Sunday, January 11, 2009

Immigrant Laborers From Mexico - A Different Perspective

In the last two decades or so, Mexican immigration has been a very hot topic in the United States. There have been alarmist cries that the Mexicans are flooding the southern U.S. border and taking away jobs from people in the United States.

But in all honest, the discussion about Mexican immigrants has been filled with emotions, rhetoric, and misinformation. What really is the accurate information regarding Mexican immigration, both legal and illegal, to the United States? The truth of the matter is that the United States public has incorrect information about the Mexican immigration debate.

Over the last century, Mexican immigration has been fairly constant (only in the 1920s did immigration fall sharply because of The Great Depression). All the while, Mexican immigration was benefitting the United States, as it had access to cheap labor. But in 1986, the United States passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The act sought to limit Mexican immigration to the United States. One of the thing it did was to provide amnesty to the 3 million immigrant already in the U.S. However, it also increased funding for border patrol. As a result, border patrol increased at major crossing points, such as Tijuana and El Paso.

With the increased patrol forces at major regions, immigration shifted to other areas. But because few illegal immigrants were attempting to cross at the major areas, people thought that illegal immigration had been controlled. It had not been controlled but had just become more obscure.

Additionally, illegal immigration from Mexico may very well have increased. Since a large number of immigrants were granted amnesty, that provided an incentive for those immigrants' family members in Mexico to migrate to the United States.

Another effect of the Immigration Reform and Control Act was that it redirected illegal immigrants to other locations, such as Arizona and Georgia. Indeed, some border towns in Arizona have seen increased immigrant populations passing through.

Another problem with the Immigration Reform and Control Act was that it said employers cannot knowingly hire illegal employees. Employers had to see the work documents of individuals they hired--but they did not have to verify that they were real. This policy helped contribute to a market in forged documents. Also, this policy helped contribute to lowered wages, as employers passed on the increased administrative costs to their employees.

Clearly, there is more to Mexican immigration to the United States than people in the United States are aware of, and Mexican immigrants are often treated unfairly and poorly.

For more information about Mexican immigration in the United States, contact the Orange County employment lawyers of Perry Smith by calling 1-888-356-2529 or by visiting their website at

Joseph Devine

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