Farm workers picking cotton - NARA - 280050
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org)) Permission Details DMCA
With all the focus on a wall to (in a way) quarantine Mexico and President Trump's notorious disinclination to read, one wonders if he would be interested in a brief history of Mexican immigration ...
But a law does not diminish the need for labor, so the business went underground. The law had not criminalized the hiring of illegal migrants, so Mexicans continued to come, although without documents. At the end of the season, they could still go back to their families because it was easy to cross the border.
As might have been expected, next came pressure to tighten border controls which they did, hiring more border patrol agents, putting up fences at the easiest crossing points and increasing vigilance. It was no longer easy to go back to Mexico after the season to stay with family, for the return trip to the U.S. had become hazardous. The temporary workers became a permanent fixture. They naturally sent for their families, and communities of illegal migrants sprang up. As is clear, they did not want to come to the U.S. -- that was not their first choice; they were forced to because of repeated short-sighted government efforts.
Then came NAFTA which halved the price of corn in Mexico (due to cheap subsidized American imports) and forced Mexican farmers off their land. Where could they go but north and families followed. Add U.S. initiated regime changes in Central America -- persecution of labor leaders, extra judicial killings and general chaos there -- and waves of people fleeing chaos added to the undocumented immigrant population. That number is now a little over eleven million, approximately three percent of the total U.S. population. If Libya, Syria and Iraq had been on this continent, one could easily have added another million (or two) to the figure.
In 2014 aboard Air Force One, President Barack Obama summarized his foreign policy in the pithy phrase, 'Don't do stupid sh*t'. In the first sixty days of the Trump presidency, it appears to most observers that his successor somehow failed to hear the 'don't'