Mexican Americans are Americans whose original homeland is Mexico. Ten percent of the current population of United States of America is made up of people from Mexico. Most Mexican Americans are descendants of early indigenous Mexican immigrants (De Leon 41). Mexicans have been migrating into United States of America for a long time and they still migrate into the country to date. Extensive migration of Mexicans into America however started in the 1880s when a rail-road network was built in the south-western sides of America that linked America to the northern part of Mexico.
Though the rail road transformed the economy of both areas, it led to the decline of the Mexican entrepreneurship. This led to increased immigration from Mexico to the United States of America and by 1900; more than 130,000 Mexican immigrants had entered the US. They started spreading to non Hispanic areas and by 1915, Mexican Americans had settled as far as Chicago and Kansas City. The First World War spurred economic growth in America which led to increased labour requirements (Hero 16). There was a labour vacuum in America and this led employers to seek workers from the south leading to a wave of what is called labour immigration of Mexicans to United States of America. Mexicans migrated into American labour sectors especially into the urban Midwest cities and the rapidly growing cities in the south-west. This migration was reversed in the 1930s during the great depression. At this time, there were more than half a million Mexicans in United States of America and most of them lost their jobs due to the depression.
The American government embarked on a mission of deporting undocumented Mexican aliens while some of the legal migrants were also repatriated to their countries (Gonzalez 89). Immigration of Mexicans to United States of America resumed in the forties when United States of America declared war. Mexicans enthusiastically migrated to America to enrol in almost all the branches of the armed forced and those who were not enlisted in the army engaged in the home front efforts. Women also crossed over to the United States to work in the war industry. After the war, there was another period of economic prosperity in United States of America and labour requirements were high. The fifties therefore saw unprecedented levels of Mexicans into America where tens of thousands were recruited to work in agricultural and rail-road sectors. Since 1965, Migration of Mexicans into United States of America has continued unabated.
However, due to economic decline of Mexico in the eighties and nineties, there has been a big wave of illegal immigration into United States of America which has seriously hurt America socially, culturally and economically. America has tried to enact regulations to stem the illegal immigration of Mexicans into the country but such efforts have not been successful. Unlike many other ethnic groups in America that are concentrated in some specific areas, Mexicans are widely distributed all over the country though there are some states like Los Angeles that carry the largest number of Mexican Americans. There are more than six million Mexicans in the Greater LA area. The second largest Mexican community lives in Chicago, Illinois where there are more than two million Americans of Mexican descent. The third largest population of these people is found in Houston and San Antonio in the state of Texas. Half of the population of the city of San Antonio is actually made up of Americans. More than half of the city of El Paso in Texas is composed of Mexican Americans due to its proximity to the Mexican border. The state of Arizona also has a significant number of Mexican Americans given that it is the state that shares the largest border with Mexico (Gonzalez 78). It is worth noting that most Mexican Americans are found in the states of California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona but other areas like Denver in Colorado and Sacramento also have large populations of Mexican Americans. However, cities in the East and the North are not immensely habited by the Mexicans. There are very few Mexicans in New Jersey, New York, Washington, Ohio and Arkansas. It is also worth noting that Mexican Americans, unlike other ethnic groups in America have restricted themselves to the cities and it’s only in the state of Arizona and Texas where they can be found in the countryside.
The historical status of the Mexicans Americans has changed only slightly in the past few decades. Though the Mexicans have been accepted as whites in United States of America, they seem to attract more hatred from the American natives than other ethnic groups in this world power nation. The number of hate groups targeting Mexicans in United States of America has increased considerably in the twenty first century mainly because of the thorny issue of illegal immigration and the anti-Mexican sentiment. According to FBI statistics, 67 percent of crimes directed towards ethnic groups target the Mexican Americans and the number of hate crimes directed towards Latinos of Mexican origin doubling every year in the states of California. These statistics therefore asserts that Mexican Americans may be the most endangered ethnic groups in United States of America. This means that their current status may be even worse than it has been through their entire history of settlement in united states of America .
De León, Arnold. Mexican Americans in Texas: A Brief History WA: Sage. 1999
Gonzalez, Nancy. The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico: A Heritage of Pride .NY: McGraw-Hill, 1969
Hero, Rodney. Latinos and the U.S. Political System. NJ: Pearson, 1992