Re-conceptualization of Economic Migrants: An Interpretative Research Study of NAFTA in Mexico

Document
Description

The current immigration flow to the United States from Mexico has been polarized by politicians and anti-immigration groups, with a rhetoric that immigrants are a danger to the sovereignty of

The current immigration flow to the United States from Mexico has been polarized by politicians and anti-immigration groups, with a rhetoric that immigrants are a danger to the sovereignty of the country and an economic burden. These accusations ignore the role played by trade agreements in causing such migration patterns by displacing Mexican migrants and how U.S. immigration policies subsequently condemn these economically displaced migrants into illegality. This thesis examines the role national governments and laws of both the United States and Mexico play in formalizing the undocumented flow and the contestation of these economic migrants. I challenge the contemporary view of trade agreements as pull factors by showing how they also function as problematic push factors of migration through displacing Mexicans from their land and any meaningful form of economic security. Once displaced, these communities seek opportunities by migrating to the U.S., where they cross into illegality. Together, examining displacement and subsequent illegality, this thesis reveals the problematic, yet hidden role played by trade agreements in Mexican migration to the U.S. and gaps in current U.S. immigration laws that has preserved the injustices created when neoliberal economic policies and immigration politics provide no protection to impacted indigenous communities.