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Epilogue Now The Unwelcomed Mexican Invasion

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By the turn of the twentieth century, many Americans had began to view the immigration of Mexicans as an intrusion and a danger to their established ways of life. Many North Americans saw themselves as being to civilized and educated to perform the unskilled labor provided by the displaced Mexicans during the large-scale immigration. Many politicians and other men of the U.S. government as well in the twenty-first century accepted this notion. Some citizens of the United States recognize the issue of illegal immigration as an American problem. As demonstrated in this paper, that there is no single catalyst of immigration but there is the existence of numerous problems in both the country of origin and the receiving country. On one side it may seem to be an American problem but Mexico was experiencing a time of tumultuous economic movement and weakness when compared to the United States.[1] Nevertheless both governments must remember that it will be a long and hard process in order to attain a mutually beneficial immigration policy as illustrated vehemently by Alfredo Mirandé: THERE IS NO GOOD WAY to solve the problem of illegal immigrants from Mexico.[2] This signifies that both the United States and Mexico, as well as other Central and South American countries, need to create a program that has neutral, not necessarily negative or positive, economic consequences when dealing with the immigration and utilization of undocumented immigrants over national borders.[3]

Erroneous Policy-Making

 

There have been large waves of Latinos that immigrate into the United States at varying intervals. Between 1965-69 there had been 170,000 entering the U.S., which declined to 149,000 from 1970-74 and rose to 368,000 during 1980-85.[4] One of the most significant and arbitrary policies was Operation Wetback of 1954. This piece of legislation offered a variety of proposals that sought the massive deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Much of the logistics that immigration policy is centered on are based off of common assumptions that were derived from the initial large-scale immigrations of the early twentieth century.[5] This would further debilitate the ability of both countries to create an accurate and practical immigration policy that is mutually beneficial. One of the proposed solutions was the construction of a 150-mile fence along the border. The Bureau of the Budget due to the immense amounts of money needed to construct and maintain a 150 mile-long fence disregarded this proposal because of the example of a six-mile long fence erected earlier, which cost on an annual basis about $10,000 to $20,000,[6] hence a 150-mile long fence was completely out of the question.

This program had negative impacts on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border that were first and foremost economic in nature. Politicians and other elites in Mexico had mistakenly believed under false pretenses that the undocumented immigrant laborers that were deported would return with money they had earned in the United States. Instead of welcoming an influx of foreign money there was little or no large amount of money entering in Mexico.[7] Also, with the mass deportation of undocumented immigrant laborers, the promises of a replacement labor force that was equal to that of the Latino laborers also came into question. The agricultural industry were led under the assumption that an equal-sized labor force would be given to them promptly[8] but since the laborers accounted for such a large portion of the cheap labor it became increasingly difficult to replace them with legal labor hindering production of goods.

The second and more economically damaging immigration policy was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). A common theme in policy-making is that there is fundamental difficulty in satisfying both United States and Mexico. Because of the decrease in capable labor, one of the industries that suffered the most was the farming industry in the United States. The IRCA was one of the main reasons that agricultural yield had decreased due to lack of a substantial and maintainable labor force.[9] In fact it had the opposite intended effect on the influx of undocumented immigrants. Upon the inception of this control act the amount of Central Americans that illegally crossed into the United States increased drastically. Much of the land in Mexico is unable to produce adequate farmland during the first large-scale immigrations; this is due to the mountainous areas: obstacles that caused the deaths of at least hundreds of undocumented migrants trying to traverse the border. The United States government had underestimated the persistence of Latino immigrants as well as misjudged their will to cross. A statistical jump in Appendix Item 3b illustrates the correlation between the implementation of the IRCA and a spike in illegal immigration. Immigration to the United States by any group of people should not and will not be stopped unless there are verifiable threats to national security; the consequences of this would be disastrous to the American economical infrastructure, political institutions, and social framework.

[1] Gilbert G. González; Raúl Fernandez, Empire and the Origins of Twentieth-Century Migration from Mexico to the United States, The Pacific Historical Review, (Univerisity of California Press: California, 2002), 20.

[2] Alfredo Mirandé, The Chicano Experience: An Alternative Perspective (University of Notre Dame Press: Indiana, 1985), 63.

[3] Gutíerrez, 69.

[4] Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents: Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money (New York: The New Press, 1998), 35.

[5] Sassen, 7.

[6] Juan Ramon Garcia, Operation Wetback: The Mass Deportation of Mexican Undocumented Workers in 1954 (Greenwood Press: Connecticut 1980), 171.

[7] Garcia, 176

[8] Garcia, 179.

[9] Jorge Durand and Douglas S. Massey, editors. Crossing the Border: Research from the Mexican Migration Project. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2004), 11.

 

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