Unfulfilled Promises: NAFTA’s Effects on Mexican Emigration into the United States

Author: Gaston Ocampo
Major: International Relations, Business Administration
Approved: Spring 2018
Status: Completed

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was negotiated in January of 1993 by George Bush, Carlos Salinas and Brian Mulroney in order to create jobs and modernize the economy between Mexico, the United States and Canada. Nowadays, after having been in effect for more than two decades, this Trade Agreement has started to stagnate in a political and social realm. Despite having promised to “export goods, not people” from Mexico, this treaty has not accomplished what President Salinas promised back in 1991. More than the two other countries, Mexico has seen rising inequalities that are directly caused by trade relations with the north; this inequality crippled the development of the Mexican economy and led the country to suffer from inflation and unemployment which are the major causes of its socio-economic hardships. As a consequence, a massive driving of illegal immigration to the United States has been taking place, leading people to look for better opportunities abroad. This project will analyze the effects that NAFTA had on the Mexican economy and its consequences on the imminent failure of a dream for prosperity. My research will be divided into a theoretical section analyzing the economic and political aspects of this phenomenon and a field work where I will gather testimonies of Mexican immigrants as they try to accomplish their American Dream. The purpose of this section is to elucidate the human factor driving my project.