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Uma A. Segal Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies School of Social Work & Center for International Studies University of Missouri—St. Louis, U.S.A. MEXICAN.

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Presentation on theme: "Uma A. Segal Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies School of Social Work & Center for International Studies University of Missouri—St. Louis, U.S.A. MEXICAN."— Presentation transcript:

1 Uma A. Segal Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies School of Social Work & Center for International Studies University of Missouri—St. Louis, U.S.A. MEXICAN MIGRATION TO THE USA A Focus on Missouri Immigrants, Policies and Migration Systems: An Ethnographic Comparative Approach (MIGSYS) October 2-3, 2008

2 2 Policies Immigration policies (admission) –Who we let in –Why we let them in –Who we keep out and how Immigrant policies (integration) –Once they are in, how do we help them integrate? –What resources do we allow them to access? –Are there any stipulations to accessing resources?

3 3 Continua of Interest: Host Country Attitudes Political & Cultural Considerations I II Economic Effects III IV

4 4 Immigration Control Policies External immigration control—prevention –Border enforcement (U.S. primary focus) –Visa/passport control Internal immigration control—enforcement –Workplace enforcement –Apprehension & Deportation

5 5 Level of Deprivation in Mexico

6 6 Legal & Unauthorized Immigrants y/index.html?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME

7 7 Total U.S. & documented Mexican Populations, 2007, in thousands AGE United States MexicanMissouriMexican Number% % % % Total Male and Female 301, , , Under 18 years 73, , , years 189, , , years 37, , MEDIAN AGE (years) 36.7(X)25.8(X)37.5(X)23.9(X)

8 8 Occupational Distribution of Natives and Mexican Immigrants ( percent ) OccupationsAll Mexican Immigrants Legal Mexican Immigrants Undocumented Mexican Immigrants U.S. Natives Professional & Managerial Technical sales, Admin., Support Service Occupations, Private Household Farming Managers, Forestry, Fishing Service Occupations, Not Private Household Farming, Except Managerial Precision Production, Craft, and Repair Operators, Fabricators, and Laborers Total100.0

9 9 In September 2007, the Missouri Legislature passed… imposing penalties on employers of undocumented immigrants restrictions on allowing the enrollment of undocumented immigrants in public higher education ensuring that English is used in official deliberations involving the Missouri Highway Patrol in enforcing immigration laws

10 10 State Legislation Education Employment Health Human Trafficking ID/Driver’s Licenses Law Enforcement Legal Services Miscellaneous Omnibus/Multi-Issue Measures Public benefits Voting Resolutions MO high level activity group, passing 21+ laws (44 states together considered 1,100+ bills in the first quarter of 2008

11 11 Data Collection IRB review Subjects –Immigration lawyer specializing in Mexican migration –Physician/Administrator Latino Health Center –Young professional documented male –Middle aged restaurant owner who adjusted undocumented status in the 1980s

12 12 FRAMEWORK FOR THE IMMIGRANT/REFUGEE EXPERIENCE Conditions in Home Country Status in Home Country Experience in Home Country Reasons for Leaving Home Country Push Pull Transition to Country of Immigration Emigration Immigration Response to the Immigration Process Immigrant’s resources Readiness of receiving country for migration for acceptance of immigrant Adjustment to the Receiving Country’s Lifestyle & Culture Implications for Business & Society

13 13 Before Migrating: Nodal Point 1 Taking the decision to move Economic situation Assessing the benefits as outweighing costs In Mexico, family situation poor, but not dire

14 14 Before Migrating: Nodal Point 2 Making the move Opportunities available Legal entry Tourism Legitimate job opportunity

15 15 Migrating: Nodal Point 3 Arrival Housing & assistance Authorized entry Overstay Social network Job-related network

16 16 After Migrating: Nodal Point 4 Adaptation Social integration Career progression Satisfactory employment, education, health care, housing access Difficult Difficult if unauthorized

17 17 Migrating: Nodal Point 5 Settlement Integration Home purchase Experience of discrimination

18 18 Most undocumented migrants in St. Louis are overstays enter with family members although the main agent is the male are young and most women are married retain close ties with family in Mexico come to improve economic opportunities were working in Mexico “plan” on returning to Mexico at some time

19 19 Knowledge of Policies…most are unaware of the range of control policies know that there are channels to get papers that will allow them to work have access to word-of-mouth information about employment opportunities do not anticipate using welfare services know they will pay taxes know that their children will have access to education

20 20 Arrival and settlement Housing support through employer or through family networks Housing and job opportunities readily available Access to Social Security numbers relatively easy Aware of resources available but prefer to stay within Spanish speaking community Network of professional Mexicans not readily accessible…isolation Plans are to earn enough to return to Mexico and live comfortably

21 21 Changes in Migration Patterns Circular migration replaced by permanency in migration Equal gender migration and increases in child migration Movement from border states to less populated states Settlement in small towns rather than urban or rural areas Border control may be working…September MOSTP&SECTION=HOME MOSTP&SECTION=HOME

22 22 Additional Issues Immigration vs. immigrant policies Are current U.S. policies just? Who should be admitted? Who should be denied? How is information about policies disseminated? Is there an adequate infrastructure to implement immigration/immigrant policies? How can implementation be evaluated? What are the short- and long-term consequences of U.S. immigration policies

23 23 Understanding of Immigration Usually immigrants and immigrant experiences Explore further Nodal Points 1 & 2 –Who does not seek to emigrate? –Who rejects the idea of emigrating? “Better” opportunity in Mexico Lost benefits of moving Fear of immigration control policies No resources to move

24 24 Recent observations in EU countries Concerns about keeping the population How can economic opportunities be created in sending countries…case of Korea, Japan, India? Economic opportunities in host countries balanced against loss of culture/networks

25 Thank you In general…the U.S. is receptive to newcomers…it is still the land of opportunity… Uma A. Segal University of Missouri – St. Louis, U.S.A.

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