Why do they immigrate? The problem is Mexicoby Hugh Holub on Jun. 26, 2011, under immigration law reform, politics
Having talked to many illegal immigrants the stories are remarkably similar…
….there is no work in Mexico sufficient to feed my family
….there is already family here
…people from my village have been coming to the US for generations to work
When asked why they don’t get papers and come to the US legally the answer is invariably the same…”no es possible” . It is impossible.
One gets an interesting sense of a right to come to the US to work…after all…the jobs are here and they need them.
The border is mostly a nuisance to illegal immigrants …costing more for the coyote… more dangerous… but the choices are not good. Stay home and do what? Starve?
People point out that the jobs available to illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America is a huge magnet drawing them north. Eliminate the jobs and they will not come.
But that avoids an equally important driver for the migration…there are no good paying jobs for millions of people in Latin America and especially Mexico.
Mexico has everything it takes to be a First World country with full employment and a strong economy.
In the cities you see a 21st Century Mexico.
But go to the rural areas and you see an 18th century country with cell phones and satellite tv.
The rich get richer in Mexico, but the rural people don’t rise with the economic tide. Mexzuico today looks like what American might end up being like if certain policies continue in thios country…no safety nets…no good paying jobs….no future…and no where to go to.
Subsistence agriculture has been damaged by the free trade agreement which lets US corn sell in Mexico cheaper than Mexicans can grow it themselves.
Millions of Mexican have left their villages and aggregated in slums around the big cities.
You can live on $8 a day in Mexico … but not very well.
Even at our worst it is better for the migrants than what they leave behind.
If we are really going to see a decline in illegal immigration then the Mexican economy needs to transform so it can provide living incomes for all its people.
Mexico solves its economic problems by exporting its excess people to the United States.
If we were successful in shutting down illegal immigration we would likely be creating a pressure cooker in Mexico with a whole lot of people with no where to escape to…and they would necessarily have to turn on their own government and demand a fairer share of Mexico’s economic pie.
And interesting experience dealing with the “elite” in Mexico….they really could give a rat’s rear end about the poor people in their own country. And when it comes to their native Indian populations…they sometimes sound like 19th Century Americans.
If we are really going to do something meaningful about illegal immigration, then we must also get really serious with the “elite” in Mexico and push really hard on them to spread their economic wealth down to the villages and slums.
Maybe we might even think of restricting exports from Mexico if they keep exporting people to us…for every illegal alien that leaves Mexico we reduce the amount of something we buy from their “elite” business owners.
As long as the are not enough living wage jobs in Mexico and we have a lot of jobs in this country open to illegal immigrants, all that is ultimately going to happen is the “coyote” fee to get across the border will increase from $2,000 to $4,000 a person.
And if you wonder how really poor people can scrape up $2,000 to get to the US….the immigrant sends money back (called “remittance” which is a major source of foreign money in the Mexican economy).
Thus bankrolling a migrant to come to the US and work and send home money benefits a larger family and entire villages. There are lots of places one can go in rural Mexico and not find a male of working age around. All gone to the north.
An interesting article from “US Immigration Support”
For many generations Mexicans have illegally crossed the border into the United States. Reasons for the high rate of migration from Mexico include the close proximity of Mexico to the U.S. and the noticeable difference in the quality of life between the two countries. Many individuals come from poverty-stricken towns in Mexico and desire to come to the United States to achieve the “American dream.” For many, just gaining employment at a low wage job in the United States provides a much higher standard of living than in their home country. During the 1980s, the United States saw a significant increase in illegal immigrants from Mexico. The immigration influx was not limited to Mexicans from one specific region but rather from communities all throughout Mexico.
Those from bigger cities such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City do not necessarily have a higher quality of life than those Mexicans residing in rural communities. However, individuals from larger cities do tend to have a greater access to opportunities. Many who live in smaller towns tend to be employed in the agriculture sector or try to set up a small business in order to make a living. The average Mexican wage is about $4.15 an hour and those in the agricultural industry make even less. While an individual may be able to survive on that wage alone, it becomes more difficult for those with families. Currently about 40% of the Mexican population is below the poverty line. Unemployment is about 4% but it is estimated that nearly 25% of those working are classified as underemployed.
Even when jobs are created, in many instances they are not sufficient to meet the growing demand of the Mexican people. Their pay may be so low that they cannot afford to cover even the most basic necessities. Thus, many Mexicans from both small and big cities find the neighboring United States to be extremely attractive. Treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have brought more American companies into the country. However, the jobs that have been created are not enough and many wages are still relatively low. Many dream of going to what is known as the “the North” to make more money. However, illegal immigration to the United States is becoming increasingly difficult due to advanced technology, infrastructure, and enforcement. Some illegal immigrants illicit the assistance of a “coyote”, or smuggler, to help them navigate through the land and cross the border. Once they reach a certain destination on American soil, a vehicle is used to transport them to another location. It is here that family and/or friends will pick them up and pay the “coyote’s fee.” Sometimes the fee is paid beforehand and other times a deposit is given and the rest is paid upon completion of their services. “Coyotes” generally have insider knowledge about crossing the border, and know the best routes to avoid detection. However, in order to help to deter “coyotes,”serious fines and penalties if someone is caught smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States. For immigrants who are intercepted en route to the United States, they are usually returned to Mexican soil.
Increasingly, illegal immigrants and “coyotes” have tried to cross the border through the Arizona desert. This is due to increased security along the Mexico-U.S. border near California. Especially during the summer months, there tend to be more cases of illegal immigrants who try to cross the Arizona desert and die from dehydration. Throughout the U.S. – Mexican border, more check points with U.S. border patrols have been added on the American side of the border. At these checkpoints, individuals may be asked for documentation in order to verify U.S. residency or citizenship. As stated previously, there are an increasing number of security measures that have been implemented at and around the Mexico-U.S. border. As a result, it has become more difficult to illegally cross the border. As such, the assistance of “coyotes” is in high demand. The fees for a “coyote” easily runs into the thousands per individual. Many illegal immigrants save up money or borrow money to cover this fee. Once a Mexican immigrant successfully crosses the border into the United States, they generally have two main goals. Their first aim is to send part of their earnings back home to their family and their second goal is to bring more family members to the United States. Eventually they hope to gain permanent residency (green card) and possibly U.S. citizenship status. Other illegal immigrants come with a different purpose. They emigrate to the United States with the sole intention of finding a job that will allow them to save enough money to buy a house or set up their own business upon their return to Mexico. Whatever the specific intentions of the Mexican immigrant are, many agree that their main desire is to come to the United States in search of a better life.
A Green Card is evidence of lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
- Green Card Application
- Green Card Renewal
- Lost or Stolen Green Card
- Green Card Name Change
- Green Card Update
- Green Card through Employment
- Green Card through Marriage
- Green Card through Relatives
- Family Based Green Cards
A visa grants the holder the right to apply for entry into the United States.
- B-1 Business Visa
- B-2 Tourist Visa
- F-1 Student Visa
- J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
- H-1B Work Visa
- H-2B Work Visa
- K-1 Fiancée/Fiancé Visa
- TN NAFTA Work Visa
- U.S. Work Visa
- Visa Waiver Program
United States Citizenship is one step beyond permanent residence (Green Card). Citizenship provides the maximum immigration rights available in the United States.
Other border related articles:
Note: Hugh Holub is a former City Attorney for the border city of Nogales, Arizona. He has had extensive experience in US-Mexico water and environmental relations and travelled extensively in Mexico from remote villages to the centers of power in Mexico City. He is currently Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and works with border ranchers on environmental and border security issues. Holub is also a former newspaper reporter and has been writing editorial commentaries for newspapers in the Southwest for decades.