Statement on CAFTA treaty
The Honorable Tom Delay
Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
Dear Representatives Delay and Pelosi,
As the U.S. House of Representatives takes up consideration of the Central American Trade Agreement (CAFTA), I would appreciate your consideration of the reservations regarding this agreement by the members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. We conclude that this agreement has unfortunate, unintended implications for our country because it will aggravate our already serious problem with illegal immigration, and it will likely create new pressures for increased numbers of foreign temporary workers in competition with American workers.
The negative implications of the CAFTA provisions for illegal immigration to the United States are likely to be caused by the same effects that have generated increased illegal immigration from Mexico under the North American Free Trade Act. As the 2000 Census revealed, the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico has increased substantially since the adoption of NAFTA, with no end in sight. Illegal immigration from Central America is already too numerous without adopting trade policies that will likely displace and motivate more subsistence farmers from that region to find seek illegally in our country.
You must certainly realize that any action that aggravates illegal immigration across our borders not only does harm to our poorest workers and to our society at large, but it also further exposes the public to the threat from international terrorism.
Furthermore, even though CAFTA does not have any explicit visa provisions that would create additional unfair competition with American workers, the trade dispute tribunal provisions create a ready avenue for Central Americans to seek trade sanctions against U.S. companies any time that Central Americans are denied visas, and sanctions would pressure U.S. companies to request Congress to lessen visa issuance standards and increase visa ceilings to end the sanctions. Thus, the absence of direct visa provisions in CAFTA only disguises the likely pressures for increased visas for Central Americans to take U.S. jobs.
Please share these concerns with your colleagues as you address the CAFTA issue.