Tancredo Won't Run
In an unusual moment of lucidity, Tom Tancredo has said he probably won't run for President in 2008, as he's already done about as much damage as he can. He's still running to retain his seat, despite his self-imposed term limit.
Actually, I don't think what he's put into motion is a negative thing. The immigration issue, as Amy Walter, senior editor at the Cook Political Report, said, has "taken on a life of its own." And as often happens in fiction, Tancredo's creation may run wildly afar from his ideals.
The protests and the upcoming gringo boycott are bringing the "invisible people" out into the open to empower themselves. And I think a lot of people already know that enforcement alone isn't going to solve anyone's problem.
For one thing, a wall is a demoralizing symbol to many of us who associate walls with political oppression and don't want to emulate certain other oppressive regimes.
For another, the idea of rounding up millions of people for deportation would be another demoralizing and logistically impractical task -- I hate to break Godwin's law, but Hitler had no moral constraints in how he rounded people up, but he still couldn't get 12 million people in the 12 years he was working on it. And his boat didn't have a hole in it, with people still trying to get into Germany despite the roundups, as they would in the U.S.
And I think most people realize that enforcement only would be like treating a rotten tooth with morphine. Sure, the pain might lessen for a while, but that tooth still has to be fixed.
NAFTA is a sore tooth.
NAFTA has brought enormous benefits to some sectors in Mexico, as exports to the United States have increased---particularly in the apparel sector and in non-traditional crops such as flowers. Others, most notably the poor, rural population, have experienced declining real wages, fewer employment opportunities and increased rates of poverty.
While the jury is still out on the effects of the agreement nationwide, poor, rural Mexicans are the clear losers under NAFTA. Agricultural liberalization has displaced hundreds of thousands of small farmers in rural Mexico, many of whom have migrated to cities or to the United States.
New employment in the Maquiladora sector is poorly paid, lacks benefits, discourages union activity, and often violates basic worker and human rights. Further, export processing zones in which foreign companies assemble products for sale abroad create few forward and backward linkages to the Mexican economy, and therefore do little to advance national development and poverty reduction goals.
People who wonder why there is such passionate opposition to CAFTA - an expansion of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to six more nations - need look no further than the decade of results of NAFTA in Mexico. NAFTA displaced 1.5 million Mexican peasant farmers. Many of these displaced farmers sought industrial jobs, causing Mexican wages to drop by 20 percent. Communities and families were torn asunder as those who lost their livelihoods undertook the perilous journey to the United States in hopes of finding some way to support their family.
What benefits can come for Guatemalan workers when CAFTA will roll back the stronger labor rights require-ments existing under current U.S.-Central America trade law? What will become of the 60 percent of Guatemala's popula-tion that lives in small farming communities when CAFTA allows the dumping of subsi-dized food exports into our countries? And what can a priest say to the family of a person ill with HIV-AIDS for whom the generic anti-retroviral medicines that CAFTA's patent rules forbid is the only hope? The Bush Administration demanded that before the U.S. Congress would even consider CAFTA, our nation had to revoke a law that helped ensure access to these medicines for the more than 78,000 Guatemalans living with HIV-AIDS. Is this a good neighbor policy?