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US-MEXICAN RELATIONS: Mexican Immigration to the US



The issue of Mexican labor in the US has stimulated a lot of long messages, so I can summarize only a few. Tim Brown writes: " I agree with the substance if not the tone of many of Linda's comments. The main problem is that the American public wants cheap agricultural products and cheap agricultural and service sector labor, and in a free market few are willing to "vote" with their pocketbooks to pay an extra 10 cents for a head for lettuce or 25 cents for a pound for tomatoes in order to give farm workers living wages. I've seen fairly well done studies that indicate that liberals shop prices as much as conservatives, and do not heed the consequences of their shopping decisions, so calling conservatives names like hypocrite is in reality a matter of the pot calling the kettle black".

John Wonder writes: " Why should the American public accept these people for the benefit of hoteliers, restauranteurs, and others who want cheap labor? Maybe the general public will wake up, but I am dubious. I am particularly contemptuous of the argument that even illegal immigrants pay taxes".

Elias Castillo writes: "Linda Nyquist needs to take a more realistic view of Mexican immigrant farm labor. First, if all that labor disappeared little would happen to the U.S. economy. We would experience a slight rise in supermarket prices for farm products due to the raise in wages that farmworkers would win. Right now, farmworkers are being cruelly exploited by farm corporations who know there is a never ending supply of desperate workers from Mexico willing to replace any fellow farmworker who even thinks of forming a strong labor union. A union would end the terrible hardships now facing farmworkers. Second and simultaneously, the dishwashers, hotel workers and janitors would also experience a decent rise in wages because they would be able to unionize once the endless supply of workers from Mexico was cut off. It is a very mistaken belief to espouse that the American economy owes much to these workers".

My comment: In defense, Linda repeats her arguments. In this debate, an important factor has been left out: the dream which turns out to be an illusion. Many illegal Mexican immigrants have paid large sums to crooks who fool them into believing that they can get them into the US or legalize their situation. In New York there is the case of one who demanded $250 or more for this service, but simply pocketed the money. He will go to jail. The same is true of Africans trying to get into Spain. Yesterday a boat carrying illegal immigrants was simply abandoned by the crook, who had stolen it. He escaped; the boat people all drowned. There is the case of the Chinese who all died while being smuggled into England inside a truck, They had paid some $2,000 each for the "service",

The people are victims of an illusion. It is a universal phenomenon. California was peopled by migrants from the east who thought they would strike it rich here. The majority were worse off that when they left home. It is the same mentality which fools people into buying a lottery ticket. Determination and hard work, not luck, are the way to success. In Querétaro I lived in the best hotel in the town. It was started by three poor immigrants from Galicia (the despised gallegos!), who started selling goods from a hand truck, then bought a store, and finally built the hotel. President Fox is urging Mexicans emigrating to the US to invest their money in a Mexican business. The three gallegos set an example.

Ronald Hilton - 8/23/01


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