NAFTA and is replacement, the USMCA, failed to address guest workers. The border cuts in two one of the world’s largest transnational circular labor labor markets.
An important observation made by Sam Peak in Politico: that the many men are trying to cross the border for work. He writes.
“The overwhelming majority of people who are being expelled under the Title 42 policy haven’t been families seeking asylum, but rather single adults fleeing extreme economic deprivation and in search of work. In February alone, more than 90 percent of Title 42 expulsions were single adults — the vast majority from Mexico.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has acknowledged this reality and urged Biden several times last year to work with him to expand guest worker programs for the U.S., Mexico and the Northern Triangle. Though the Biden Administration recently suggested a willingness to do so, it has not yet provided any details.
It’s critical that Biden’s post-Title 42 strategy includes increased access to guest worker programs.”
Peak calls for reform of the guest worker programs, mainly I surmise the H-2A program for farm workers. (Go here and here.) He says “The program is already riddled with more than 200 time consuming, duplicative and complex rules that shut out many businesses. According to the State Department, the sponsorship process alone costs the average U.S. farmer more than $10,000.”
The large surge of illegal border crossings in the 1970s, which prompted the search for immigration reform leading to the 1986 act, was per Peak due to the ending of the Bracero system of guest workers.
The even greater surge of illegal crossings in the 1990s was due to ineptitude of this 1986 law. (Go here.)