Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama on NAFTA and Mexico

at obama's second town hall in north carolina a resident asked what was the link between NAFTA and mexico. here is what obama said (paraphrased):
when the u.s. passed nafta no one thought that our agriculture system would flood mexico with cheap food. their farmers were destroyed. huge numbers of mexican farmers were displaced. they came here. you can't blame them. i understand the anger about immigration. but employers are purposely hiring undocumented workers to avoid paying living wages to american workers.
these folks from mexico are just trying to survive and eat. we're not going to send everyone back. in my hometown, we have polish immigrants and irish immigrants who aren't necessarily legal. the money we spend rounding up people, locking them up and sending them out is not going to happen.
to remedy the problem: have undocumented workers register to work, pay a fine, learn english, pay back taxes, go to the back of the line for legal residency, give them a pathway to legal status. we've got to work with mexico to so that they're doing right by their workers. a guy name slim from mexico is the second richest man in the world. the income inequality is greater there than it is here. a lot of them would rather live there if there were living wages.