This paper examines the trials and tribulations faced by Mexican immigrants in American society. My paper argues that Mexican immigrants constitute a social class of individuals who are at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The paper attributes this to the fact that they are subjected to racism and exploitation when they cross the border and come to the United States. Information from my paper comes from secondary sources, including but not limited to the Internet and interviews. Almost 80,000 new immigrants - about 85 percent of them Hispanic now arrive each month in the United States. They come here mainly for economic reasons. According to Gabriela D. Lemus (2000) "the combination of global economic processes where fewer and fewer large corporations own more of the world's productive resources has created a concentration of power in the hands of a few. Dramatic surges in violence in areas of Latin America, combined with the disparities between the haves and the have-nots, and United States economic prosperity and labor shortages have contributed to a new wave of immigration in the United States." Many immigrants risk their lives to cross over the Texas border in search of better opportunities only to be faced with discrimination and exploitation. Many of them are forced to live in shanties and work for less than minimum wage, and are forced out of their homes for missing a single payment. When they do cross the border they are labeled as mojados or "wetbacks". Name-calling is one way that border crossers are identified and sanctioned. In fact, Mexican Americans sanction Mexican immigrants in the way Waters (1994) discusses the sanctioning that goes on between some black West Indian immigrants and African Americans. In order to survive in the United States, Mexican immigrants are forced to choose an identity. They must either be Mexicans, Americans, or Mexican Americans. This is very similar to Waters (1990) argument about how white Americans...
Citations: Lemus, Gabriela D. 2000. Immigration Debate to be Reframed. Press Release of the League of United Latin American Citizens. December, 2000. Washington D.C.
Waters, Mary C. 1990. Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
______________1994. Ethnic and Racial Identities of Second-Generation Black Immigrants in New York City. International Migration Review 28 (Winter): 795-820.
Portes, Alejandro and Robert L. Bach. 1985. Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkley: University of California Press.
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