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Announcement: Our Response to Proposed Tariffs on Mexican Imports


Our government recently decided to threaten a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, with the fees escalating up to 25%. 5% doesn’t sound like much but you have to realize the beans are a food crop. They've been growing for 6-9 months, followed by cleaning and packaging and they've been planned long before that. It's taken us years to develop these relationships and these actions have taken their toll.

Speaking for myself, I do believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Nobody is advocating for a porous border. Reform would include international laws, trade, the US role in foreign governments and humanitarian causes. It won't be simple but it needs to be done in a pragmatic, non-emotional manner.

Immigrants and refugees are not coming to the United States for the cable service. They are fleeing the most desperate situations imaginable, often created with our help by meddling in their governments, along with the American appetite for drug consumption. I would argue that their problems are our problems. Because of our role throughout the Americas and because we are neighbors.

With Burkhard Bilger from The New Yorker, meeting some of the farmers we work with, in Hidalgo, as part of the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project. These hardworking entrepreneurs are the ones who will suffer if a tariff is imposed.

In response to this, we're considering the threatened tariff and adding a 5% charge to all of our Mexican imports and donating this money, 100%, to No More Deaths, a non-profit that provides humanitarian aid to migrants and refugees, focusing on the deadly Arizona border. In addition to water and medical aid, they also help with legal issues and search-and-rescue situations. That a group like this even needs to exist is repugnant, but thank goodness they do.

Someone suggested we grow our beans in the US instead of Mexico. We do. Maybe we haven't told the story as well as we should have. We produce about 85% domestically. The imports from Mexico are to encourage the farmers in Mexico to grow their heritage beans. This isn't about us trying to save money by producing in Mexico. We have also been told that it's not immigration that is offensive, it's illegal immigration. It's not illegal to seek asylum. I also anticipate the "stick to beans and leave politics out of it" responses but sadly, these recent actions have made this personal, for my friends and for my business. My preference would be to not argue about whether we should be treating our neighbors with humanity.

We challenge our legislators and president to work together to enact immigration reform in Congress and then enforce it on the border. Diplomacy and policy through tantrums is not the answer.

N.B. The comments on this post are overwhelming and that's good. For the record, I've allowed opposing views to post and often I've rebutted them. If the responses get silly, as they have, I'm not bothering to share them. If they get personal, are racist, the same argument, etc. I'm not approving them.

Not so much here, but from our helpline, I've had some really good conversations. In the end, most of us want to be fair. That's a great place to start. Responding with anger rarely helps. My technique has been to try and diffuse those conversations but at one point it can become clear that it's time to cut your losses and move on. Once in a while, you have a real moment and that's encouraging.

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