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NAFTA helping drive immigrants to El Norte

Date published: 5/5/2014

I recently took a college course on immi- gration, its laws and movements created to promote reform.

After taking this course, I realized that I did not know as much about immigration as I thought I did. Then I wondered how many other people were in the same situation as I.

Many Americans seem to classify and treat unauthorized Mexican immigrants as criminals, and, as I learned, this is not the case. Most unauthorized immigrants are here trying to survive and are doing no harm to others.

When we look at the push factors that lead Mexicans to migrate to America, they include violence, war, lack of jobs, low-paying jobs and unsafe conditions--these factors make it nearly impossible to survive and support a family in Mexico.

As Americans, we cannot simply place all the blame on Mexico for its economic status. We must take part of the blame. America pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was not beneficial for Mexico, as it was promised to be.

It kept poverty rates high, wages remained low, it made cropping harder for farmers and has not been what was promised.

Clearly, we cannot fully blame NAFTA for all of Mexico's problems, but it surely did make things worse. It also contributes to the large numbers of unauthorized immigrants in America because it made living situations unbearable in Mexico.

NAFTA is not the only way we are harming Mexico's economy, but it was an important agreement that promised to benefit their economy.

As we look further into reform and the number of deportations for unauthorized immigrants, I suggest that we also look into how we can help the Mexican economy--because if living there was sustainable, we could see a decrease in immigrants risking their lives to cross the border rather than suffer in their own country.

Brooke Turner