The History of Mexican Immigration to the United States

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Over the passed one and a half centuries, since the Treaty of Hidalgo in 1848 gave the United States most lands north of the Rio Grande, the 1200 mile United States-Mexican border has been a very active one. Mexicans have emigrated from their homeland in droves over these years in three major phases preceded by a small phase. The Mexicans have made this exodus in search of a better life than their homeland could offer. At first Mexicans had no interest in settling in the United States. This sentiment changed when the border had been closed. Mexicans feared never being able to come back to where jobs are much more plentiful than in their homeland. Others were content with the American way and decided to try to become citizens. These people who stayed gathered in the Southwest and major cities like Chicago and Detroit and created thriving communities in America much like that of earlier European immigrants of the past to America. Mexicans first came to America in small numbers with the Sonoran miners and later came in huge numbers at different points in time. They all came for the same reasons, jobs. Migration of Sonoran Miners During the years of 1848 to 1956 miners from the state of Sonora Mexico emigrated to the southern mines of California. The California Gold Rush was in full bloom and the Sonorans wanted a piece of the action. This marked the first exodus, yet minor, of Mexicans to the United States. As many as 500 Mexicans a day passed through the Santa Ines Mission in Northern Sonora. People were so set on leaving and joining in on the gold rush they braved the severe winter of 1848. Mexican officials started to worry because of the depopulation of Sonora. The Mexican Press waged a campaign to ... ... middle of paper ... ...States. In 1960 there were 2.3 million. In 1990 there were 13.4 million. It is projected that in 2010 there will be 40 million Americans of Latino descent (majority Mexican) in the United States." (Gutierrez, Intro XV). Because of this mass immigration, some people in United States have openly opposed continued Mexican immigration. Policies such as Proposition 187 and Proposition 209 will drastically cut the number of immigrants to the United States. I believe these policies are blatantly racist. For years American industry has wanted and openly supported the use of Mexican labor, including illegal labor. I have never heard an opponent of Mexican immigration mention the poor working conditions or illegal activity of industry over these years. This is typical of racism to pick at the places where a person can not fight and not go after the real problem.
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