Essay on Fluctuating Immigration Policy and the Economy

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Fluctuating Immigration Policy and the Economy

During the various decades of 1920 to 1960, immigration policy toward Mexicans was influenced by America's economic status at each decade. During this period there was much fluctuation in attitudes and policies toward immigration. America saw immigration policy go from an almost invisible border in the 1920's to massive military-like roundups of immigrants in the 1950's. During the 1920's while the Immigration act of 1924 was all but halting European and Asian immigration, thousands of Mexicans were allowed to cross the border without any trouble from the new anti-immigration legislation so that Mexicans could work seasonally in the fields. When Depression hit in the thirties,
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Although the majority of the public supported these restrictionist measures, they were not applied to Mexican immigrants. If the Immigration Act of 1924 was applied to Mexicans, there would have been practically no Mexicans allowed into the United States due to fact that the vast majority of Mexicans are of the "Mestizo" type, that is half Indian and half Spanish. Why then, would a measure like this be passed but not implemented on the Southern border? The answer is quite simple; farmers and factory owners relied heavily on Mexican workers for their respective businesses and politicians also sided with pro-immigration groups regarding the new legislation but due to diplomatic reasons. During the 1920's, employers of Mexican workers pleaded for an open-door policy due to the fact that Mexican labor was responsible for much productivity in Southwestern agriculture. Businesses that relied on Mexicans also put up much effort to promote a favorable image of Mexican immigrants by arguing that Mexicans were docile and of no threat to the American way of life (Cardoso 124). Railroads also claimed that they would be forced to shut down if they did not have Mexican workers. In another instance the Arizona Cotton Growers Association asked for the Government's assistance in acquiring Mexican laborers because they argued that without them, cotton production would falter. The Federal Government agreed and allowed the association to send a recruiter

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