Treating the alien(ation) in U.S.-Mexico relations

by David Ronfeldt, Caesar Sereseres

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Examines three perspectives on illegal immigration and ties the immigration issue to broader problems in U.S.-Mexican relations. The United States regards illegal immigration as a highly political problem whose solution lies in Mexico. In contrast, Mexico regards the worker migration as a natural phenomenon of structural interdependence with a growing capitalist U.S. economy. Many Chicanos in the U.S. Southwest are caught in the middle. They oppose employer sanctions and roundups of illegal workers because these tread on civil rights of legal Chicano minorities; but they may turn increasingly critical of Mexico for not developing its rural areas. The authors show that both the United States and Mexico lack viable policy frameworks for bilateral relations, and propose a new framework that emphasizes managing the growing U.S.-Mexican interdependence. One cooperative approach would allow Mexican access to U.S. labor markets and U.S. access to Mexican oil and gas production.

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