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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 52 / 153

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The Border:

Driven by poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity many Mexicans have chosen the United States as the place to improve their lives.

During WWII the presidents of both nations agreed to allow Mexican workers, called braceros, to enter the US as agricultural workers.

Regardless, each year hundreds of thousands of undocumented Mexicans illegally cross the border in search of work (estimated at 4  to 6 million at any given time).

For the Mexican government this is a blessing since such mass emigration is a sociopolitical safety valve and results in an inflow of dollars sent home by workers.

Still, the US has attempted to stem the flow by negotiating treaties so that US companies and Mexican states along the border would profit from the creation of assembly plants (maquiladoras).

Low wages and lax labor and environmental law enforcement has resulted in US firms gaining profits while the Mexican government reaps the benefits of employment and tax dollars.

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