Friday, September 20, 2019

Illegal Immigration from Mexico: Law, People and Business

Illegal Immigration from Mexico: Law, People and Business Illegal Immigration from Mexico: The Contradiction Between the Law, the People, and Business I. Introduction Before the nineteenth century migration between Mexico and the United States of America was open and did not require any type of verification between the two countries. After the nineteenth century, individuals who crossed the border into the United States without authorization were labeled illegal immigrants[1] These immigrants typically crossed into the United States because of labor shortages and economic disparity. In this essay, I will demonstrate that in regard to Mexican and Latin American illegal immigration, there is a contradiction between the law, business, and public opinion. This will be accomplished through a sociological perspective that will highlight a conflict theory outlook. First, a historical explanation is needed to frame the problem in proper context. II. Mexican Illegal Immigration History As a result of the Mexican American war, Mexico lost a large portion if its northern territory. The Mexicans who lived in this newly acquired area were given American citizenship and movement on the new border remained in flux. In the beginning of the nineteenth century a few inspection stations were created at the ports of entry along the southern border. World war one caused a labor shortage due to a sudden relocation of a mass amount of American males. Mexicans migrated to the United States and filled in the labor shortage caused by the lack of American males. The open border policy changed during prohibition due to a large amount of Mexican alcohol smugglers. The United States border patrol was created in reaction to smuggling in nineteen twenty-four. Additionally, the great depression caused a negative opinion of Mexican immigrants and mass deportations happened between nineteen twenty-nine to nineteen thirty-nine. When the United States entered world war two, a labor shortage s pread across the country. To cure the problem, the Bracero Program was created: [W]hich allowed millions of Mexican men to come to the United States to work on, short-term, primarily agricultural labor contracts. From 1942 to 1964, 4.6 million contracts were signed.[2] The program was ended due to mistreatment of the workers and the xenophobic public opinion. Although the program was terminated, Mexicans kept crossing the border for better economic opportunities. In response to the flux of Mexican migration, the United States: [E]nacted Operation Wetback, a campaign to deport Mexican workers who were in the country illegally. The program succeeded in rounding up over 1 million people, most of them men.[3] Soon after Operation Wetback, maquiladoras were created on the northern border of Mexico to provide cheap labor for United States businesses. Maquiladoras are factories that create and distribute products. They are typically located in impoverished countries and create products for more affluent countries. In addition, an agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico termed NAFTA was created to eliminate tariffs between the countries. Although NAFTA helped the elite in Mexico, it did not help the poor, thus the amount of migration to the United States increased. III. The Contradiction Between the Law, the People, and Business The policies that the United States government has created to stop or slow down the rate of illegal immigration is in conflict with the demand of cheap labor by companies located within the United States. Additionally, public opinion constantly alters and contradicts the policy and business needs. For instance, after world war one, the Bracero program became problematic because of public opinion, therefore a new policy was created to stop the flow of migration. Karl Marx defined capitalism as an economic system composed mainly of capitalists and the proletariat, in which one class (capitalists) exploits the other (proletariat).[4] It is apparent that the dominant ideology was tacit with its workers being sent to a war, which created a need for labor. The bourgeoisie exploited the Mexican migrants for the sake of maintaining their surplus value.[5] The Mexican workers were not the original proletariat but of a lower class, called the lumpenproletariat.[6] Eventually, when the workers came back from war, they were at odds with the Mexican lumpenproletariat, which created an alienation[7] between the two workers. The bourgeoisie/capitalist helped create this contradiction and conflict between the two different workers (Mexican migrants and American workers) and ultimately benefits from a conflict between them. Additionally, the bourgeoisie promotes and creates maquiladoras on the northern border of Mexico for cheap labor in the creation of products that they will profit from. However, the American public opinion opposes these factories because the factory jobs from the United States are abolished and relocated to Mexico. The bourgeoisie controls the means of production or the things that are needed for production to take place (including tools, machinery, raw materials, and factories).[8] In sum, the bourgeoisie promotion of factories in Mexico is in conflict with the workers and public opinion. IV. Laws That Have Led to Modern Day Slave Labor The Bracero program was implemented as a solution to the labor shortage during the war. Consequently, the Mexicans who filled in the gap did not receive the same amount of pay as United State citizens.[9] An instance of modern slavery is being paid a wage that is not enough to survive on. The program was used to exploit the workers and Mexico doubted that a legitimate labor scarcity existed and viewed the Bracero program as a way for the U.S. to obtain cheap labor.[10] Indeed, it seems that the bourgeoisie used this opportunity to pay the Mexicans a lower subsistence wage[11] than their American counterparts. Marxs theory of value claims that all value comes from labor and is therefore traceable, in capitalism, to the worker,[12] which is evident by the exploitation of the workers surplus value. Once the American workers came back from war, a campaign by the people was created to deport the Mexican workers. The campaign was successful and Operation Wetback was created in conjunction to sanctions on immigration. Consequently, once these laws were created, the term illegal alien became widely used. These so called illegal aliens came to the United States in defiance to newly created laws and were given an even lower wage. In sum, these new policies created an underclass of workers that the bourgeoisie exploited. Other policies such as NAFTA created a work scarcity in Mexico that has led to more illegal migration into the United States that the bourgeoisie is eager to exploit. Indeed, since the wages of many Mexican immigrants is not enough to survive on, policies have lead to this exploitation which can be labeled as modern day slave labor. V. Confronting the Problem It seems that neither the American nor the Mexican workers are aware of the exploitation that the bourgeoisie uses for monetary growth. Marx claimed that even the bourgeoisie may not be aware of this exploitation. He claims, The capitalists think that they are being rewarded, not because of their exploitation of the workers, but for their cleverness, their capital investment, their manipulation of the market, and so on. The capitalists are too busy making more money, in money grubbing, ever to get a true understanding of the exploitative nature if their relationship with workers.[13] Marx termed this as false consciousness, and he believed that the workers were capable of being aware of this exploitation through class consciousness. Therefore, a solution to this inequality first requires that the worker be aware of the inequality and then take action to overcome the issue of exploitation, otherwise known as praxis.[14] Consequently, this may be a difficult task, due to the fact that the different workers are in a constant clash with themselves and the bourgeoisie. VI. Conclusion In regard to illegal immigration in the United States, there is a contradiction between the law, business, and public opinion. The border between the United States and Mexico remained open to migration until the early nineteenth century. However, when in a labor shortage, the United States would open its borders to Mexican workers. Once workers returned, the borders were closed, and laws and programs were created to halt or slow down migration. These new policies did not completely stop migration and in some cases may have increased it. Subsequently, these new illegal immigrants were taken advantage of by the bourgeoisie with a salary that was below a subsistent wage, which can be labeled as modern day slavery. Without consciousness, it seems that the workers will be stuck in a revolving Sisyphean conflict between each other and the capitalists. [1] In addition, derogatory terms were used by the public and politicians. [2] http://www.labor.ucla.edu/what-we-do/labor-studies/research-tools/the-bracero-program/ [3] https://origins.osu.edu/milestones/may-2014-immigrant-deportations-today-and-continuing-legacy-operation-wetback [4] Book pg 25 [5] Define surplus value [6] Define lumpenprol [7] Define alienation [8] Pg 25 [9] http://www.unco.edu/cohmlp/pdfs/bracero_program_powerpoint.pdf [10] ibid [11] Define subsistence [12] Pg26 [13] Pg27 [14] Define praxis

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