Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mexican Truck Drivers Now Allowed to Drive in US

A major provision of the 1994 NAFTA agreement is ready to be put into place. Mexican truck drivers will no longer be required to stop their trucks and transfer their trailers/loads to US drivers at the US/Mexican border. We have been assured that Mexican truck drivers will all undergo rigorous background checks and drug testing and that everything of course (as usual) will be fine. There had been significant opposition to this from trucking unions and those concerned with national security but they were for the most part quietly ignored.

Previous arguments in favor of bringing or allowing in large numbers of Mexican workers have been that they tend to obtain employment as farm laborers or groundskeepers and thus are not likely to compete with higher paying American jobs. Well, that argument does not apply in this case. Now we have a situation where a position that pays a decent wage is being directly competed with by a foreign employee inside the US.

Guillermo Perez, the Transport Manager of  Transportes Olympic in Apodaca, Mexico, is reported by the Associated Press to have stated that, among other things, "There's no way to avoid the law" and noted that he does not find it "weird" that US truckers and companies would want to put a stop to the program "because they now have to compete with us".

Aside from the fact that we have yet again watched jobs, this time better paying ones, being outsourced, I cannot but think that our border security has, yet again, been hamstrung. Even under the old system we had to deal with smuggling via trucking. Now we are told that these trucks will be electronically monitored and that there is nothing with which we need to be worried. The drug cartels in Mexico have created a situation where merchants are routinely approached and asked the question "Plomo o Plata"? meaning lead (bullets) or silver (bribe). The phrase is admittedly catchy and has a neat ring to it. It does not seem realistic to hold that those that those who desire to smuggle drugs, people, or weapons will not feel more comfortable plying their trade when the driver for the entire trip lives with his family in the same country as the bad guys and can be made aware that he can keep them safe by keeping quiet.

Teamsters President James Hoffa, who of late had been quite busy playing the part of a 1950s Argentine labor leader fanatically idolizing his country's version of Juan Peron, made an appearance at the San Diego border crossing with Democratic and Republican politicians to protest the crossing of the first truck. 
I wonder if he expended half the energy on this issue that he did last month. That event consisted of  screaming to Obama that he and his union were the President's personal "army" and stating that they were ready to "march" at his command. He continued with referring to others not on the President's side politically as "Sons of B-----s". What US President in the past would be considered to have an ego or personality that would not feel revulsion at such an horrific outburst? The nation has the appearance of dismantling itself from so many different angles.

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