Immigration is growing into a major issue. Demonstrations have been held in hundreds of cities.
When people take to the streets it is often a sign of democracy beginning to flourish. Democracy requires the public be informed and involved, and movements must be inclusive and vibrant.
Segments of the business community want access to cheap and exploitable workers. Consequences include increasing corporate profits and driving down wages and benefits for workers.
Tyrannical elements in the U.S. want to criminalize immigrants, and xenophobes and jingoists want to keep the U.S. “pure.”
Human rights are the basic issue. A critical question is around human rights and corporate “rights.” At a fundamental level of morality, human rights trump corporate rights because human rights are for flesh and blood beings — corporations are abstractions.
Fundamental to free trade is the free movement of labor. Currently, there is only the free movement of capital.
Note that people in privileged professions in Mexico are not crossing the border to compete with privileged sectors in the U. S. So, a Mexican doctor can come to the U. S. and work as a day laborer for dirt wages, but not as a low-paid doctor to undermine “elite sector” wages.
U.S. labor rightly predicted NAFTA would create lower wages and benefits for workers in all three countries and profit bonanzas for large corporations, as was the intention.
A “fair trade” agreement and international worker solidarity could improve wages and benefits for all workers, but such proposals are disappeared.
In corporate “rights” agreements the poorest suffer most. When lives and communities are destroyed people flee to “greener pastures.” This predictable consequence of NAFTA led to militarizing the U.S. border.
These are vital matters at the heart of immigration discussions.