Mexican immigration to the United States

Schwalbe, Kaleigh
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University of Delaware
Mexican immigration to the United States is a controversial issue in today‟s political realm. Though it is the longest running labor movement in history, many Americans are under the impression that this is a current issue. In fact, there are many interesting assumptions about this movement, that many times prove to false. It is only by analyzing this issue through the context of historical and current trends, as well as through both the United States and Mexican perspectives that the issue can be fully understood. This paper will examine the immigration movement and US policy responses to it. It will critique these policy decisions based on the success of their intended purposes, and will find that many times these policies were misdirected. Many of the shortfalls of these policies come from a lack of understanding the depth of the Mexican immigrants‟ incentives to immigrate to the United States. This paper addresses these motivational gaps by reexamining the push and pull theory, and how the United States has misused this in their policy decisions. The United States is currently focusing too much on the pull motivations of immigration and not enough on the push motivations of immigration. In addition, the pull motivation side policies are being mishandled, and are far too restrictionist. By reworking the policies which address pull motivations, and by expanding and implementing policies which address the push motivations, a much more balanced immigration policy can be achieved. Specifically, the recommendations include a more open guest worker program, a better verification system, and a simplification of policies so that they are more easily enforceable. Furthermore, this paper advocates expanding NAFTA and developmental aid to Mexico to motivate workers to stay in their country of origin. Finally, the paper also includes my own personal experiences with immigration and development, which can be found in the appendicies.