Mexican and Puerto Rican Immigration
In the 19th century, before immigration started booming, only a small percent of America’s population was Mexican. Mexicans were in the same boat as Negros; they weren’t treated with any American promise of equality, nor did any treaty or laws protect them. Ignorant Americans treated them as inferior because of their foreign customs and appearances. The Americans that rushed to California to mine gold in 1849 were accompanied by Mexicans, which they didn’t appreciate because the Mexicans were skilled miners and were profitable. Soon, the Mexicans, or “californios,” were prohibited from owning mines or skilled jobs. Most lynching of Mexicans and Mexican Americans occurred between the 1840s and 1920s. The victims either weren’t permitted a trial or were sentenced in unjust trials. So any growth that occurred after 1849 of the Mexican population in America was not a result of immigration, but natural swell. Texas Rangers also played a part in the mistreatment of immigrants; they had cruelly taken the lives of many Mexicans living in Texas. Yet emigration from Mexico increased greatly during the second half of the 19th century. Mexicans arrived to work in commercial agriculture, mining, transportation, stock raising, lumbering, and construction. Conditions and the potential for opportunity in America increased in the 1880s and 1890s. Mexicans entering the U.S. went to work for mine operators, railroads and farmers in the Southwest. By the 1920s, over 70 percent of railroad labor was provided by Mexican laborers. Not all immigrants stayed permanently- some stayed temporary and later returned home. In 1900, there were 300,000 Mexicans in America, mostly in the border states next to Mexico. Only a third of them were born in Mexico, so much of the population was a result of the society growing from the 80,000 present in 1848. The Bureau of Immigration didn’t make an effort to restrict the immigration of Mexicans;...
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