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US and Mexico relations vital

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Arturo Sarukhan, ambassador of Mexico to the United States, spoke to the World Affairs Council in Sacramento this week about our challenges and opportunities with Mexico. It is easy to put the entire blame on Mexico for our immigration problems and to criticize the North American Free Trade Agreement. One of the criticisms of NAFTA is that our cheap corn exports to Mexico have put the small farmer out of business. Ambassador Sarukhan’s answer is there are problems on both sides of the border. The U.S. subsidies for corn in ethanol, makes it possible for us to sell corn at a cheaper price so small farmers in Mexico cannot compete. In Mexico, as well as here, large companies are squeezing out the smaller farmers. Mexico has not addressed this domestic problem. Problems still exist including security at the border and undocumented workers. Labor mobility was left out of NAFTA. The workers needed to do the work that our citizens will not do have no easy way to cross the border during the harvest season and return home. Since it can cost as much as $5,000, and seven to eight attempts to illegally cross the border, the undocumented worker does not return to Mexico but sends money back to the family. To combat the drug problem, the U.S. needs not only to increase border security, but to stop the flow of guns and drug money to Mexico. It is no accident that there are 700 licensed gun shops at the border and $8 billion bulk cash crosses illegally to Mexico yearly. On the other side, Mexico has to put the drug cartel out of business. Both Mexico and U.S.A. have elections in 2012 and we may hear a lot of wild rhetoric about undocumented workers. It is my hope that these campaigns will address the problems in a positive way. The North American countries are very dependent upon each other and need to cooperate in domestic and global affairs. Karen Tajbl, Auburn