Mexican Workers in the United States Labour Market: A Contemporary Dilemma

Vernon M. Briggs Jr., Cornell University

Suggested Citation
Briggs, V.M., Jr. (1975). Mexican workers in the United States labour market: A contemporary dilemma. International Labour Review, 112, 351-368.

Required Publisher Statement
Reproduced by permission from the copyright holder, the International Labour Review.


"Ever since the present political boundary separating Mexico and the United States was established in 1848 by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and partially amended in 1853 by the Gadsden Purchase, there has been migration of Mexican citizens into the United States. In fact the border between the two nations was completely open until, with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, the Border Patrol was established and it became a felony to enter the United States illegally. No quota, however, was applied to immigration from Mexico until 1968. During that year legislation became effective which restricted total annual immigration from all Western Hemisphere nations to 120,000, with a maximum of 40,000 from any one country. Both these figures are regularly exceeded. In 1973, for instance, there were 173,123 legal immigrants from all Western Hemisphere nations, including 70,141 Mexicans. That the real flow exceeds the quotas is explained by the numerous exemptions allowed. With the exception of only three years since 1960, legal immigration from Mexico to the United States has exceeded that of every other nation in the world."