Oct 10, 2006, 9:58 PM
Post #4 of 12
I think that one of the common mistaken ideas that people have is that individuals migrate to the USA because they do not have jobs, or are extremely poor and desperate. Those people who are extremely poor or unemployed will find it difficult to raise enough money to migrate to the USA, pay coyotes, etc. According to the study below, the migrants to the USA are a cross-section of the Mexican workforce, not coming predominantly from any one group, such as agricultural workers. Even people with some college education are migrating illegally to the USA. In my view, migration is primarily driven by wage differentials between the USA and Mexico. People are making a rational decision that they would prefer to make $5 an hour in the USA vs. $5 a day in Mexico.
Re: [arbon] Facts about immigration - was Coffee causes violence.
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The Pew Hispanic Center says that
"The vast majority of undocumented migrants from Mexico were gainfully employed before they left for the United States. Thus, failure to find work at home does not seem to be the primary reason that the estimated 6.3 million undocumented migrants from Mexico have come to the U.S. Policies aimed at reducing migration pressures by improving economic conditions in Mexico may also need to address factors such as wages, job quality, long-term prospects and perceptions of opportunity."
" The percentage of migrants coming from the agriculture sector in Mexico has dropped from 41% among those who arrived more than 15 years ago to 20% among recent arrivals. Higher proportions of migrants are now coming to the U.S. with a background in construction, manufacturing and sales. "
"In sum, the respondents to the survey do not appear to have migrated to the U.S. because they were without work in Mexico. The vast majority of migrants were gainfully employed before they moved to the U.S. Their employment background reflects that of the labor force in Mexico—they worked principally in agriculture, construction, manufacturing and commerce (or sales). Male respondents, the elderly, those who did not attend or did not graduate from high school and respondents who arrived in the U.S. more than 15 years ago were more likely than average to have worked in farming in Mexico. The industry background of newly arrived respondents closely matches the current distribution of Mexico’s labor force. To the extent that unemployment has played a role in motivating workers to migrate, its role has steadily diminished over time. Underemployment rather than open unemployment is probably the more important factor behind the decision to migrate. Other economic incentives to migrate are likely to include earnings, job quality, long-terms prospects and perceptions of opportunity. "
"a new Pew Hispanic Center report shows that most of the unauthorized population lives in families, a quarter has at least some college education...."
I don't mean to totally discount the idea that when a region hits bad economic times, more people will migrate, but the statistics show that migrants are coming from even the middle class of Mexico, not predominantly from the poorest of the poor.