Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
Prof. Maceri's special column
Mexico in US
Special Contribution
By Domenico Maceri
A Mexican-American family in the US

More than 25 million US residents are of Mexican origin, according to US census figures. Would the number go up if the US Congress approves a guest worker program?

A recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center suggests so. A poll conducted in Mexico reveals that 40 percent of Mexicans would migrate to the US if they had the opportunity. And 20 percent would be willing to work illegally in the US.

The figures are pretty high considering that Mexico's population hovers around 106 million. Why would so many people leave their country? The answer is very simple and has to do with the huge disparity in salaries between the two countries.

According to the World Bank, the US per capita income is about $40,000 compared to Mexico's $ 6,000. The difference is huge.

For unskilled workers in Mexico, daily wages are about six to 10 dollars a day. Given that in the US one can make that much in an hour, is it any wonder people would migrate? The desire to move goes up for Mexicans who have a hard time finding work.

Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 many people working in agriculture lost jobs. A significant number moved from farming areas to major Mexican cities but a lot of them have been coming to the US in spite of strong efforts to secure the border.

In 1994 Operation Gatekeeper began which essentially has been a crackdown at the US-Mexico border to prevent undocumented workers from entering the US.

Although the operation did not reduce the number of undocumented workers from crossing into the US, it did have an impact. Getting into the US became difficult and the use of smugglers became a necessity for those determined to cross the border. In addition, the crackdown replaced the "easy" entry points with dangerous areas, particularly in the Arizona desert.

The result has been a dramatic increase in the number of deaths at the border. In the last ten years, several hundred people lost their lives as they attempted to make it into the US.

The events of 9/11 heightened the need to control the border for fear that terrorists might enter the US from Mexico. That has not happened but it's a possibility.

If the US is serious about securing the border, the attraction for Mexicans to move to the US must be taken away. That means ensuring that only people with legal papers would be hired to work.

Regrettably, far too many companies, big and small, hire people through subcontractors and make little effort to check job applicants¹ background.

Working in agriculture is not particularly appealing given the low wages and the harsh working conditions. Harvesting grapes may last a few weeks and then you¹d be unemployed.

Raising wages to 15-20 dollars an hour might attract some Americans. How many growers advertise jobs with those wages?

There are some bills in Congress which would create a guest worker program and allow Mexican nationals into the US to do seasonal work if no Americans can be found to do certain jobs.

The idea of legal temporary workers would be an improvement over the current situation because it would save the several hundred lives lost every year as people attempt to cross the border illegally. The sticking point would be the situation of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers already in the US. Would they have an opportunity to regularize their status?

As long as Mexico's economy reflects that of a third world country and the US remains a wealthy country, Mexicans will continue to move to the US. It's better for everyone involved if they do it legally and we know who comes in rather than the current system which will only increase the undocumented population.

Related Articles
    Julián Castro's Monolingualism: a ...
    Biden's Immigration Plan: Between Trump and ...
    Legal and Illegal Immigration: A Winning Hand ...
    World Cup: Beyond the Soccer Field
    John Kelly's Fails English and History
    Trump's Tiny Heart and DACA's Repeal
    Yesterday's Immigrants: Better Than Today's?
    Trump's Alternative Reality on Immigration: a ...
    Kaine's Español: Not Just Empty ...
    Immigration: The Supreme Court Hands GOP a ...
    Trump's Tax Returns: Our Business?
    Trump's Wall is Full of Holes
    Angry Latino Voters Will Deny Trump the ...
    Bilingualism and US Presidents
    Cruz: A "Canadian" for the US Presidency?
    Spanish in the US: Just an Immigrant Language?
    US Border Enforcement Bil Too Tough, Unwise
    Freedom of Speech in English Only?
    The GOP: No Guest Worker Program?
    Tancredo: the Ugly Face of the GOP?
    Rights for Illegal immigrants?
    Healthcare for All?
    No English, No Service?
    When Language Knowledge Means Security
    Enough Undocumented Workers?
    Bilingual Principals?
    Domestic Workers: Family Members?
    Tongue-Tied Bush?
    Is Immigration a Local Affair?
    Voting Rights in Español
    Profiting from Illegal Immigration?
    Job Safety for All?
    When English Only Discriminates
    Border Control with Songs?
    Guilty Parents, Innocent Children?
    Only One Language for America?
    George Bush: Already Lame Duck?
    A Comprehensive Immigration Bill That Works
    Language as Integration
    Driving in English Only?
    Illegal Workers Saving Social Security?
    Learning Languages the Easy Way?
    English-Only Laws: Why?
    Arnold Schwarzenegger: Pete Wilson II?
    Language Fluency Means Security
    Stingy Government But Generous People

Other Articles by Domenico Maceri
    Julián Castro's Monolingualism: a ...
    Biden's Immigration Plan: Between Trump and ...
    Legal and Illegal Immigration: A Winning ...
    World Cup: Beyond the Soccer Field
    John Kelly's Fails English and History

Domenico Maceri, Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara, teaches foreign languages at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA. His articles have appeared in many newspapers including Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Japan Times, and The Seoul Times. Some of his stories won awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications.






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Publisher & Editor: Joseph Joh
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange