The 12 Months of Mac project was supposed to involve sofafrees, but this month it's a whole new ballgame.
2 months ago
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At the end of the day, Mexicans emigrate for reasons similar to those of others thorughout history. They are looking for better-paying jobs than the ones they can find and keep at home; they are not necessarily unemployed, and, in fact generally are employed in the case of those who come from the cities- a growing segment. Most emigrants hold jobs- without some income they could not pay for the voyage- but low-paing ones. As long as the wage differential (up to ten to one) between the two countries remains as large as it is, and compensates in the mind of teh migrants for the danger, fear, and misery of the exodus, they will continue to travel. This is why there is a basic contradiction in the viewpoint many people in the United States- liberals and conservatives- have of the process. If they want free trade between Mexico and the United States to work, capital must flow to Mexico to take advantage of lower wages to make American firms more competitive; but if wages are low enough to attract capital, they are also low enough to drive emigration.Previously, there was what Castaneda calls "circularity": Mexicans were migrants as the subtitle suggests. This ended in 1996, according to Castaneda, and Clinton's crackdown on immigration via walls and difficult entry processes. This made crossing and extremely difficult and risky process not worthy of repeating. Rather than going north for seasonal or temporary work, Mexicans cross and don't go back, becoming immigrants. Previously, there were also traditional Mexican "gateway" states- California and Texas, New York, Florida, etc. But more recently, there are second- and third-tier states with fast growing and large Mexican settlements: North Carolina, Georgia and Washington in the first group, South Dakota, Missouri, New Hampshire in the second group. Meanwhile, the "sending states" from Mexico are changing as well: previously almost all of the migrants came from the rural and conservative states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Michoacan or Zacatecas, a mining state in the center of Mexico. But since the 80s, areas all over the country, including Mexico City are becoming sending states. Previously Mexicans looked down on emigrants to the US, but now, Castaneda shows, the tides have turned, for a variety of reasons, many practical and financial.