David Bacon on Migration and Globalization

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Award-winning author and photojournalist David Bacon spoke here in D.C. last night at the AFL-CIO about his new book Illegal People: How globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants.

Bacon is emphasizing the need to frame the immigration debate in this country within its larger context (economic globalization).  It's globalization that is the cause of so many people having to migrate in the first place.  If earlier migrants (i.e. people already here in the U.S. whose families migrated in previous generations) understand the reason why people in other countries are having to come here now, I think we will be able to have a more rational debate about how to create more humane policies and reduce human suffering all around.  Globalization and immigration are different parts of the same story.  To speak of one without the other is to give only a partial telling of that story. 
The story is this: People migrate (both within and across borders) for the same reasons:
economic necessity.  The same globalization (of neoliberal economic policies  --embodied in treaties like NAFTA) that causes folks in rural Mexico to have to migrate to the cities and/or cross the U.S. border is also responsible for workers in Michigan losing their jobs when their factories close down and move overseas.  Indeed sometimes those workers become migrants themsleves moving within the U.S. in search of better economic opportunity.

The globalization of neo-liberal economic policies has spelled economic disaster for poor people in impoverished countries as well as for working people in this country.

These economic realities will have to be addressed if we really want to reduce illegal immigration to the U.S.  Economic development (and putting an end to economic policies that help the rich at the expense of the poor) in poor countries is vital.  People also have the right to NOT have to immigrate.

If you missed Mr. Bacon you might catch him soon if your city is listed on his book tour OR tune in to C-Span this Saturday.   BookTV recorded the talk.

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This page contains a single entry by lividsnails published on September 11, 2008 8:03 PM.

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