Arizona border businesses lose key Mexican clients, or, How To Kill Another Job

By Tim Gaynor Tim Gaynor Sun May 23, 8:03 am ET

NOGALES, Arizona (Reuters) – Adalberto Lopez’ family-run musical instrument shop in the bustling Arizona border city of Nogales sells guitars and accordions to foot-stomping banda musicians and mariachis who cross up from Mexico to shop.

But in mid-May, the music stopped in the store. Mexican customers who account for almost all its sales stayed away as part of a two-day boycott to repudiate Arizona’s tough new immigration law.

“The street and my shop were empty,” said Lopez, of the “Day Without a Mexican” protest on May 14 and 15.

The law may make life more difficult for border retailers already hobbled by the recession and long border crossing waits, and Arizona’s economy could take a hit from lost business.

But on a larger scale, experts believe the overall trade between the United States and Mexico, valued at around $1 billion a day, is unlikely to suffer from this latest wrinkle in the often strained U.S.-Mexico relations.

Passed last month, the law requires state and local police to check the immigration status of those they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally. Opponents on both sides of the border say it is a mandate for racial profiling.

Mexico President Felipe Calderon sharply criticized it during a visit to Washington last week. Standing beside U.S. President Barack Obama, Calderon said Mexican immigrants make a “significant contribution to the economy and society of the United States” but many face discrimination “as in Arizona.”

The measure has triggered legal challenges, convention cancellations, and, most recently, snubs by some of the 65,000 Mexicans who cross into the desert state each day to work, visit family and shop, spending $7.4 million, according to a recent University of Arizona study.

“The people in Mexico have been fairly insulted by this legislation, as have most Latinos in the state of Arizona,” said Bruce Bracker, president of the Downtown Merchants Association in Nogales, who said local shops’ sales fell 40 percent to 60 percent as Mexicans stayed home during the boycott.

NO TRADE SLOWDOWNObama has spoken out against the law, which is backed by a majority of Americans.

The United States, Mexico and Canada created the world’s largest free trade block with the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, although the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship has been jarred by job losses and charges of protectionism.

Trade between the two neighbors is already ruffled by a trucking row. Mexico is waiting for the United States to let its trucks circulate again on U.S. roads, ending a spat that led it to slap duties on $2.4 billion in U.S. goods.

But analysts and customs brokers say the furor over the state law is unlikely to disrupt the $21 billion annual flow in goods over the Arizona-Mexico border, between clients scattered across northwest Mexico and the United States.

“Once you work so hard to get a business enterprise up and operating, how much are you willing to reverse that based upon something that someone relatively remote from you does?” said Rick Van Schoik, director of the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

“Life goes on regardless of the newsy political conversation that’s going on,” he added.

Customs brokers in Nogales, meanwhile, who clear goods ranging from semi-conductor chips to fresh produce headed over the border by truck and freight train, said their clients were more concerned about the sputtering economic recovery than the migrant law, which is due to come into effect on July 29.

“The economy is one thing, but that’s an ongoing situation for everyone,” said Nogales customs broker Terry Shannon Jr.

“But I have not had any dialogue with my clients at this point where they have called me up and point-blank (asked) ‘What do you think of the law? Where are we going with this?'”

I’ll tell you where, or at least one spot on the road to ruin…

Mexican trucking is unregulated, not safety checked, too often uninsured, and often allows UNLICENSED drivers to operate equipment they are not qualified to run.

We do not need these ticking bombs who are not subject to U.S. DOT or NHTSA regulation roaming our roads, endangering innocents with 40 tons of machinery that has never passed a safety inspection, hurtling down our roads at breakneck speeds.

These ‘drivers’ often work for a few pennies a day.

The Construction industry has been decimated by the dirt cheap labor that scurries across the border.

Lowering the wage structure of the entire industry, illegals destroyed what once where good paying jobs.

Carpenters, Drywallers, Cement Finishers, Form Setters, and many more trades that used to be able to support families, and even send their kids to college, are now scut labor dirt wage jobs.

All because of illegals who live 10 or 20 to a room, usually don’t pay taxes, send all their cash home to Mexico and drain our social treasury.

They have killed the industry for Americans.

Americans who have mortgages, and insurances, and other legitimate bills to pay.

These are NOT jobs Americans don’t want or refuse to do.

They are now jobs that American CAN’T AFFORD to do.

17 million American Trucking Jobs are now at stake over the allowing of Mexican trucks into the U.S., only the takeover will not be nearly as long and drawn out as the Construction Industry was.

When the huge American trucking firms see they can use uninsured, unlicensed, uninspected, dirt cheap Mexican trucking to haul goods across our nation, how long do you think it will take for the ‘Giant Sucking Sound’ to kill those 17 million jobs?

Politicians who tell you different are liars.

They have new money in their pockets to tell you lies.

Just like all the lost manufacturing and construction jobs, trucking will head to ‘In-Sourced’ labor and vehicles who operate at 10th the cost of American run fleets.

When the large companies move to In-Sourced, the small companies will have to follow, or die on the vine, unable to compete.

If you think I’m wrong, go to ANY construction site in the U.S. and try and talk to a worker.

You better speak Spanish.

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One Response to “Arizona border businesses lose key Mexican clients, or, How To Kill Another Job”

  1. Y’know, we wouldn’t have HALF of these problems if the cost of living/doing business had just stayed down to the level that it was in the 1960s.

    What ever happened to ‘To America, By Americans, FOR Americans’?

    Thanks from Ralph, http://draaiorgelfan.wordpress.com, and this is the U.S.A. where the language of business/daily life should be – ENGLISH!

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