He spent the past few years interviewing migrant workers about their lives and dreams for the future.
They do not hope to become U.S. citizens, leaving behind their hometowns in Mexico. They do not dream of becoming American business owners or entrepreneurs. They do not imagine that, if they work hard enough picking berries in Washington state or pruning vineyards in rural California, they could become wealthy.
Rather, the indigenous Mexican migrant farmworkers I know want to be Mexican citizens, living primarily in their hometowns in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. They want Mexico to be their home. They do not want to have to cross a mortally dangerous desert in order for them and their families to have a chance to survive. They want to live in their ancestral lands with their relatives.
We must work toward fair enforcement of worker protections for those already here, regardless of their immigration status. Finally, the most basic (and long-term) solution for many immigrants would be transnational development so that those who so desire are able to stay in their home countries. This should include renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement…in ways that foster the ability of Mexican subsistence farmers to survive at home.
Read his entire column here.