Chapter 5-4: Migration

Before the opening up of North American markets, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed by Congress in 1986, expanded the existing H2-A visa program, creating the current H2-A program, which allowed U.S. agricultural employers to bring in workers from Mexico and other countries, giving them temporary visas tied to employment contracts. Smithfield and other large companies that relied on heavy manual labor took advantage of these reforms and actively recruited workers from Mexico.

The North American Free Trade Agreement of 1999 did not benefit small farmers in Mexico. They ended up being squeezed out by U.S. companies like Smithfield who were able to drive down prices and effectively put out of work over 4,000 Mexican pig farmers.

Casa de la Flecha, Socorro

If people want to stop illegal immigration, then go after every company that hires them. Then we will quickly realize that most immigrants, legal and illegal, are hard working women and men who just want to make a better life for themselves and their families. Every year tens, sometimes hundreds, of Mexicans die of heat exhaustion and dehydration in the barren border landscape just to have the opportunity for a better life.

But perhaps even more remarkable is that of the 11.2 million people of Mexican origin living in the United States upward of $38 billion is sent to Mexico each year to support the basic necessities and financial investments of 1.6 million Mexican Households. This is taking care of family. Walls never kept anyone out. The Great Wall of China did not keep the Manchus from toppling the Ming dynasty. Hadrian’s Wall did not keep the Scots from marauding into northern England and the Maginot Line was a complete and utter failure. And what was the result of the Berlin Wall? Walls divide but they do not conquer, and they do not keep people out.