The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a 1994 accord between the United States, Canada and Mexico. The purpose of this agreement was to essentially lift tariffs on products that flowed between these three countries. NAFTA also established rights and obligations regarding trade in services, intellectual property, and international investment. NAFTA was passed overwhelmingly with a 61-38 vote in American senate. (“NAFTA’s Legacy”) ; but it was met by a lot of criticism for good reasons. The negative impacts of NAFTA have been a center of discussion, and through its twenty-three year history, the agreement created many negative outcomes and costly effects for the countries involved in the pact. NAFTA was responsible for many harmful results such as, the exponential loss of jobs, destruction of Mexican farming industry, a spike in illegal immigration and environmental deterioration. NAFTA had bipartisan backing ( “NAFTA’s Legacy: Who won, who lost.”). This means that it was negotiated by a Republican president at the time, George H.W. Bush, — and then signed by a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who succeeded President Bush. The nascent agreement was a flashpoint in the 1992 presidential race; a quarter-century later, NAFTA and other free-trade deals fueled a wave of populist anger among voters who blamed outsourcing for the major decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs (“NAFTA’s Legacy”). During the 2016 United States presidential campaign, NAFTA was pummelled relentlessly by candidates Donald Trump (R) and Bernie Sanders (D). Trump, who stated it “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.”, says he will fulfill his campaign promise to renegotiate the pact.There were numerous goals for NAFTA when it was implemented. The United States sought to assist Mexico in developing its economy into first world structure. It was in the national interest of the United States because it was thought that creating jobs would decrease the illegal immigration rate. The Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari said at the time, his country would “export goods, not people.” In addition, for the U.S. and Canada, Mexico was seen as fertile ground for exports and investment. President Clinton predicted that free trade would boost the economies of all three countries. “NAFTA means jobs,” Clinton said, “American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement”, he added.NAFTA, however, failed to achieve many of these goals. First of all, “free” trade came at high expense for some. Since the deal has been enacted, the rise in the U.S. unemployment has grown, and through the first ten years 879,280 American jobs were lost (Scott). A majority of jobs lost were in the manufacturing industries. The most affected states were California, New York, Michigan and Texas. This was because these states had the most motor vehicle, textile, computer and electrical appliance plants. A high percentage of these states’ populations worked in these industries. However many of these plants moved to Mexico causing job loss. The plants moved to Mexico due to lower labor costs. Unemployment began to rise in 2000-2002 and 2.4 million jobs were lost in the domestic economy during this timeframe. Twenty years ago, millions of Americans were cocking their ears — waiting to hear a “giant sucking sound.” (Geewax). The “giant sucking sound”, is an anatomy used by third party presidential candidate Ross Perot. He voiced this during the 1992 election. Perot believed that many United States manufacturing jobs would travel below the border to Mexico at a high rate, hence the sucking sound. His theory ended up to be a reality with many Americans losing their jobs as their plants moved to Mexico as mentioned before. Citizens of Mexico also faced a rough time due to NAFTA. Specifically Mexican farmers were hit the hardest by the deal. The U.S. businesses that farmed were much more technologically and scientifically advanced than those of Mexico. The 2002 Farm Bill signed in the U.S. also gave an advantage to U.S. agribusiness. This allowed 259 billion dollars in farm subsidies and federal subsidies accounted for about 40 percent of U.S. agriculture sector profits (Singh). After this bill and NAFTA were already in place, Mexican farmers simply could not compete with subsidized U.S. agricultural goods and farms, so they went out of business. Mexican farmers did not have access to the same size farms or advanced seeds and fertilizers that the Americans did. This led to the loss of 2 million farming jobs in Mexico according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTCAD). In addition to farmers going out of business, poverty levels also drastically increased in Mexico since NAFTA commenced according to World Bank Statistics. This actually went on to have another large effect on the U.S. The farmers put out of business started to flock to the U.S. in search of work. Many of these farmers came to the U.S. illegally. Illegal immigration was a chief topic of discussion during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. This issue was constantly raised by then candidate Donald Trump (R) , who strongly opposed illegal immigration and even proposed building a border wall to help prevent it. Even President Obama attacked illegal immigration when he was a senator for the state of Illinois, saying “We need to better secure the border, and punish employers who chose to hire illegal immigrants.” He stated this in 2007 when illegal immigration was at the peak (Singh). The spike in illegal immigration was caused by poor Mexican farmers who found no other choice but to move to the U.S. so they could support themselves. Legal immigration to the U.S. has certain restrictions that can make it a very long, cumbersome process. With intentions to avoid that, many people resorted to crossing the border illegally to work in the U.S. without authorization. Most of these illegal immigrants worked in the agriculture industry since that was what they were most familiar with. As time passed they started to explore more occupations such as working in restaurants and joining the construction industry. A study performed by Homeland Security put the number of illegal immigrants in the US from Mexico at around 10 million at its peak (Singh). Contrary to popular belief shared by many citizens, not all immigration from Mexico to the U.S. is illegal. However illegal immigration has a much higher percentage than legal according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Illegal immigration has multiple effects on American economy. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, the incoming workers furnished multiple industries with hundreds of thousands of employees. They were paid low wages which kept inflation low, which was a good thing. However at the same time many U.S. workers were displaced because there were so many illegal immigrants willing to work for less than minimum wage (Singh). Also the employers did not have to provide benefits and payroll taxes for these undocumented workers, making them less expensive to employ than American counterparts.In addition, NAFTA was a major contributing factor to environmental deterioration. According to a report by the Sierra Club, it appears that Mexico was hit the hardest. This was because in response to NAFTA’s competitive pressure, Mexican farmers used more fertilizers and other chemicals, costing $36 billion per year in pollution. Rural farmers expanded into marginal land, resulting in deforestation at a rate of 630,000 hectares per year (Amadeo). A boom in mining came at the expense of local landowners, with subsequent industrial pollution (McAuliff). In the petroleum industry, Canada was obligated to producing and shipping a certain amount of oil to the U.S.; this allowed for development of the high-cost tar sands in the city of Alberta which is unhealthy for the ecosystem and came at the expense of alternative energy (McAuliff). NAFTA has caused pollution in the U.S. as well. The Sierra Club report uses Mexican trucking as a prime example. Despite concerns over the safety and pollution of Mexican rigs, the Bush and Obama administrations have been forced to try and accommodate the vehicles from the south (McAuliff). The report also estimates that a whopping jump in pollution can be linked to NAFTA, with greenhouse gas emissions in North America spiking from around 7 billion metric tons in 1990-1995 to about 8.3 billion in 2000-2005. “Nearly 20 years into NAFTA and the evidence is in,” Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club Responsible Trade Program, said in a statement. “NAFTA led to an expansion of deforestation and unsustainable water use in order to support export-oriented agriculture.” She also noted NAFTA expanded exports in fossil fuels in a time where more clean energy alternatives should have been developed. She also believes that governments need to stop negotiating trade pacts that destruct protections for our air, water, land, and workers. NAFTA has sparked a copious amount of controversy, and for good reason. NAFTA’s disadvantages for the countries participating are significant. Can anything justify the loss of entire industries in New York or Michigan, rise in illegal immigration, or environmental damage along North America? (Amadeo). Despite the pact having some winners, as every trade deal has, the losers of NAFTA were more heavily affected. The results from NAFTA will be everlasting for many, whether it be a working class man or woman who lost their job, or the planet Earth itself. NAFTA had the right idea. When it was negotiated, it was clear that it was implemented in order to be a deal that would have great benefits. However NAFTA failed to reach the golden standard of helping citizens for the better for its participants (United States, Canada, Mexico).