Describe three different policies of the United States toward the flow of laborers over the Mexican-U.S. border. What conflicts exist between the needs of business, humanitarian efforts, and the socioeconomic conditions in Mexico?
U.S. labor and immigration laws develop and change to reflect the shifting values, ideals, and priorities of both the voting public and elected officials. Recent developments in the areas of border patrol and immigrant labor include: the The Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986), Illegal Immigrant Act (1990), and the Real ID Act (2005). The Immigration Reform and Control act expanded the definition of economic refugee, granting amnesty to an increased number of immigrants and migrant workers. The Illegal Immigrant and Real ID Acts tighten policies and requirements for the hiring and documentation of immigrant labor.
The influx of immigrant labor across the U.S./Mexico border fills significant gaps in the labor market. Immigrant labor has become particularly critical in providing care-related services to the aging baby-boomer population. Many cross the border in order to escape the dangers of drug cartel activity in their neighborhoods, or the threats of human trafficking or child prostitution to themselves and their family. These humanitarian considerations often favor granting amnesty to individuals whom have crossed the border illegally. U.S. immigration and border protection policy continues to evolve in response to these myriad factors.