On another critical issue, McCain has emerged as a vocal proponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), despite the fact that one of its major supporters, Robert A. Pastor, admits that, in one key respect, it has been a colossal failure.
Pastor, a Democrat who runs the Center for North American Studies at American University, says that NAFTA has resulted in economic integration and increased trade but has “fueled immigration by encouraging foreign investment near the U.S.-Mexican border, which in turn serves as a magnet for workers in central and southern Mexico.” He says that many of the Mexicans who don’t find jobs in northern Mexico are coming into the U.S. Hence, he admits, our illegal immigration problem is being exacerbated by NAFTA.
Pastor, who has advised every Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, proposes to “fix” NAFTA through a $200-billion North American Investment Fund “to close the income gap between Mexico and its northern neighbors, because that is the only way to stop immigration and establish a community.” In other words, we pay them to stay home. Pastor opposes a border fence to keep them out.
Pastor’s “community” is the “North American Community,” in which the three countries have a common security perimeter, a common external tariff, and “North American institutions” to work on such issues as transportation, infrastructure and education. Critics think that, with good reason, this amounts to a proposed North American Union. The Bush Administration’s secretive Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is facilitating this process and Mexican trucks are now traveling over U.S. highways, supposedly in compliance with NAFTA, despite a Congressional vote against such a program.