Foreign Policy Blogs

The Other Side of Immigration (2009)

It’s the economy, stupid.
That mantra from Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential race pretty much sums up the core issue when it comes to immigration from Mexico to the United States.
Many Mexicans abandon the countryside in their native country to seek a better life in the United States. The main reason: they cannot compete with agricultural producers in the United States.


Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was put into place about 20 years ago, Mexican farmers have suffered. While the agreement supposedly pushes for free trade, many United States farmers receive subsidies from the government, putting their Mexican counterparts at a disadvantage.
The Other Side of Immigration addresses that issue as well as others.
It shows how families are affected by the emigration – legal and otherwise – of many young men to the United States. There are some villages in Mexico populated mostly by women and children because the men are in the United States.
Those men send billions of dollars back to their families every year. In fact, emigration helps the Mexican government because those remittances stave off domestic reaction to unemployment.

coverart2And then there’s corruption.
Every election cycle change is promised but rarely delivered. And, many politicians – from local officials to the federal level – dole out government grants to cronies.
This documentary is well-rounded. It does a nice job of examining all the angles when it comes to the cause and effect of emigration.
It also looks at the issue exclusively from  the Mexican perspective and is refreshing because of that.
The Other Side of Immigration is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]