Before attending a delegation to meet maquiladora workers:
P A R T O N E:
1. Fill out an Application/Registration to travel with the delegation organizers, Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, or “ATCF“. If you need financial assistance fill out the request for a waiver of delegation fee.
2. In the application provide us with information about your background and interests, basic health, any dietary or disability issues organizers need to know about.
3. U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires a valid U.S. passport to cross the Mexican border.
4. Get a release/permission from your parents if you are a minor or dependent college student.
5. If you do not live in or cannot drive conveniently to Austin, Texas to be at the mandatory orientation session on the night before the delegation, buy a roundtrip ticket into Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport. You may also need to secure housing. Plan on spending a Thursday night and a Sunday night in Austin before returning home. If you are from out of town/state your return plane ticket needs to be for Monday morning. Delegation organizers have plenty of Austin friends who can offer a bed or couch for the night.
6. Your travel bag should be light (e.g., backpack). You will be riding in a van with 11 other persons. Pack snacks in your bag. There are scheduled meals at the hotel and in workers’ homes in Mexico, but the tight schedule and driving to workers’ homes and touring industrial parks sometimes creates long gaps between meals. Purified drinking water sufficient for all delegates is provided by ATCF.
P A R T T W O:
It is very important that delegates do the “mini-course” readings before going on a delegation. The more background information you bring to the delegation the better your educational experience coming out of it.
MINI-COURSE READINGS (complete by the time of the Orientation Meeting on the Thursday night before your scheduled delegation).
1. Visit the Home Page for Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera: How We Got Started, which explains’ ATCF’s relationship to the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee and to the Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (“CFO”) (delegation hosts in Mexico). See also ATCF’s Our Continuing Work with Fair Trade.
2. Visit the website for the Mexican partners for the delegation trips, Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO) (The Border Committee of Working Women and Men).
3. Visit the materials on immigration and NAFTA and the global economy on this website. Note the stories pertaining to working women’s experiences.
4. Watch a short video about a delegation to Reynosa in 2009:
and the short film by Brandi Perkins about a delegation, World Class People.
5. Read this article by Wm. Finnegan, “The Economics of Empire: Notes on the Washington Consensus” (Harper’s Magazine 2003) to get the big picture on how international business and governments elude public oversight and maintain power undisturbed and why movements for human and labor rights have a hard time (although written during the Bush era, the points remain timely).
6. Article: “Six Years of NAFTA: A View from Inside the Maquiladoras.” A unique perspective on “free trade,” from the people most affected by it and least consulted (written by the women of the CFO).
Other Recommended Readings