NAFTA, Maquiladoras, and Mexican Immigration in the late 20th Century

Read the transcript.

Donald Trump, in a September 2016 presidential debate, said, “NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.” But NAFTA was not addressed in any of his executive orders, and now President Trump’s intentions for NAFTA are unclear. Today Averill and Elizabeth continue our series on US immigration with this episode about the North American Foreign Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Maquiladoras and Mexican immigration in the 20th century. Trump has said little about what improvements he wants, apart from halting the migration of U.S. factories to Mexico. This this conversation is also closely tied to rising nativist sentiments in America about Mexico and Mexicans in general, and cannot be separated from the discussion of wall building, and actions our President has taken to place restrictions on immigration. In our current political climate, this rhetoric and vitriol has had a dramatic impact on the lives of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, which has everything and nothing to do with the actual role of the economy in all of this.

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Show Notes and Further Reading

Bacon, David. “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration.” The Nation

Chicago Booth. “Free Trade.”

Enstad, Nan. Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure.

Gereffi, Gary, David Spener, and Jennifer Bair. Free Trade & Uneven Development, edited by Gary Gereffi, et al., Temple University Press, 2009.

Human Rights Watch. “Mexico’s Maquiladoras: Abuses Against Women Workers.”

O’Conner, Ann-Marie. “Maquiladora Women Finding Freedom.LA Times.

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