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Research Questions

  1. What are the contemporary and historical policy contexts of Mexican immigration to the United States?
  2. What are the economic conditions, social structures, and government programs in Mexico?
  3. What do U.S. and Mexican policymakers think about factors influencing Mexican migration and U.S.-Mexican relations?
  4. What were the accomplishments of Mexico's social and economic policy reforms up to 2011?
  5. What are the remaining challenges to sustained economic growth in Mexico?
  6. How have U.S. attempts at immigration reforms fared?
  7. What was popular public opinion in the United States and Mexico about U.S.-Mexican relations and migration?

Abstract

This binational reference for U.S. and Mexican policymakers presents the interrelated issues of Mexican immigration to the United States and Mexico's economic and social development. Differences in economic growth, wages, and the employment situation between two countries are critical determinants of immigration patterns, and the migration of labor out of Mexico, in addition to economic and social policies, affects Mexico's development. The authors researched the contemporary and historical policy contexts of Mexican immigration to the United States; Mexican economic and social policy and U.S. immigration policy up to 2011; and popular public opinion on U.S.-Mexican relations and migration. They find that there are solid achievements on which to build but that some areas remain in need of further action: Immigration policies in both countries continue to be characterized by unilateralism; Mexico would benefit from further fiscal reforms and antimonopoly regulations; and resolution of troubled trucking legislation demonstrates that the two countries can overcome contentious bilateral issues. They recommend using information tools to understand migration flows and trends and having a single organization committed to recording labor movements of immigrants; stimulating growth in the formal economy and rural areas of Mexico; broadening the tax base in order to improve government revenues and the capability to target social and economic issues; promoting greater market competition; allowing private producers into some segments of Mexico's energy sector; allowing for less costly hiring and firing practices by firms in Mexico; making education quality a primary policy objective; reforming pension systems with cash-flow deficits; and improving international understanding through media and educational forums.

Key Findings

There are solid achievements on which to build in U.S.-Mexican relations, but some areas remain in need of further action.

  • U.S. opinion on immigration and immigrants is mixed.
  • Immigration policies in both countries continue to be characterized by unilateralism.
  • Illegal immigration is a charged subject for U.S. citizens and Mexican immigrants alike.
  • Not all U.S. citizens believe that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) works in their favor.
  • Resolution of troubled trucking legislation demonstrates that the two countries can overcome contentious bilateral issues.

Recommendations

  • Improve the facilitation of the legal labor market.
  • Use information tools to understand migration flows and trends.
  • Have a single organization committed to recording labor movements of immigrants to support all current and future immigration policy.
  • Improve international understanding when approaching the immigration issue.
  • Stimulate growth in the formal economy of Mexico.
  • Broaden the tax base in order to improve government revenues and the capability to target social and economic issues.
  • Promote greater market competition.
  • Invest in expanding refining capacity and natural-gas production.
  • Allow private producers into some segments of Mexico's energy sector.
  • Effectively restructure labor regulation to meet current workforce needs.
  • Allow for less costly hiring and firing practices by firms in Mexico.
  • Promote economic growth in rural areas.
  • Make education quality a primary policy objective as soon as possible.
  • Coordinate social policy across all sectors.
  • Reform pension systems with cash-flow deficits.
  • Improve international understanding through media and educational forums.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Part One

    Migration from Mexico: A Critical American Issue

    • Chapter Two

      Immigration by the Numbers

    • Chapter Three

      Moving Out: Historical Background of Mexican Migration Policy

    • Chapter Four

      Immigration Patterns

    • Chapter Five

      Migration's Effects on Origin and Destination Countries

    • Chapter Six

      Causes of Migration from Mexico to the United States

    • Chapter Seven

      Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

  • Part Two

    Progress and Challenges: Mexico's Economic and Social Policy

    • Chapter Eight

      The Economic and Social Landscape of Mexico

    • Chapter Nine

      Mexico's Economic Management

    • Chapter Ten

      Inequality, Poverty, and Social Policy in Mexico

    • Chapter Eleven

      Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

  • Part Three

    The Past and Present of U.S.-Mexican Relations

    • Chapter Twelve

      Immigration Policies and Proposals During the 2000s

    • Chapter Thirteen

      U.S. Public Opinion on Immigration and the North AmericanFree Trade Agreement

    • Chapter Fourteen

      Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

  • Part Four

    Conclusion

    • Chapter Fifteen

      Conclusion

  • Appendix

    Political Contexts Behind Mexican Reforms

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