Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard
August 19, 2015
Not so long ago, migration between Mexico and the United States followed a circular pattern, whereby migrants moved regularly between the two countries, chasing seasonal jobs. But recent research published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies finds that immigration policies—and the militarization of our Southern border—have disrupted this pattern, effectively caging in undocumented immigrants rather than keeping them out as intended.
Throughout much of the 20th century, scores of laborers would arrived with six-month work visas in hand as part of the Bracero Program, working in the U.S. for half the year before returning home to Mexico. When the program ended in 1964, migrants continued to circulate between the two countries undocumented. Then in 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which cracked down on undocumented hiring and increased the number of border patrol officers.
For every million-dollar increase in budget, the odds a migrant would return home to Mexico in any given year dropped by 89 percent.[...]
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