Thursday, July 31, 2008

Operation Scheduled Departure

The Bush administration has launched a new initiative in its war on NAFTA refugees by inviting them to deport themselves at their own expense. Surrendering would incur no penalty other than to return to one's home country, where the same conditions that encourage border-crossing -- landlessness, joblessness and hunger -- remain.

The move may be seen as a last-ditch effort for the White House to expel as many "illegal people" before the end of the Bush term. The administration's prior strategy -- raiding private homes with tactical assault teams in order to "capture" illegal suspects -- proved less popular with local communities.


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened Mexican markets to subsidized US agro-exports -- like corn -- which undercut local farmers. It also eliminated Mexican subsidies for small and mid-sized farming, displacing many peasant communities, and consolidated land-holdings under multinational conglomerates. This had the anticipated effect of pushing Mexican peasants either into domestic manufacturing or, in many cases, over the border and into the US.

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