Does NAFTA Contribute to Illegal Immigration? The North American Free Trade Agreement just might be a contributing factor to increased illegal immigration from Mexico. This is because the agreement seems to favor the United States, to Mexico's detriment. By the terms of the agreement, both Mexico and the United States have to remove tariff's on each other's agricultural exports by 2008.(1) Apparently, the agreement doen not consider subsidies, which is odd, considering that subsidies have the same aggregate effect as tariffs. "Mexican farmers say hefty agricultural subsidies in the United States give American white corn and beans an unfair advantage over the Mexican market, which depends in large part on small-scale and mostly subsistence farmers. As Mexico's staple crops, corn and beans also carry immense symbolic importance."(2) For this reason, the "[l]eftist presidential candidate [Andrés Manuel López Obrador]. . . opposed eliminating tariffs on U.S. white corn and beans, showing no allegiance to a deal he sees as harmful to Mexican farmers."(3)
Well, I oppose leftists in principle, but I don't exactly have warm feelings toward NAFTA. Treaties like that tend to delegate the Commerce powers of the United States Congress to the Executive branch and, more disturbingly, to international bodies. It states clearly in the Constitution that "Congress shall have Power. . .To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."(4) I am extremely uncomfortable with such delegation of power, especially where it transfers our authority to regulate public policy to a body that is not subject to the United States Constitution.
(1) Stevenson, Mark. "Mexico hopeful takes hard line vs. NAFTA" (AP), Business Week, 2006 June 17, para. 2, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8IAAL3G1.htm?sub=apn_news_down&chan=db.
(2) Ibid. para. 5.
(3) Ibid. paras. 1 & 2.
(4) U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3.
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