NAFTA cited as immigration factor |

NAFTA cited as immigration factor

Brady McCombs

GREELEY – Prof. Norberto Valdez said the effects of North American Free Trade Agreement on the Mexican economy is a factor in the influx of unauthorized migrants to the United States in the past decade. Valdez, a Colorado State University associate professor in the anthropology department, recently talked about his time and studies in Chiapas, Mexico, studying the Zapatista movement. He said the presence of U.S. corporations in Mexico after NAFTA came into effect in 1994 has caused the a loss of jobs, land and the country’s natural resources.As Mexicans lost jobs on farms and in rural areas, they begin to migrate in search of work to survive. Many have migrated to Mexican cities, others to factories along the United States-Mexico border, and some have crossed the border and landed in places like Greeley where agriculture provides jobs to immigrants ready to sweat and work in the sun. “To understand domestic policy it’s imperative we understand foreign policy. They are interlinked. They are interrelated,” Valdez said. “If we are concerned about immigration, we need to understand that they are here because we are there.”Valdez, an activist for 25 years and a university professor for 30 years, has done research in Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Cuba. He said the Zapatistas taught him an important lesson about illegal immigrants:”All people aspire to live life with dignity,” Valdez said. “When that dignity is threatened people will rebel. We can learn that on that side of the border or here.”Vail, Colorado

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