A Latino Agenda for the Whole Hemisphere is a Matter of Principle
On September 23, Grupo Salinas and the University of Denver presented a report to the U.S. Congress: “An Agenda for the Future.”
The document, presented to presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain, congressmembers and Hispanic leaders, details the current state of the Latino community in five key issues: education, the economy, health, immigration and voter participation.
The report particularly emphasizes the need for immigration reform. History teaches us that societies generate more value and well-being with the free movement of capital and goods. It is absurd that labor, the most important resource of all, is an exception to that rule.
Capital and labor are completely complementary: tractors are useless without a driver, and farmers grow a lot more if they have the appropriate machinery. The United States has a surplus of capital, and Mexico has a surplus of labor. The exchange of these resources is logical and just plain makes business sense. U.S. businessmen know this and take advantage of the Mexican labor force “under the table,” while populist politicians —on both the left and the right— pretend that immigrants are a burden for society. Nothing could be farther from the truth. On the other side of the border, it’s sad that Mexico does not take advantage of our “demographic bonus,” and even sadder when people are unemployed.
Regardless of trade and economic policies, human beings everywhere deserve to have their basic human rights respected. There is no justification for Mexicans being treated like criminals in the U.S. simply because they lack immigration papers.
In contrast with the prevailing biased perception, the Latino community is not a burden on U.S. society. On the contrary: the Latino community pays large amounts of money into the social security general fund, and with its taxes contributes to financing public services that its members are often denied. Not to mention the fact that millions of small and medium-sized businesses greatly benefit from the availability of responsible workers.
In this atmosphere of discrimination, Grupo Salinas supports a Latino Agenda that includes basic human rights for our workers. It’s a matter of principle.