9 Int'l Migration Rev. 3 (1975)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv9 and id is 1 raw text is: 







Illegal Migration from Mexico

to   the United States:

A   Longitudinal Analysis

by Parker  Frisbie*

    Migration  is one of the most significant of all human behaviors, and a
wide  range  of variables  has been  spanned   in the search  for possible
determinants  of the redistribution of population.  It has been suggested,
for example,   that demographic,'   political,' and psychological' factors
exert a significant causal influence. However,   regardless of what  other
variables may   be operating,  migratory  streams generally seem  to flow
from  a place  of origin where  economic   opportunities  are restricted to
destinations where  economic   opportunities are comparatively  great.' In
the present research, the economic dimension   will constitute the basis for
an  investigation of an intriguing  case of international migration-the
movement of   illegal migrants from  Mexico  to the United  States.5
    The research is longitudinal, encompassing   the period 1946  through
 1965. Specifically, an effort is made to account for changes in migration
 rates6 in terms of changes in certain predictor variables. To illustrate, the

 *Dr. Parker Frisbie is Associate Director, Population Research Center, The University of
 Texas at Austin.
 )Cf. Julian Samora, Los Mojados: The Wetback Story (Notre Dame, University of Notre
 Dame Press, 1971); Texas Good Neighbor Commission, Alien Labor and Immigration,
 Texas Migrant Labor, Annual Report, 1971.
 2W. Petersen, A General Typology of Migration, American Sociological Review, Vol. 23
 (June 1958), pp. 256-266; Leo Grebler, et al., The Mexican-American People (New York,
 The Free Press, 1970), Chapter 4; Samora, op. cit., especially Appendix 1.
 'See R. C. Taylor, Migration and Motivation: A Study of Determinants and Types, in
 J. A. Jackson (ed.) Migration (Cambridge, The University Press, 1969), pp. 99-133.
 4Empirical evidence can be adduced in support of this proposition as it applies to
 international migration. Dorothy S. Thomas [Social and Economic Aspects of Swedish
 Population Movements, 1750-1933 (New  York, MacMillan, 1941), pp. 166-169]
 demonstrated that Swedish migration to the United States flowed in response to business
 cycles with high levels of movement occurring only with the combination of a depressed
 Swedish economy and favorable economic conditions in the U.S. A similar interpretation
 has been given with respect to immigration of Mexicans to the U.S. (Texas Good Neighbor
 Commission, op. cit.; Grebler, et al., op. cit., pp. 75-77).
 5In ignoring other categories of explanatory variables, the implication is not that only
 economic variables are of significance. It is assumed that economic factors are of sufficient
 importance to warrant analytical focus.
 'Rates (based on population at origin) are, for most purposes, much more useful as a
 measure of migration than absolute numbers. As Donald Bogue and W. S. Thompson point


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