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Law and Business Review of the Americas

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Mexican Migrant Workers, United States


Since its adoption in 1993 at the insistence of U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration, the labor side accords to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been extensively examined, occasionally ridiculed, and often dismissed as irrelevant. Most analysis tends to focus on the disappointing results of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) in affecting meaningful changes in the conditions of workers in Mexico. In this article, I aim to take a different approach. My analysis focuses instead primarily on the efficacy of the NAALC process when complaints are made about alleged labor law violations in the United States. To provide some context for this analysis, I will briefly examine two recent complaints submitted to the NAALC's National Administrative Office (NAO) in the United States regarding the rights of Mexican migrant workers in U.S. territory. The central contention of this article is that the NAALC offers disappointing results when applied against the United States as well, due to a fundamental conflict in the functioning of the NAALC within regional economic integration that encourages increased labor migration.