He provides a clear analysis of the destructive impact NAFTA had on Mexican family agriculture, which triggered more migration to the U.S. This seasonal migration, which was undocumented but readily tolerated to meet U.S. agricultural labor needs, was then re-defined as an "illegal" threat to the U.S. and met with increasingly punitive responses by the governemt.
We criminalized it and began to make that a much more--take a much more punitive look at that approach to that on the part of the US government, with huge cost to human life, just the deaths on the border, to breaking up families. It used to be that with a seasonal flow of migrants, family members would come work the fields in California or wherever and go back home. Now families are permanently broken up because it's too risky to go back and forth and back and forth. They come and they stay. It's too risky to bring their family members. So it's devastating to families as well." Nov. 26, 2010