Issues Facing Latino Immigrants in Today s Political Climate Essay - 3851 Words



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Issues Facing Latino Immigrants in Today's Political Climate

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The United States is a country built on immigration, both legal and illegal. One of the most influential groups in terms of immigration in America is the Latin American demographic. Latin Americans influence everything from their local economies, politics, culture and society in general. There are a number of arguments made both for and against continued immigration by Latinos, from the fact that all Americans are descended from immigrants to the fact that they provide needed labor in areas that many American citizens are less inclined to work in. The argument against immigration is that allowing Latin Americans in steals jobs from U.S. citizens, they contribute unduly to crime statistics or that they take advantage of social services reserved for legal Americans without paying the taxes that keep these programs in service. In this paper, I will present a brief history of Latin American immigration and present arguments both for and against continued movement into the United States. The close of the paper will be reserved for my opinion on what the best course of action would be to curtail the problems facing immigration in the United States.

“The first significant wave of Mexican workers coming into the United States began in the early years of the twentieth century, following the curtailment of Japanese immigration in 1907 and the consequent drying up of cheap Asian labor. The need for Mexican labor increased sharply when the Unites States entered World War I. The Mexican government agreed to export Mexican workers as contract laborers to enable American workers to fight overseas. After the war, an intensifying nativist climate led to restrictive quotas on immigration from Europe and to the creation of the U.S. Border Patrol, aimed at cutting back the flow of Mexicans. But economic demand for unskilled migrant workers continued throughout the Roaring Twenties, encouraging Mexican immigrants to cross the border—legally or not.” This early need for labor, stemming both from a lack of available men due to the war effort and a distrust of Asian immigrants, became the catalyst for Mexican workers to begin migrating into the U.S. The ready work, better wages compared to those in their home country and promise of a better life either in the United States or back in their home countries, led many Latinos to cross the border and begin settling and working in America.

The early influx of Latino laborers helped combat the loss of American men to the war effort in Europe. World War I and World War II diverted a great many American males to Europe and the Pacific to serve in the military, which left businesses short on labor. Although women started entering the work force at this time, there still was a dearth of labor to fill all the roles that had opened up with the mass exodus of American males into the military.

Following the return of the United States military after the war effort subsided, there was less need for immigrant labor and so a great many of the Latino workers returned to their home countries. The desire for legal immigrant labor to fill necessary position started evolving into its current state, whereby businesses supplant legal workers with illegal workers, thus gaining access to the labor that their businesses require while only paying a fraction of the wages that legal citizens would demand. “One of the tools conservatives have used very successfully over the past 25 years to drive down wages, bust unions, and increase CEO salaries has been to encourage illegal immigrant labor in the US. Their technique is transparently simple. Conservatives well understand supply and demand. If there's more of something, its price goes down. If it becomes scarce, its price goes up.

They also understand that this applies just as readily to labor as it does to houses, cars, soybeans, or oil. While the history of much of the... Show More

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