Chapter seven of Neil Foley’s Mexicans in the Making of America narrates how unauthorized Mexican immigrant workers began their massive inflow to the U.S. job market during the so-called “decade of Hispanics.” The author’s main point is that this migration was caused by economic downfall in Mexico, but he claims that undocumented laborers benefited both countries. Some political leaders could see these advantages and implemented regulations that allowed illegal workers to stay in the United States (Foley, 2014). However, others supported concerns of the population about the rapid rise in the number of Hispanics (Foley, 2014). Still, Mexican workers’ benefits to the American economy could not be denied. Specifically, “the decade of Hispanics” resulted in the drop in the number of occupational injuries among U.S. citizens and reduced Workers’ Compensation (WC) claims despite the negative image of aliens in the media.
The two main points that will be discussed in the essay are the advantages for the American economy from unauthorized cheap labor from Mexico and representation of them by the mass media. American industrial corporations and farms became interested in hiring Mexican workers; thus, 400,000 Hispanic workers entered the United States each year in the 1970s (Gutiérrez, 2020). Since Mexicans primarily took high-risk jobs, it decreased the number of workplace accidents among the U.S. population (Dillender & McInerney, 2020). Furthermore, fewer occupational injuries resulted in a drop in WC claims from citizens (Dillender & McInerney, 2020). Despite these advantages, Americans had a hostile attitude to undocumented laborers; hence, the latter was often presented negatively in the media.
In summary, the essay will be aimed to analyze the role of Mexican immigrant workers in the economy, culture, and politics of the United States. Although Foley presented a detailed narration of this migration’s history, additional literature will be used to support the argument about the substantial benefit that American employers and citizens received from the cheap labor. I noticed that the author had a positive attitude toward illegal migration, justifying it with the complicated economic situation in Mexico. Overall, I agree with Foley’s main point that even though many Mexicans came to the U.S. illegally, these relations were mutually beneficial.
Dillender, M., & McInerney, M. (2020). The role of Mexican immigration to the United States in improved workplace safety for natives from 1980 to 2015. Journal of Health Economics, 70, 1-19. Web.
Foley, Neil (2014). Mexicans in the making of America. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Gutiérrez, D.G. (2020). American Latino theme study: Immigration. National Park Service. Web.