Juan Santos, p2

But even if their salaries and living conditions were as good as those of American workers, the Mexicans working for American companies in Acuña would not have an easy life. That is because the public services there are very poor. The water in the city’s pipes is undrinkable because the filtering system was built forty years a go when Acuña was a small town. The streets are not properly paved. The fire department has no money, so when there is a fire in Acuña, fire engines have to be sent from Del Rio across the border in Texas. The hospital is sixty years old; it is outdated and overcrowded. (It has only 45 beds—a small fraction of what the city needs.) And the schools need drinking water, windows, toilets, and desks.

The main reason for these problems is that the city of Acuña doesn’t have enough money to pay for all these things. The city budget in 2000 was $60US per person. The city budget in Del Rio on the American side of the border was $777 per person. And the main reason Acuña had so little money is that Alcoa and companies like it were paying very low taxes. In fact they were paying no income tax, property tax or export tax at all.

- information from: The New York Times, 01.02.15 (Sam Dillon)