farmers and small businesses, not merely in Mexico but in our country as well.
Immigration reform cannot be separated from labor and trade reform. We can’t fix the former without dealing with the other two.
…We must stop the exploitative NAFTAfication of such aspiring economies as Mexico and instead develop genuine grass-roots investment policies that give people there an ability to remain in their homeland. Then we must enforce our own labor laws – from wage and hour rules to the NLRB – so as to empower American workers to enforce their own rights.
…America’s immigration problem is not down on the border, it’s in Washington and on Wall Street.

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4 Responses to “Jim Hightower: Immigrants Come Here Because Globalization Took Their Jobs Back There”

  1. Ken Bingham Says:

    Mexico is one the most mineral and oil rich nations in the world. They could easily be a 1st world nation with a high standard of living for all, but unfortunately they are also one of the most corrupt nations on earth. If Mexico can fix their corruption problem, which wont happen because the government and those few lucky enough to enjoy a high standard of living have a vested interest to keep the status quo, then they too could enjoy a high standard of living at the same time living at home.

    Another reason why they come here is because we have given them so many incentives to do so. What is ironic is they leave Mexico to escape corruption only to bring it with them, not to mention encouraging our own brand of corruption such as cheap labor and lax enforcement of immigration laws.

    I certainly don’t blame poor Mexicans for wanting to come here, heck I probably would too if I were in their situation, but it has been shown that if Mexicans can prosper in their own country and if we stop giving them incentives to come here then they tend to stay in their own country. Utah is making some grave mistakes right now. Other western states are cracking down on illegal immigration while we are putting out the welcome mat. We are going to reap the whirlwind when we attract hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens because we are making ourselves a magnet for them.

    US policy should be to help Mexico end rampant corruption so they can build their middle class so that all Mexicans have a chance for a good quality of life in their own country rather than exporting their bad quality of life to the United States which threatens our quality of life.

  2. Muñoz Says:

    Nice work Hightower !!

  3. D. Sirmize Says:

    Nice. So it’s Wal-Mart’s fault Mexico is poor. Whodathunkit?

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