I've heard this phrase used to describe a traffic stop for Hispanic Americans by police with no articulable reason for the stop. I've also heard it used as a derogatory term for bad drivers who are of hispanic origin. But, it might actually be an appropriate description to give to the excuse provided by the government to justify it's latest move to ban Mexican Truckers from our highways.
First, a little background information. In 1994, President Clinton agreed to the terms in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - a treaty negotiated by President George H. W. Bush and superseding the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. What NAFTA did was create a Free Trade Zone consistent with the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization's objective of open trade among nations. More specifically, the NAFTA Treaty signers agreed to eliminate tariffs on all products among the countries (so far, the United States, Canada, and Mexico) over a period of fifteen years. The core requirement of NAFTA was that the nations could not discriminate with foreign good or services trade. This means that you cannot discriminate with regard to tax policies, cannot put indirect tax in excess of what you put on your own domestic products, or cannot pass any laws or regulations regarding sale, use, transportation of goods (anything) that treats a like foreign product less favorably than a like domestic product. This last part was important, because there was a concern that countries would partake of "national treatment," and would respond by protecting themselves with measures at home that would protect their goods. If one country does that, then the other member countries could do that, and then there'd be no Free Trade Agreement, which, of course, is the goal of NAFTA, and there'd be restrictions to open trade, which is contrary to the goals of the GATT/WTO (all of which we are signatories). There are some restrictions, but nothing that is of consequence to this post. NAFTA, contrary to what many say, is not a bad thing. We aren't losing jobs to India because of NAFTA, and our economy has grown quite a bit since its inception. Additionally, Mexico (which did benefit a little more initially) has become one of our top trading partners, which has contributed not only to its economic growth but increased our exports to them, as well.
Back a few years ago, there was a case brought up under NAFTA regarding trucking. The case, known as the Mexican Trucking Case, dealt with (surprise) Mexican Truckers. You see, the United States tried to ban all Mexican trucks from operating in the United States (transporting goods) on the premise that the trucks are not yet proven safe, and that Mexican standards are lower than US standards. The idea went to hearing, and the United States lost, because the ban was overbroad - just because the standards are lower doesn't mean that every Mexican truck would not meet U.S. Standards. The standards not being the same did not mean that the trucks from the different countries were not in "like circumstances," and the Mexican truckers should be allowed to file applications the same as American and Canadian truckers could.
You'd think that would be the end of it. But, no. Yesterday, the Democrats in the Senate approved a bill to ban Mexican trucks from American roads. Their reason? Because the Mexican trucks are not yet proven safe. Canadian truckers have no problems, and American truckers have no problems, but we can't let those damn Mexicans in to steal our jobs. As the article notes, over the ten years since the Mexican Trucking Case, the United States has allowed ONE Mexican truck carrier to come in. Strange, that. But we're not supposed to think there's any attempt to limit competition, or that there is some discrimination at work. The ban comes from safety, not from Driving While Mexican. Right.
NAFTA, contrary to what many say, is not a bad thing. We aren't losing jobs to India because of NAFTA, and our economy has grown quite a bit since its inception. Additionally, Mexico (which did benefit a little more initially) has become one of our top trading partners, which has contributed not only to its economic growth but increased our exports to them, as well. We need to ensure that we hold up our end of the deal, to make sure it works all around.