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NEWS & OBSERVER: Forced migration from Mexico

September 21st, 2009

I agree with the Rev. George Reed of the N.C. Council of Churches: We need comprehensive immigration reform (Sept. 10 Point of View article). The system is broken. We also need a change in our trade laws.

Last February, I led a Witness for Peace delegation to Mexico to investigate the root causes of immigration. We found that because of the impact of trade policies such as NAFTA on Mexico, many Mexican citizens are forced to migrate in search of work and better wages.

We need trade policies that will decrease poverty and unemployment so that Mexicans and Central Americans will be able to earn sufficient money to care for their families and stay in their communities.

We need a new immigration system that will allow visas for workers to enter the U.S. legally through the ports of entry, a system that allows the undocumented a pathway to citizenship as well as a system that will not continue to lock up over 400,000 people a year for minor offenses.