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Mexican President Vicente Fox Talks Immigration With President Bush Last November; Fox With Canada's Prime Minister Martin on Friday.

—UNITED NATIONS VIDEO: Mexican President Vicente Fox Adresses 60th U.N. General Assembly Session, September 14, 00:12:32

Americans Should Prepare for Surge of Mexican Migrants

Due to Mexicoís inability to compete with the United States or Canada, its agricultural sector is nearing collapse, and according to this editorial from Mexicoís La Jornada newspaper, this will mean only one thing: more migrants risking life and limb to cross an increasingly hostile American frontier.

EDITORIAL

October 1, 2005

Original Article (Spanish)

Californians Protest Illegal Immigrantion in 2001

Although the remittances of our fellow citizens from the United States constitute a relief for the finances of the country, the costs of migration are far too high. Between January and November of 2004, Mexico received over $15 billion, a figure greater than all foreign investment or the income from tourism. But there is another aspect of this situation: thousands of workers dead trying to cross northern frontier, the disintegration of rural families and the loss of the identity and culture of the migrants.

Death by starvation and dehydration in the desert in the hazardous border zone are some of the most heart-rending aspects of migration. Ever since the U.S. government program Operation Guardian began in California 11 years ago, 3,600 people have perished, according to statistics amassed by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. But the People United Coalition, also of California, puts the number close to 10,000. The strategy of Operation Guardian is to diminish the flow of migrants into that state. This it has failed to do, as Mexican migration has remained steady over the past decade. According to the Coalition for the Defense of Migrants, Operation Guardian "has been a deadly waste of time": contributing to the demise of 385 people so far in 2005, 13 more than in all of last year. Neither the Mexican nor the United States Government has taken responsibility for these deaths. On the contrary, American authorities have taken even more drastic measures, including the construction of walls along the border that force undocumented people to take ever more dangerous routes.

Migrants also pay a high price in terms of living conditions in the north, including in labor contracts. In Canada, many of the farmers enrolled in the Program for Temporary Agricultural Workers live in ramshackle houses without basic services, putting their health at risk. In addition, they are exploited, as their employers donít respect the terms of their contracts, including extending the duration of the working day (they are often forced to work more than eight hours), cutting break periods, reduced medical services (they have to pay despite having insurance), a reduction in the agreed-upon labor periods, and the exposure to dangerous substances without the proper training or equipment. Worse still, many migrants that protest these conditions are put on black lists and are never again offered contracts. If this is what happens with legal contracts in Canada, one must wonder at the reality faced by migrants in the United States, where the great majority are undocumented.


Bush Learns of New Border Security Measures in 2002

To top it all off, the migratory flow [to the United States] will increase due to the agricultural disadvantages of Mexico in relation to its North America Free Trade partners (NAFTA).† Our country simply cannot compete with the economic power of the U.S. and Canada, which is translated into enormous inequalities in terms of subsidies, productivity, access to technology, the supply of raw materials for production, and even climatological conditions (better rainfall patterns) and natural resources (the availability of arable land).† Consequently, in 2003 the gross value of farm production per worker in Mexico was $3,678.2, while in the United States it was $75,148.5, and in Canada it totaled $58,092.5.†

This panorama, in addition to revealing an increasing food dependency, also shows that Mexican farming is on the brink of ruin. Not only canít our agricultural sector compete, but it is also in danger of losing the bulk of its labor force, a situation that will become acute in 2008 when under NAFTA, the sector is opened completely. The costs of migration, high already, will soon be even graver.


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