You cannot have missed the press about the crackdown on immigrant paperwork in Arizona. The Governor has signed a law (repeatedly vetoed by the past Governor) authorizing municipal, local, and state police to request "legal paperwork" on people who "appear" to be illegally in Arizona.
This should not, on the face of it, affect Retroworks de Mexico. Our whole recycling operation is about creating jobs for Mexicans inside Mexico. NPR's Marketplace profiled one of our staff, Virginia (Vicki) Ponce last summer, talking about how happy she was not to need to cross the border, to be doing recycling work in her own town.
We are able to recycle televisions more affordably in Mexico because the TV broadcasts in Mexico are still NTSC analog - not digital. We are offering a "cash for clunkers" program, where we take in one junk TV from inside Mexico for each USA TV we sell for reuse.
Unfortunately, the Arizona law probably WILL affect us.
In order to manage the complicated import and export work for maquila companies, we have rented a large warehouse in Douglas AZ for the driver to sort the loads, ensure there are no illegal wooden pallets, and to verify that each TV is scrap or reuse (a huge difference in tariffs). Last winter, one of the staff who came to see the goods in Douglas was stopped by customs and accused of "working" in the USA, and his visa was taken away. We also re-transit the goods from rejected TVs back to the USA - CRTs, printed circuit boards, yokes, degaussing wire... while we are waiting for Mexico's SEMARNAT to re-issue our permit for final recycling of CRTs in Mexico (at the smelter), we must re-transit the goods by truck and our truck drivers (from Mexico) must unload the goods back at the USA warehouse in Douglas.
The laws on maquilas are clear... a shipment from the USA company to the Mexican maquila is considered an internal shipment from one office to another. The same company employs people on both sides.
It is impossible to switch drivers right at the border.
What is needed is for the USA to create more working visas, and to give them out. Then you could offer all kinds of incentives. By issuing no work visas, the USA offers no incentives for Mexicans to apply for them and to obtain them legally.
I just hope that I get stopped, so I can refuse to show my paperwork. If enough Americans refuse to show their paperwork and allow themselves to get arrested, it would be a great passive resistance to the Arizona law.
My preference is not to have passive resistance, however. My preference is to have a normal policy where companies in the USA, especially companies with both a USA and Mexican factory, can just obtain a normal working visa for our Mexico staff. We already hire the best and the brightest, and create jobs for law abiding women. The folks we bring in would be the cream of the crop, the people who made America great.