The Impact of Immigration Laws and Deportation Campaigns on Mexican and Latino Immigrants

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The United States of America has been termed a country of immigrants due to a large number of immigrants entering the US. Currently, there are over 60 million immigrants residing in the United States[1]. The immigrants from Africa, China, Latin America, and Europe are the majority in number. Mexicans and Latin America immigrants constitute the largest percentage of the total immigrants in the United States. With the Americans fear of the immigrants' dominance and erosion of the American society, various debates and reforms, as well as legislation, have been enacted to regulate immigration process in the United State with the year 1964 being considered as a turning point in the United States immigration policies. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these enacted policies and immigration reforms affect the lives of the Mexicans living in America, identify some of the immigration laws and deportation campaigns the United States have initiated in dealing with Mexican and Latino immigrants, identify the central issue among the immigration reformers, and the advocates address as well as documenting impediments affecting the federal government in reforming its immigration laws.

            The Immigration policies and laws such as the SB 1070, employer sanction laws, and other immigration policies enacted in the United States have been found to affect the lives of the Mexicans and Latinos living in America in different ways. Firstly, the anti-migration policies effects manifest themselves in the daily lives of the Mexicans and the Latinos through changes in their health, social use as well as psychological distress.  A study carried out on the influence of anti-immigration policies on Mexicans in Arizona found out that the health issues are related to the immigration policies, as most people live in fear of being deported[2]. Secondly, the immigration policies which actually discourage the immigration of the Mexicans and the Latinos have resulted in increased discrimination of these groups of immigrants. The entire purpose of the immigration policies is to curb the undocumented immigrants, but because race, immigrant status, and ethnicity are usually conflated, so that the all the Mexicans and the Latinos are prejudged as immigrants, and the entire immigrant are perceived as unregistered, thus, in reality, these policies creates unfriendly environment these immigrants. They cannot fully engage in their economic, social or political activities freely. Furthermore, the immigrant policies may serve as an othering mechanism, meaning that these policies can marginalize, stigmatize and even exclude the groups of Latinos and Mexicans who are being othered[3]. The effects of such policies in the lives of these group of immigrants are most likely to go even further since this marginalization is codified and embraced by the state and federal government.

A number of immigration laws and deportation campaigns have been enacted and witnessed in America. One of the campaigns id the Immigration Justice Campaign which seeks to train lawyers to use aggressive legal tactics, build a movement, coordinate advocacy, and litigation process and increase capacity to provide removal defense so as to enable the immigrants in the United States to access the legal counsel against the unfair American deportation system. Another campaign is Stand with Immigrants Campaign, which seeks to mobilize and activate the lawyers as well as other professionals to safeguard and promote the rights of immigrants. The Southeast Immigration Freedom Initiative is another campaign which seeks to offer pro bono legal representation the immigrants who are captured and or detained in the southeastern parts of the United States. Immigration laws are rules and procedure governing who should be allowed and not allowed in the United States, some of the key laws include the Immigration and Nationality Act, which was created in 1952 and began functioning in 1965 committing the United States to accept all immigrants from all nationalities on an equal basis[4], the law also introduced the Visa migration increasing the immigrants from Northern European and American countries including Mexico. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is also another immigration law in the United States which criminalized the hiring of an illegal immigrant and increased border enforcement. This law has been implemented by various stats including the Arizona which has come up with employer sanction laws. Another immigration law is the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, this one provided more border patrol agents and mandated that the immigrants or foreign individuals residing in the United States to carry their ID's with biometric technologies. This has significantly reduced the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Latin countries from entering the United States. Other immigration laws that exist in the United States are The Real Id Act of 2005, the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966.

            Most immigrant reformers in the United States seek to address various issues concerning the United States broken immigration system. First, they address the issue of the rule of law by establishing smart enforceable policies and safeguards. Second, they seek to address the issue of resolving the immigrants, who are illegally present in the United States. A third issue they address is the legal system, they seek to create the legal channels that are very flexible and serve the US interest as well as curbing the illegal immigration. Besides, they address the issue of globalization as a result of immigration, they advocates seek to protect the United States employees from the destabilizing effects of globalization. Finally, the reformers address the issue of American social identity, they seek to foster the inclusive American identity. Immigration advocates seek to address the issues of human rights and the principles of justice through offering a legal quality representation to immigrants.

            In conclusion, the federal government faces a lot of impediments in reforming its immigration laws. The key impediment to these reforms is the politics. The political obstacles are massive, and getting the reform to the president's desk for requires massive support from the Senate and the congress representatives. The political parties’ divisions are also another reason why some of the reforms fail to be enacted[5]. The economic obstacle is another issue affecting the reformation of immigrant laws, some policymakers claim that the immigrants enhance the American economy especially service industries such as insurance and also generating revenues to the government. Massive illegal immigration into the United States, the number of aliens is increasing each and every year making it difficult to reform the immigration laws, failure to control this massive illegal immigration has also been one of the impediments in reforming the immigrant laws. There is also state versus federal government regulation of immigrants, some states such as Arizona have some immigration laws thus hampering the federal government from reforming the immigration laws.


American Immigration Council. 2014. "Immigration Justice Campaign". Immigrationjustice.Us.

Hirschman, Charles. 2011. "The Impact Of Immigration On American Society: Looking Backward To The Future". Borderbattles.Ssrc.Org.


Vargas, Edward D., Gabriel R. Sanchez, and Melina D. Juárez. 2013. "The Impact Of Punitive Immigrant Laws On The Health Of Latina/O Populations."

Viruell-Fuentes, Edna A. 2013. "Beyond Acculturation: Immigration, Discrimination, And Health Research Among Mexicans In The United States". Social Science & Medicine 65 (7): 1524-1535. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.010.

[1] Hirschman, Charles. 2011. "The Impact of Immigration on American Society: Looking Backward to The Future". Borderbattles.Ssrc.Org.


[3] Viruell-Fuentes, Edna A. 2013. "Beyond Acculturation: Immigration, Discrimination, And Health Research Among Mexicans In the United States". Social Science & Medicine 65 (7): 1524-1535. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.010.



[5] American Immigration Council. 2014. "Immigration Justice Campaign". Immigrationjustice.Us.

November 13, 2023

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