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Presentation on theme: "MEXICAN MIGRATION TO THE USA A Focus on Missouri"— Presentation transcript:

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

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? Literacy in own language increases likelihood of literacy in another

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

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 Literacy in own language increases likelihood of literacy in another

5 Level of Deprivation in Mexico

6 Legal & Unauthorized Immigrants
More recent reports by the Pew Center revealed that its estimates indicate between 12 to 13.5 million undocumented immigrants (56% million from Mexico) reside in the U.S. in 2006 Over half the undocumented immigrants are “overstays.”

7 Total U.S. & documented Mexican Populations, 2007, in thousands
AGE United States Mexican Missouri Number % Total Male and Female 301,621 100.0 29,167 9.7 5,878 122 2.1 Under 18 years 73,908 25.5 10,645 3.5 1,370 23.3 47 0.8 years 189,872 63.0 17,280 5.7 3,727 63.4 71 1.2 65+ years 37,841 12.5 1,242 0.4 782 13.3 4 0.0 MEDIAN AGE (years) 36.7 (X) 25.8 37.5 23.9

8 Occupational Distribution of Natives and Mexican Immigrants (percent)
Occupations All Mexican Immigrants Legal Mexican Immigrants Undocumented Mexican Immigrants U.S. Natives Professional & Managerial 5.5 9.2 1.5 32.2 Technical sales, Admin., Support 10.2 15.0 4.9 29.2 Service Occupations, Private Household 1.7 1.2 0.3 Farming Managers, Forestry, Fishing 1.6 1.1 Service Occupations, Not Private Household 18.3 18.4 18.2 10.3 Farming, Except Managerial 13.4 9.7 17.5 1.0 Precision Production, Craft, and Repair 19.4 17.0 22.0 11.9 Operators, Fabricators, and Laborers 30.1 27.4 33.1 14.0 Total 100.0

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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 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 2008

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 Once immigrants are allowed into the country, or not kept out, what should policies toward them be?

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

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