Case study: Mexico and the USA

There is a 2000 km border between the USA and Mexico as illegal migration is a huge problem. U.S. Border Patrol guards the border and trys to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country. Illegal migration costs the USA millions of dollars for border patrols and prisons.

In 2012, the Obama administration deported a record 409,849 undocumented immigrants, arriving at a rate of about 34,000 a month.

Many Americans believe that Mexican immigrants are a drain on the economy. They believe that migrant workers keep wages low which affects Americans. However other people believe that Mexican migrants benefit the economy by working for low wages.

Mexican culture has also enriched the USA border states with food, language and music.

Impact on Mexico

The Mexican countryside has a shortage of economically active people. Many men emigrate leaving a majority of women who have trouble finding life partners. Young people tend to migrate, leaving the old and the very young.

Legal and illegal immigrants together send some $6 billion a year back to Mexico. Certain villages such as Santa Ines have lost two thirds of their inhabitants.

There is a large wage gap between the USA and Mexico. Wages remain significantly higher in the USA for a large portion of the population. This attracts many Mexicans to the USA.

Many people find living in rural Mexico a struggle because they have to survive with very little money. Farmland is often overworked and farms are small.

It is estimated that 10,000 people try to smuggle themselves over the border every week. One in three get caught and those that do are likely to continue trying to cross the border at least twice a year.