How do illegal immigrants join the military

Illegal immigration from Mexico to the US and political countermeasures

Table of Contents

1. Significance of Mexican-US migration

2. Mexican migration to the US and its extent in the past

3. Today's Reasons for Illegal Migration
3.1 Push factors
3.1.1 Economic push factors
3.1.2 Social push factors
3.2 Pull Factors
3.2.1 Economic pull factors
3.2.2 Social pull factors

4. Effects of illegal migration
4.1 Effects on the country of origin Mexico
4.1.1 Economic aspects
4.1.2 Social aspects
4.1.3 Further consequences
4.2 Effects on the target country USA

5. US action against illegal immigration
5.1 Legal regulations throughout history
5.2 Border guards
5.2.1 Border Patrol
5.2.2 Border fence along the southern border
5.3 Impact of the measures on illegal immigration

6. Outlook for future developments


List of figures

List of abbreviations

Figure not included in this excerpt

1. Significance of Mexican-US migration

In 2010, migration from Mexico to the US was the largest transnational migration in the world, with more than three times as many migrants as the runner-up movement from Russia to Ukraine.[1] In the period from 2000 to 2005, Mexico was the number one emigration country in the world with an average of 800,000 emigrants per year.[2] From 2010 to the present day, the country is still in sixth place in the statistics with around 240,000 annual emigrants.[3] In the USA, the 2010 census found that 63% of the approximately 50 million Hispanics and Latinos in the USA come from Mexico.[4] This means that Mexicans have a share of 10% of the total population of the USA. However, it is estimated that half of these are illegal in the country, and the unworked Mexicans make up 16% of the US working population. 98.7% of Mexican emigrants choose the USA as their destination for their migration[5] and in 2010 one in ten Mexican citizens lived in the United States.[6]

All of these statistics illustrate the tremendous importance of Mexican migration to the United States. Since its inception, it has shaped the economy, society, culture and politics of both countries. The large number of illegal immigrants is also drawing international attention to this unique phenomenon. Everyone, especially everyone in North America, has a certain image of the typical Mexican immigrant who lives on the poverty line and does menial jobs in agriculture.

In this thesis, the phenomenon of Mexican immigration to the USA is to be examined in more detail: first through a historical summary of the migration movement, then in an analysis of the causes and effects of migration. Particular importance is attached to the investigation of the measures that the American government has taken against the massive illegal immigration and their repercussions on the migration flow. Building on these points, the conclusion is to give an outlook into a possible future of this migration.

2. Mexican migration to the US and its extent in the past

The beginning of significant Mexican migration to the United States can be dated to the 1880s. The decisive factor for this first emigration trend was the economically driving, but socially regressive policy during the Porfiriato (1876-1910) .[7] The state headed by Porfirio Díaz expropriated a large part of the small to medium-sized landowners, especially in the south and west of the country, and created the system of ejidos (joint ownership of agricultural land) completely in order to redistribute the land to a few large farms. In 1894, for example, one fifth of the total area of ​​Mexico was owned by such establishments. Sometimes such measures brought the country an overall economic upswing, but the majority of the population suffered from deteriorating living conditions. In addition to this new unequal distribution of the land, which in some cases led to a general landlessness among the normal citizens, the mechanization in the course of industrialization, which already caused increased unemployment, contributed to the financially damaged situation of the Mexican rural population. In addition, the politics under Díaz with partly dictatorial approaches had negative consequences on personal and political freedom.[8] "Díaz made certain that‘ order ‘was maintained at all costs for the sake of‘ progress. ‘Force was used whenever necessary to neutralize opponents of the regime."[9]

There was a need for workers in the USA at the time, especially in railroad construction and agriculture. This worsened with the adoption of the Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, which initially banned the naturalization of Chinese immigrants and the influx of new potential Chinese workers. This made it necessary to resort to other foreign labor resources. All of these push and pull factors resulted in the first significant migration of Mexicans to the United States. Basically, since then the most important motivations (poor financial standard of living on the Mexican side, job prospects and need for labor on the US side) have mostly been the main reasons for migration in the further course of history. An exception to this, however, can be found in the Porfiriato the following epoch of Mexican history, the civil war and the revolution (1910-1920). The bloody fighting, which began with uprisings against the dictatorial President Díaz, soon encompassed almost the entire country and thus wiped out a tenth of the population, drove people out of the country in harder-hit areas, especially in the north and the center to flee. In doing so, economic motives were no longer in the foreground, but the simple escape from war as a decisive factor. This connection between the regions in which major battles took place and the greatest number of emigrants can still be established today. Even in 1990, most of the Mexican immigrants came from the regions of Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Zacatecas and Chihuahua, which 75 years earlier were major theaters of war (see Fig. 1).[10]

Fig. 1: Number of people who emigrated to the USA between 2000 and 1990 in comparison by state

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: Jones 2010, p. 43

With the beginning of the Second World War, a new phase of labor migration emerged, which lasted until 1964. A particularly large number of Mexican workers were employed here braceros, required for performing simple work and of great importance in the context of the "first [n] migration program [...] [the] guest worker program programa bracero from 1942 to 1964 "[11], recruited. Partly because of this saturation of the demand for workers in the USA, the Mexican economy experienced a high point from the 1940s to the 1960s. When the economic miracle subsided again from 1970 and the oil crisis of 1982 brought the Mexican economy into recession, the push factors again played a greater role due to the poor overall economic situation.[12]

This situation has not fundamentally changed since then, but the number of Mexican-born Americans increased most significantly over the next 40 years to date. Between 1970 and 2010, this number increased fifteenfold from 760,000 to 11.7 million. The greatest absolute increase came in the 1990s, when almost five million Mexicans immigrated (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Number of Americans born in Mexico, 1850-2013

Source: Own illustration, data; illustration not included in this excerpt: Migration Policy Institute (n.d.)

3. Today's Reasons for Illegal Migration

The many reasons that potentially induce the Mexican population to emigrate today can generally be traced back to various push factors that drive them out of the country and pull factors that attract them to the USA.

3.1 Push factors

The most important push factors are mostly of an economic nature, but in some cases social or other reasons can also lead to emigration.

3.1.1 Economic push factors

In economic terms, the generally poor economic situation in certain regions of Mexico is responsible for the lack of prospects for the people who decide to emigrate. There are significant disparities between states within the country. This can be determined using the gross domestic product per capita. In an international comparison, Mexico was 68th in 2007 with around US $ 9,200. According to the INEGI, the GDP per capita in the DF is more than $ 23,000, while the value in states like Guerrero or Oaxaca is less than $ 5,000 . The value of the DF can be classified in the order of magnitude of South Korea (44th place), while the weaker states would sometimes fall under 93rd place internationally (Cuba). The connection to emigration can be seen in the aforementioned states of Michoacán and Zacatecas. They had a similarly low GDP per capita of less than $ 6,800 (see Fig. 3) and, as mentioned in Chapter 2, are now among the regions with the highest emigration.[13]

Fig. 3: GDP per capita (2007) of the states of Mexico

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: Lewis 2010

The poor economic situation naturally goes hand in hand with high unemployment. Officially, Mexico's unemployment rate is 3.6% lower than the US (4.6%), but the underemployed category is not included in this statistic, so people who work more than one hour per week are not classified as unemployed be valid. If the unemployed and underemployed are factored in, the actual rate is estimated at 30%.[14]

The high level of unemployment results in a poverty that predominates in rural areas. According to data from the CIA, 52% of the Mexican population lived below the poverty line in 2012, which is the 19th-highest proportion among the 162 countries covered.[15]

For the working part of the population, however, the conditions are often not significantly better. In many regions the labor market is extremely unattractive because wages are far too low for the low-skilled. It is generally this part of the working population who emigrates to the USA, as emigration from a life in absolute poverty is difficult because of the necessary initial investments in the form of travel expenses or the like.[16]

In addition, inflation and debt add to the poor economic situation. These conditions have been increasingly defused through deregulation and privatization of the economy, but the widespread corruption, which can inhibit economic development, continues to play an important role.[17]

3.1.2 Social push factors

In addition to economic reasons, there are also social reasons for the decision to migrate, although the pull factors usually predominate. Social push factors, on the other hand, can arise from economic conditions. For example, social grievances arise as a result of unjust politics and corruption. In addition, because of the low number of jobs in rural areas, there is migration to the cities. The resulting overpopulation can lead to the formation of slums, which severely worsens social and humanitarian conditions and brings people_to_emigration_.[18]

In addition, there is the demographic development of the country. "The high population growth [...] also promotes emigration"[19] Abroad.

3.2 Pull Factors

Also of the reasons migrants move to the United States, the most important are economic and social pull factors.

3.2.1 Economic pull factors

From a global perspective, the Mexican economy is of course not only showing weaknesses. For example, the country is the most important industrial nation in Latin America, has an annual economic growth of up to 5% in the last ten years and is among the 15 nations with the highest gross domestic product worldwide.[20]

However, this becomes significantly less important when the neighboring USA is compared. In comparison, the world's leading industrial nation has five times higher GDP per capita, significantly lower unemployment, four times higher average hourly wages and up to ten times higher wages for the same activities. This steep wage gap between the two countries is a first economic pull factor. The better earning opportunities abroad give the Mexicans a chance of better living conditions that could_not_ be_ achieved in their home country. In addition, there is also the necessary demand for unskilled labor in the USA, which is also attractive to migrants. There are promising income opportunities, especially in agriculture, industry and the construction sector, as the US population is becoming increasingly reluctant to do simple, poorly paid work in precisely these areas. In addition, in addition to a steadily growing economy, the USA offers a distinct informal sector, which also opens up opportunities for unregistered immigrants for a sufficient income and thus promotes illegal immigration.[21]

The topographical conditions, such as the large stretch of the border, which is therefore difficult to monitor, or the extensive plains in the border area have a positive effect on clandestine migration.[22]

3.2.2 Social pull factors

As already mentioned, when it comes to social reasons, the pull factors are in many cases more decisive than the push factors:

"In the past few decades, complex family and social networks have emerged that connect the place of origin with the destination and often result in the emigration of family members and friends from Mexico."[23]

These social networks in the international area are more and more often the decisive factor for the decision to migrate, as they facilitate the transition to a new life in many areas. Family members or friends who already live in the USA can help with looking for a place to live and work, overcome the language barrier, and advise on other matters such as registration formalities or the like. Successful migration is often a status symbol at home and the knowledge that many acquaintances have successfully completed their transition to the USA motivates those who stayed at home to emigrate. Likewise, ensuring that one's own culture is preserved in the target country makes the step there easier. The preservation of customs by the many immigrants and the establishment of communities in homeland associations (Home Town Associations) help to maintain a constant connection to home.[24]

4. Effects of illegal migration

4.1 Effects on the country of origin Mexico

Like the reasons for migration, the consequences on the home country can also be divided into the larger areas of economic and social impact.

4.1.1 Economic aspects

Emigration has both positive and negative consequences for the Mexican economy. What has a positive effect on them are mainly the remittances with which the migrants financially support their families who have stayed in Mexico. These remesas are the second most important source of foreign exchange in the country, which is also the main recipient of these money transfers worldwide, and are often seen as an economic engine in less developed regions. Since 2005, they have been more than $ 20 billion annually[25]. Since most of the recipients of the funds come from poorer backgrounds and can improve their financial situation through the support of the emigrants, income inequality at home is reduced. The consumer behavior of the recipients is also changing, which, in addition to stimulating the economy in general, results in the expansion of new market areas, such as communication via the Internet, to the financial underclass. In addition, the strong emigration of workers eases the situation on the labor market and reduces unemployment. Since the many emigrants often have family members abroad after a while, a decline in remesas can be expected in the long term. This trend can also be observed in the case of emigrants whose families remain in Mexico permanently, as the connection to their homeland weakens the longer they stay in the USA. The high loss of able-bodied population naturally also creates some problems in the Mexican economy. In some rural regions, for example, local production suffers from a labor shortage and stagnation occurs. Economic development can no longer take place, which only exacerbates poverty in these emigration-rich parts of the country.The fact that a considerable part of the working-age population is absent naturally has negative consequences not only locally but also nationally. Instead of migrating from the country to the city and taking up a job there, many young people choose the USA as a destination and the workforce that would otherwise get into the cities through the rural exodus is _not_ there. Another negative impact on the economy is that government investments in education and health are lost.[26]

Remittances also have a negative impact on the economy in some cases, although this plays a less important role in macroeconomic terms.

“The strong inflow of foreign currency contributes to the fact that the exchange rate of the peso against the US dollar rises. This makes Mexican exports more expensive on the world market and domestic imports cheaper and thus harms the development of Mexican industry. "[27]

Since the negative consequences of migration have a more serious impact on the economy than the positive ones, the Mexican government is trying to intensify the promotional remesas. The financing of necessary infrastructure projects in the home by the aforementioned Home Town Associations is supported by the Mexican state, the respective federal state and the municipality with additional investments as part of the “3 times 1” program.

4.1.2 Social aspects

The flight of the working population also has negative consequences for their individual relatives and society. In many rural areas there is depopulation, first of people of working age, then, because of the worsening economic situation, of more and more parts of society, so that parts of the country are completely abandoned. The loss of middle-aged people is causing age polarization in society, which can stunt population growth. In addition, families in which the working father emigrates to the United States, for example, are torn apart and run into debt because they have to finance the emigration.[28]

4.1.3 Further consequences

In addition to economic and social consequences, there are some less significant effects of emigration in Mexico. For example, the migratory flow to the north creates a new internal migration. On the one hand, people from the southern states are moving to the northern states, from which many have come to the USA; on the other hand, more people are migrating from southern Central America to Mexico.

However, emigration also has positive humanitarian consequences for the Mexican population. The additional financial means that the Mexicans who stayed at home receive in the form of remittances can improve the health of migrant families, especially of children. This also results from the medical knowledge that migrants can acquire in the United States.[29]

4.2 Effects on the target country USA

In addition to influencing US society and culture simply through the extremely large number of Mexican immigrants, the most important effects on the US are primarily economic. The US economy also suffers from migration, both positive and negative.

The fact that a large proportion of the immigrants are illegally working in the country is quite beneficial for the economy. The illegal status gives them greater flexibility in terms of where they work. Mexicans, who work primarily in the low-wage sector, can react much more quickly to changes in the US labor market and acute need for cheap labor because they circumvent circumstances and formalities such as registration or work permits. If there is a demand for low-skilled workers, illegal migrants can quickly enter the country and meet the demand, while legal immigrants would have to take the detour via selection processes and waiting lists for residence permits and more.

Many areas of the economy in the low wage sector are dependent on Mexican immigrants. Especially in agriculture and industry, they take on jobs that would be too dangerous, inconvenient or poorly paid for the American people, even for low wages. Without the Mexicans, such companies would have to accept losses due to the demand for higher salaries in the United States. The low wage claims of immigrants and thus the lower production costs of many goods have an overall positive effect on the entire population of the United States. Ordinary citizens save money on products from agriculture, industry or the building sector and can book a higher disposable income.

Negative consequences for the economy are, on the one hand, increased competition in the low-wage sector and, on the other hand, the use of public services without consideration in the form of taxes.

The US labor market is under greater strain due to the strong influx of Mexican workers. Especially in the poorly paid fields in which most Mexicans look for work, competition is increasing, which results in lower wages and can potentially cost the local population jobs.

The lack of registration of illegal immigrants means that these taxes can be avoided. Nevertheless, they use public services such as health care and general infrastructure. The legal system and prisons are also badly affected, which is due to the relatively high crime rate among immigrants. While it accounts for no more than 4% of the total US population, roughly one in five inmates in US prisons is Mexican. The fact that all of these services are used without consideration results in considerable losses for the state.[30]

5. US action against illegal immigration

5.1 Legal regulations throughout history

In the first hundred years of the US's young history, immigration remained largely uncontrolled and migration policy liberal, as it was "decisive for the settlement and industrialization of America and thus accepted"[31] was. Only with that Immigration Act From 1875, certain groups of people, mostly criminals of some kind, were denied entry. Most of the time, checks only took place superficially at the ports where travelers arrived, and people who entered the country without permission could only be discovered if they were in a hospital or prison, for example. With the Chinese Exclusion Act (see Chapter 2) from 1882 it was possible for the first time to speak of a category of illegal immigrants. Fearing that uncontrolled immigration would get out of hand, a limit on immigration was first introduced in 1921 Johnson's Act set. From there on, only 360,000 people were allowed to immigrate each year. That figure was three years later under the Johnson-Reid Act reduced to 165,000. In addition, the law included a mandatory review of entry visas at the borders, which "the conditions for the, undocumented immigrant‘ "[32] created. In 1929, the illegal border crossing was declared a crime and could be punished with a fine or imprisonment. In the same year the Registry Act passed, which allowed illegal immigrants who had been in the country since 1921 at the latest and honest and law-abiding immigrants were when US citizens could register. From the Second World War, the migration regulations were gradually liberalized again. During the period of the Bracero program from 1942 to 1964, a total of around 5 million legal workers came to the USA at times. At that time, in addition to the number of braceros, the number of illegal ones also increased mojados (engl. wetback) who illegally crossed the border, preferably via the Rio Grande. So took place in 1954 the military Operation Wetback took place, in which more than a million illegal immigrants were tracked down and deported in the southwest of the USA and a further half a million fled as a result. According to the implementing authority INS, the problem of wetbacks was erased at that time. in the Hart-Celler Act In 1965, the previous country-specific limitation on migration was lifted and the total maximum number was raised to 290,000 immigrants annually, with the restriction of a maximum of 20,000 immigrants from one country. With the Refugee Act in 1980 an additional 130,000 refugees were allowed annually. After 1929 there was a renewed wave of legalization of illegal immigrants in 1986. Anyone who has lived in the USA since at least the beginning of 1982 was able to Immigration Reform and Control Act legalize his status. The law also aimed to control clandestine migration and employment. From then on, sanctions were imposed on employers who employed unregistered migrants. A total of around three million registrations followed the IRCA. In 1990 the legislation responded to the high demand for labor with the IMMACT, who raised the annual maximum number of immigrants from 290,000 in 1965 to 700,000.

“In 1994, with the NAFTA free trade area, an attempt was made to counter migration with structural policy measures. It was hoped to bring about economic convergence and thus the equalization of salary levels and living conditions in both countries. "[33]

In the nineties there was again a demand for migration policy restrictions, as it was said that “immigration was 'out of control'.” One spoke “in political debates of an 'invasion' […] and immigration [became] a problem of the 'national security' stylized. "[34] So that followed Welfare reformwhich banned immigrants from receiving various social assistance programs either completely or for the first five years of their stay, in 1996, two years after this with the Proposition 187 has already been implemented in California. With the fear that terrorists could cross the land borders into the states, which emerged more and more from September 11, 2001, there was even greater public pressure on efforts to get illegal immigration under control.[35]

The attacks were followed by the transfer of responsibility for immigration and border protection to the newly founded Department of Homeland Security. Furthermore, "questions of immigration and internal security [...] were closely linked in the law known as the Patriot Act"[36]. The USA PATRIOT Act made it easier for the authorities to deport immigrants for minor offenses and keep them in custody for longer.[37]

In the following years, migration policy largely focused on expanding border protection, which will be explained in more detail in point 5.2.

5.2 Border guards

Ever since illegal migration across the Mexican border became a problem, the United States has invested in border security projects, the two most important of which are the Border Patrol and the border fence are.

5.2.1 Border Patrol

Founded in 1924, in the year of the Johnson-Reid Act, which only allowed immigrants with valid visas in the country and thus had illegal immigration as a logical consequence, the task of this border security unit was primarily to deter Europeans who tried to clandestine through detours via the Immigrate land borders from Canada and Mexico. Unauthorized Mexicans were not a serious problem at the time; this type of illegal migration only occurred more intensely in the Bracero era during and after the Second World War.

In 1986, the IRCA again focused on border protection. With the passage of the law, the budget and staffing of the enforcement agency on the southern border were almost doubled. Another similar innovation followed a decade later, the 1996 IIRAIRA. In addition to the welfare reform from the same year, the IIRAIRA aimed to contain illegal migration, on the one hand by planning to double the number of border officers on the Mexican border by 2001, and on the other hand through higher sanctions against illegal border crossings, aiding and abetting and the forgery of documents. In addition, controls on immigrants, for example through the introduction of fingerprint registration, have been tightened. From then on, border officials also had extended reasons for deportation.[38]

5.2.2 Border fence along the southern border

The aforementioned IIRAIRA also included the release of funds for the construction of a fence along the Mexican border. In 1996, an initial investment of US $ 12 million was made. In 2001, the three-meter-high steel fence then extended 76 miles inland to the southwest of the border. Additional upgrades in the border area were floodlight masts, night and thermal vision cameras, motion detectors and roads that were paved for easier access by the border guards.[39]

In 2006 another law was passed that provided for the expansion of border security. Along the 3200 km long border, sections with a total length of 1125 km were to be paved with a fence and a further intensified “virtual wall” made up of radar systems and cameras. For this purpose, after the 12 million US $ in 1996, a further 1.2 billion US $ have been budgeted.[40]

As can be seen in Fig. 4, the borders with the states of California, Arizona and New Mexico in particular have so far been fenced. Almost the entire stretch south of Texas remains open, only in the extreme east, in the valley of the Rio Grande, a longer piece of fence was built again. This is the basis of the concept of the that has existed since the first planning in 1994 segmented enforcement based on:

"Border Patrol agents and surveillance technology would be deployed heavily along the more easily crossed points of the border, while the more remote and isolated portions of the border would be left unpatrolled. This strategy relied on the remote and dangerous geography of the south-west borderlands to act as a_‘natural_barrier ‘."[41]

Such natural barriers are, for example, the Rio Grande, which Texas serves as a natural border with Mexico, or the extensive Sonoran Desert south of California and Arizona, while the cities bordering the USA are places of extensive migration and are particularly secured.

Fig. 4: Map of the Border Patrol sectors and border fence sections (status: 2010)

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: McCutcheon 2010

5.3 Impact of the measures on illegal immigration

This chapter should now determine how the more recent measures listed in points 5.1 and 5.2, beginning with the IRCA, have affected migration behavior.

The additional investments in border security in 1986 made crossing the border undiscovered indeed more difficult. Instead of the desired effect of minimizing these crossings, only a permanent settlement of irregular Mexicans in the USA was achieved, especially of those who up to now regularly returned to their home country and only came to the States when the agricultural_view_of_workplaces_bot.[42]

The employers employing the IRCA against illegal immigrants have hardly been able to contribute to the goal of getting the migrants to immigrate legally. The intention to reduce jobs for illegal immigrants failed because the sanctions were not applied systematically and because employers repeatedly left loopholes in order to remain undetected by the authorities.[43]

The NAFTA free trade agreement actually tripled trade between the member states USA, Canada and Mexico from 1993 to 2007. Nevertheless, it has a development-inhibiting effect on the poor regions of Mexico. In particular, the poorer southern states, which are characterized by agriculture, have been weakened by NAFTA, while wealthier central and northern states benefit from it.[44] "The NAFTA challenged the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by putting them in direct competition with large, heavily subsidized and highly flexible multinational corporations"[45]. The fact that the poor citizens of the Mexican south become even poorer through NAFTA has in turn the effect of emigration. In the years after the agreement, it was found that more immigrants than before came from the southern states. NAFTA has also sparked a rebellious movement in the southernmost state of Chiapas. The Zapatista army turned against the Mexican state, which disregarded the interests of the farmers of the south and made the situation even worse with the trade agreement.[46]

The IIRAIRA and the welfare reform were also unable to curb illegal migration as desired. Neither the worse circumstances for migrants in the country nor the deterrence of new immigrants through higher border security had the planned outcome. The Sans-Papiers stayed in the country and new ones kept coming.[47]

In the course of the 1990s, irregular immigration could hardly be restricted.Instead, more Mexicans came to the States this decade than ever before. By setting up border security in certain sections, the migration flows were only diverted to peripheral areas. As a result, in such more dangerous terrain, there were more migrant deaths attempting to immigrate.[48] In the last 10 years, the annual number of deaths at the border was up to 500, with an upward trend in the long term.[49]

The rise in organized crime can be seen as a further consequence. To avoid the difficult-to-negotiate deserts and mountains of the border area, many illegal immigrants pay a sum of up to $ 15,000 to be transported across the border by people smugglers. Sometimes kilometer-long tunnels are used, which not only encourage people but also drug smuggling.[50]

The statistics on arrests by Border Control are signs that the action against illegal migration is successful. Caused by the severe migration policy restrictions as a reaction to September 11, migration increased less rapidly from 2000 to 2010 than in the previous decade.[51] There has also been a decline in illegal immigration if one trusts the number of Border Patrol arrests, which have decreased by 70% over the past decade.

Nevertheless, the number of migrants who cross the border undetected is considerably high and the decrease in arrests cannot be considered a great success.[52] In conclusion, according to Eastman, it can be said:

"If the effectiveness of federal agencies is measured in terms of preventing illegal immigration, [...] then nearly all of the policies and programs that have been implemented since the early part of the twentieth century would be considered failures."[53]

6. Outlook for future developments

Since 2000 there has been a change in Mexican migration to the USA. After the massive emigration of the 1990s, fewer Mexicans have come to the USA legally since the turn of the millennium (see Fig. 5). The total number of native Mexicans in the USA has also not increased compared to 2010 (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 5: Annual migration from Mexico to the USA 1991-2010 in thousands

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: Passel, Cohn, Gonzales-Barrera 2012

It is questionable whether this trend will continue in the next few years. In any case, however, migration will remain inevitable as long as the economic situation in Mexico is as much worse than in the US as it is now. Instead of relying on the militarization of the border, the push and pull factors at their source should be combated. If illegal migration is only taken immediately at the border, this is not very promising, since the decision to migrate was made long in advance and, as has been shown, the migrants then take life-threatening means shortly before their destination. The Mexican economy should be improved through sensible trade agreements, which should be in the interests of both nations, since this also automatically reduces illegal immigration. A meaningful cooperation would have to include the consideration of the poorer sections of the population, who ultimately make up the largest part of the migrants. However, since Mexican migrants are also critical to the well-being of the American low-wage sector, healthy migration should be maintained. Instead of countering the illegality of crossing the border on site with deterrent means, legal entry would have to be simplified for Mexican citizens, which could be achieved through a more liberal migration policy that can only affect these two states. The necessary investments by the USA would thus be saved in the area of ​​militarized border protection. In summary, an improvement for both countries could be brought about by economic cooperation that also promotes the poor population of Mexico and by more open entry regulations, which can also be implemented in the form of guest worker programs.


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- Knerr, B. (2009): Illegal to the rich neighbor. Many migrants in the USA support families in poor rural areas of Mexico, in: Welt-Sichten, Heft 2-2009, pp. 12-16.

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- Statista (Ed.) (2015): Ranking of the ten largest migration flows between countries as of 2010 (migrants in millions). Zwischen-laendern/, retrieved on: November 9th, 2015.

- Terrazas, A. (2010): Mexican Immigrants in the United States. (status: 02/22/2010), access date: 11/05/2015.

- World Bank (Ed.) (2008): World Developement Indicators 2008. 541670WDI0200810Box345641B01PUBLIC1.pdf, access date: October 24, 2015.

- World Bank1 (Ed.) (2015): World Developement Indicators 2015. PDF / World0development0indicators02015.pdf, access date: October 24, 2015.

- World Bank2 (ed.) (2015): Data. GDP per capita (current US $)., access date: 04.09.2015.

List of figures

Fig. 1: Number of people who emigrated to the USA in 2000 and 1990 in comparison by state. Jones (2010), p. 43.

Fig. 2: Number of Americans born in Mexico, 1850-2013. Data: Migration Policy Institute (n.d.).

Fig. 3: GDP per capita (2007) of the states of Mexico. Lewis (2010).

Fig. 4: Map of the Border Patrol sectors and border fence sections (status: 2010). McCutcheon (2010).

Fig. 5: Annual migration from Mexico to the USA 1991-2010 in thousands. Passel, Cohn, Gonzales-Barrera (2012).


[1]: see Statista 2015

[2]: see World Bank 2008, p. 320ff.

[3]: see World Bank1 2015 pp.114ff.

[4]: see Ennis, Ríos-Vargas, Albert 2011, p. 3

[5]: see Käss 2008, pp. 45-55

[6]: see Terrazas 2010

[7]: see Jones 2010, p. 42f.

[8]: see Merrill, Miró 1996, p. 34f.

[9]: Merrill, Miró 1996, p. 35

[10]: see Jones 2010, p. 42f.

[11]: Käss 2008, p. 46

[12]: see Jones 2010, p. 42f.

[13]: see World Bank2 2015

[14]: see Niesen, Bröker 2007, p. 5

[15]: see Central Intelligence Agency 2013

[16]: see. Käss 2008, p. 48

[17]: see Niesen, Bröker 2007, p. 6

[18]: see Niesen, Bröker 2007, p. 6f.

[19]: Knerr 2009, p. 13

[20]: see World Bank2 2015

[21]: see Niesen, Bröker 2007, p. 4ff.

[22]: see. Käss 2008, p. 48

[23]: Käss 2008, p. 48

[24]: see Knerr 2009, p. 13

[25]: see Banco de México 2015

[26]: see. Käss 2008, p. 53f.

[27]: Knerr 2009, p. 14

[28]: see Käss 2008, p. 53

[29]: see. Knerr 2009, p. 14ff.

[30]: see Niesen, Bröker 2007, p. 7ff.

[31]: Heck 2008, p. 159

[32]: Heck 2008, p. 162

[33]: Käss 2008, p. 55

[34]: Heck 2008, p. 175

[35]: see Heck 2008, pp. 159-176

[36]: Parrott 2012

[37]: see Parrott 2012

[38]: see Heck 2008, pp. 162-177

[39]: see Heck 2008, p. 176ff.

[40]: see Käss 2008, p. 52

[41]: Reineke, Martínez 2014, p. 49

[42]: see. Käss 2008, p. 47

[43]: see Heck 2008, p. 173

[44]: see Eastman 2012, p. 45

[45]: Reineke, Martínez 2014, p. 47

[46]: see Eastman 2012, p. 46f.

[47]: see Heck 2008, p. 177

[48]: see Eastman 2012, p. 57

[49]: see Reineke, Martínez 2014, p. 54

[50]: see Käss 2008, p. 52

[51]: see. Käss 2008, p. 47f.

[52]: see Eastman 2012, p. 58f.

[53] Eastman 2012, p. 57