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The US and its labor requirements

An agreement is needed in which the Mexican and American governments can get directly involved to ensure the respect of human and labor rights of immigrants
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
16/08/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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To leave one's country to immigrate illegally into the United States, searching for better opportunities, is a high-risk endeavor.

Human trafficking gangs are only interested in their high rates and then they leave immigrants to their fate when something doesn't go as planned – the case of the immigrants who were crammed into the container of a truck in San Antonio, Texas, is an example of this. The ones who manage to find a stable job in the country are constantly living in fear of deportation, which would imply abandoning years of hard work.

Paradoxically, those who immigrate legally under an employment contract don't have many assurances either. It's enough to remember the Bracero Program, which existed for more than 20 years between the decades of the 40's and the 60's and ended with claims of workers who never received the savings fund which was deducted from their wages. After years of legal battle, they received a percentage of those resources.

Presently, the situation isn't all that different. EL UNIVERSAL publishes today a story of mistreatment, exploitation, and injustices against a group of Mexican immigrants who legally entered the US with a work visa and arrived in California to work in agricultural fields. When the harvest was over, they were moved to Washington State to perform their same work, yet despite the high temperatures, the company didn't provide water or a roof during the fruit picking season. One of the workers, who suffered from diabetes, perished. Despite the request of his colleges to get him timely medical attention, their request was denied on the grounds the employers weren't responsible for his health.

For them and other immigrants more, there is an official inattention and lack of guidance so they are able to demand their rights be upheld in a foreign country.

Regarding the renegotiation talks of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which start today in Washington, it's evident we need an agreement on temporary workers in which the Mexican and American governments can get directly involved to ensure the full respect of human and labor rights of those who are sent to work in agricultural fields.

Mexico and Canada have an agreement on temporary workers that only in 2015 allowed more than 21 thousand people to work in the agricultural sector. This agreement can be used as a reference to reach a similar one with the US.

American fields need Mexican labor. Within or outside NAFTA, an agreement is needed to provide order and safety for the thousands of Mexican workers in American fields.

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