It’s always worth remembering that many parts of what now is the US were part of Mexico in the past.
As I mentioned in a previous post, before 1965 immigration law was based on ‘racial/national’ discrimination. Based on immigration flows from 1890, the National Origins Act of 1924 imposed quotas on the number of migrants allowed into the US from each country. This had the effect of rolling back immigration from certain countries. Making legal migration much more restrictive, the law gave rise to illegal migration.
As explained here, “politicians were worried that new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (largely Italians and Jews) were genetically “inferior” immigrant stock was threatening Americans’ quality of life.”
The US encouraged seasonal labor from Mexico to alleviate the labour shortages during WWII. Between 1942 and 1964, 2 million braceros migrated from Mexico to the US. The bracero program was supposed to prevent migrants from settling in the United States by sending 10 percent of their paychecks back to Mexico, although when they went back to Mexico, they discovered that the money had never been sent (see map here).
The number of Border Patrol agents on the United States/Mexico border has more than quadrupled from 1995 to 2014.
Immigrants often die of thirst or heat exposure when crossing the desert. Some US citizen groups attempt to provide water stations to keep migrants safe, though they’ve had to face court cases arguing that they’re trying to encourage people to come to the United States illegally.
Officials in Pima County, Arizona, working with a human-rights group, use GIS mapping to track deaths of migrants along the border. They’ve recorded 2,187 deaths in Arizona alone from 2001–2014. See the map from Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants.
Mexican migrants also try to ‘hop’ on La Bestia, freight trains to the US.