One step forward for family reunification, two steps backwards for human rights and local livelihoods in Mexico? Why Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA) will not be sold on Justin Trudeau’s ‘new’ relationship with Mexico.
RAMA members are in support of any steps taken by the federal government that would benefit Mexicans working and living in Canada, and opening up tourist visas could temporarily reunite some families by making it easier for family members in Mexico to visit migrant farmworkers employed in Canada.
However, RAMA feels that these actions are part of a larger narrative about Canada and Mexico that conceals both the poor treatment of migrant workers and human rights violations and violence by the Mexican government against its own people. The tragic situation currently unfolding in Oaxaca is just one example. Looking back, a long history of trade agreements have displaced local livelihoods in Mexico, forcing many Mexican communities to look for precarious work outside of their traditional homelands (for examples, see Public Citizen
or Kolhatkar 2014).
Furthermore, RAMA feels it is necessary to point out that this move was part of a deal which opened up markets in Mexico to Canadian beef—a move that may well cause the displacement of more people and impact livelihoods negatively in Mexico, leading additional families to leave their homes for work in Canada for the very producers, consumers, and agricultural communities that benefit from the loss of local jobs and farms in Mexico.
RAMA stands in solidarity with Mexican families both at home and those spread across borders in their intersecting struggles for family reunification, accessible education for all, rights to land and labour, and Indigenous sovereignty.