The enactment of past trade deals like NAFTA and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) caused tens of thousands of people, many children, to seek refuge in the U.S. in recent years because of the economic woes caused in their home countries.
Now, a new AFL-CIO report says America could be in for another round of migration if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is enacted. It says the Pacific Rim trade deal would continue the troubling trend of not protecting workers and putting the economies of members at risk.
“The TPP is a recipe for destabilizing communities, perpetuating low wages and stifling labor rights—all of which are factors driving migration,” it states. “The neoliberal trade architecture of deregulation, coupled with strong investor protections, allows companies to outsource labor-intensive components of their supply chains to locations with weak labor laws and low wages.”
Among those who will be hit hardest by such a deal are migrant workers, who will become displaced and are prime candidates for forced migration northward. Labor provisions will not address their rights and increased power for corporations included in the TPP will hamper their ability to earn a living in their home countries.
The U.S. has seen how this plays out before, and it is not pretty for any of those involved. Just two years ago, the effects of CAFTA caused thousands of desperate children to flock to the U.S. border seeking safety. Many Latin American family farmers sent their young ones north after they couldn’t support their families due to the falling price of crops.
These “CAFTA Kids” wound up being sent all across the country. While corporations profited from the agreement, U.S. taxpayers ended up on the hook for these childrens’ educational and health needs. Of course, that pails in comparison to the dramatic life change these young people were forced to endure.
America is at risk of a repeat performance if TPP becomes a reality.