Liberalization, Migration and Development: the Mexico-U.S. Relationship

Migration from Mexico to the United States has been increased by liberalization of the Mexican economy. Proponents of liberalization had maintained that it would reduce migration; indeed, they used this argument along with anti-immigrant sentiment as one basis on which to sell the North American Free Trade Agreement to the U.S. public. The anti-immigration demagogy was not only offensive in sentiment but also wrong in substance. Various impacts of liberalization have been causal factors moving people northward and maintaining the high rate of migration. This reality should force a reassessment of policy in the United States. A policy that accepted the reality of continuing migration and integrated the immigrants into the labor force with full rights could have widespread benefits.

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