Mexican Immigration Essay

Pages: 5 (1667 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

Mexican Immigration

Today, a significant portion of the U.S. population is made up of Mexican immigrants and their descendants and for this reason; this remains one of the country's most influential cultural and social groups. It is however important to note that the said immigration has had an impact on not only the GDP of the U.S. But also its culture and wage rates. In this text, I concern myself with Mexican immigration and its impact. In so doing, I will highlight not only the origin and causes of the said immigration but also its impact in recent times.

Mexican Immigration: An Overview

In basic terms, Mexican immigration will in this text be taken to be the movement of Mexican nationals from their homeland to the United States. The invasion of the U.S. into Mexico according to Kanellos, Padilla and Fabregat (1994), marks the beginning of the Mexican immigration to the U.S. story. As the authors further point out, "through a process of military conquest, which began in 1836 with the battle of San Jacinto and ended in 1853 with the Gadsden Purchase, Mexicans were incorporated into the United States" (Kanellos, Padilla and Fabregat, 1994). At around this time and going forward, the United States did not have in place restrictions in regard to Mexican immigration. Thus throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, Mexicans were not in any way barred from moving across the boarder.

The move by the United States not to impose any cross border restrictions was informed by a number of factors. These factors included but they were not limited to the need for labor. Mexican immigrants were seen as an important source of labor in not only the agricultural sector but also the construction industry. Bean (1997) notes that although informal, the 'open boarder' policy existing towards Mexico until the 1930s was instrumental as it provided employers in the U.S. with a valuable pool of workers who were largely unskilled. As the authors further point out, Mexican workers were also instrumental in the American Southwest development. It should however be noted that the 'open boarder' policy applied to Mexican immigrants only. For instance, although immigration laws including the Emergency Quota Act were in existence at the time, there were specific provisions that exempted Mexicans from immigration restrictions. However, as a result of the great depression in the 1930s, the U.S. deemed it fit to review the unofficial 'open boarder' policy (Bean, 1997). Although unrestricted or unchecked immigration was in this case brought to a speedy halt, the same resumed during the World War II.

In the past, various measures have been adopted in an attempt to control illegal Mexican immigration to the U.S. An example of these measures according to Bean (1997) is the "malodorous Proposition 187, a measure presuming to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the state of California…" it is however important to note that despite the measures that have already been taken, restricting the number of immigrants in this particular case has largely been hectic.

The Impact of Mexican Immigration to the U.S.

According to Schmidt, Shelley and Bardes (2010), there has been an influx of a large number of illegal or unauthorized immigrants into the U.S. In recent years. As the author further points out, individuals from Latin America form the majority of these immigrants with more than half coming from Mexico. In this section, I will largely concern myself with the impact of Mexican immigration into the U.S. In this case, no clear distinction will be made between illegal and legal immigrants.

To begin with, there are those who are convinced that the inflow of Mexican immigrants into the United States has piled a downward pressure on wages. Given that most of the immigrants in this case are unskilled, it is likely that the high supply of unskilled labor does have an impact on the wage levels of the lowest paid natives. This includes those without high school education. It is also important to note that due to the intense competition for jobs, new high school graduates could find it hard to secure employment. Businesses are more likely than not to view the availability of cheap Mexican labor as some kind of a subsidy thus electing to hold labor costs down. It is however important to note that the claim that Mexican immigrants take away the jobs of natives has been discredited by a number of studied conducted in the past. There are those who are of the opinion that the sectors that employ unskilled Mexican immigrants would find it difficult to attract native workers. According to the Center for Immigration Studies -- CIS (2012), the claim that the jobs taken up by Mexican immigrants (unskilled) are those rejected by natives is partly correct. As CIS (2012) further points out, there is evidence showing that some natives could be in direct competition with Mexican immigrants for jobs. For instance, CIS notes that in addition to the eight million (in approximate terms) native high school dropouts working full time, another three million natives without high school education work part-time. This brings the number of natives working both part-time and full-time without high school education to eleven million. This is enough evidence that there are indeed some natives competing for jobs with Mexican immigrants.

Mexican immigrants have also had an impact on the nation's culture and other ways of life. Even after crossing over, many Mexicans immigrants attempt to preserve their own culture by amongst other things integrating it with the American culture. Indeed, the Mexican-American culture is widely seen as a blend of the American culture with the Mexican culture. The said blend can be evidenced at the familial level, in religion, in creative works, in what people eat, etc. When it comes to family life for instance, Mexican-Americans tend to value or favor strong familial ties. In regard to religion, it is important to note that the same has a lot of significance amongst Mexican-Americans. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in this case. When it comes to creative forms, it should be noted that Mexican music and movies are slowly finding their way into the mainstream American art scene. In the words of Stacy (2002), "Mexican and Mexican-American film, literature, and music have left a mark on U.S. culture." In regard to food, it can be noted that some localities have embraced Mexican cuisine in an attempt to accommodate the varying tastes of the Mexican-American population.

Mexican immigrants also do play an active role in the enhancement of the nation's GDP. According to Badkar (2012), this group makes a contribution of approximately 4% to the nation's GDP. This according to the author is as per the findings of BBVA's outlook into the Mexican migration. It is however important to note that in the past, some have argued that Mexican immigrants (like other immigrants) consume more in public services than they contribute in terms of public revenues. Those advancing this point-of-view are convinced that as a result of the low wages they are paid, most unskilled Mexican immigrants contribute less in terms of tax payments. With that, they conclude that the little contribution this category of workers make in terms of taxes may not justify their continued utilization of public services. However, as I have already pointed out above, the contribution Mexicans make to the GDP cannot be overstated. In that regard, their contribution to the economy overrides their consumption of public services.

Effects on Mexico

One of the benefits Mexico reaps from immigration in this case has got to do with remittances sent back home by those of its nationals living in the U.S. According to Schmidt, Shelley and Bardes (2010), "in Mexico, these remittances are the second-largest source of foreign income, exceeded only by oil… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mexican Immigration.  (2012, December 8).  Retrieved January 23, 2019, from http://ombrecups.com/subjects/paper/mexican-immigration/4633536

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"Mexican Immigration."  8 December 2012.  Web.  23 January 2019. <http://ombrecups.com/subjects/paper/mexican-immigration/4633536>.

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"Mexican Immigration."  Essay.  December 8, 2012.  Accessed January 23, 2019.
http://ombrecups.com/subjects/paper/mexican-immigration/4633536.
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