Intercultural Learning Classes at German Schools. Effects of the Mexican Diaspora on the US-American Society as an Example

Term Paper, 2015

12 Pages, Grade: 2,3



1. Introduction

2. Objective Clarification
2.1 Historical Development of the Mexican-US-Migration
2.2 Economical Advantages
2.2.1 For the Mexican Immigrants
2.2.2 For the United States
2.3 Mutual Prejudice
2.3.1 Mexican Prejudice against the United States
2.3.2 US-American Prejudice against Mexican Migrants
2.4 Integrational Efforts

3. Didactical Consideration

4. Conclusion

List of Literature

1. Introduction

„If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadow and get right with the law. If you are a criminal, you will be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.“1 President of the United States Barack Obama used these words in his speech about the problems of the immigration system of his country. The goal of his speech was to convince the citizens of the United States of his plan to legalize the status of about five million illegal immigrants, taking into account some specific conditions. This offer counts mainly for parents who live illegally in the US but have children with US-citizenships or who have a work permission and live there since at least five years. It also counts for people who migrated illegally as children to the United States. Obama wants to enforce this primarily to get these people 'out of the shadows' and thereby out of criminality. Furthermore, he wants to free the illegal migrants from the omnipresent fear of being deported.2 But the point is, like Obama said in his speech, due to the fact that illegal migrants have to stay in the shadows of their society, parallel societies arise and split the people of a country, like it already happened in the United States. So, what can we as teachers learn from the situation in the United States and what can we do to avoid such in Europe and Germany? In my view it is possible to convey students that early arrangements of integration can support the social peace and the mutual acceptance within multiethnic societies through information about the diverse problems of strong Mexican parallel societies in the US. In the following I am going to conduct an objective clarification of the important matters which influenced today's situation in the United States. Therefore, I will examine the historical development of the Mexican American relationship beginning with the end of the Mexican American War in 1848, the economic effects on Mexican migrants and the United States, the mutual prejudice, and the integrational efforts. During the further procedure I want to focus on how teachers in Germany can prevent a situation like the US has to face it currently.

2. Objective Clarification

2.1 Historical Development of the Mexican-US-Migration

The rate of migration to the United States was rather low in the 20th century. Mexican immigrants worked primarily as farm workers. Due to the poor transportation and communication system at that time, it was quite difficult for them to work in a non-border state of the United States. Nevertheless, the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920 triggered a wave of migration to the United States. The Great Depression, from 1929 to 1941, made the conditions in the United States disastrous and the rate of unemployment was extremely high. As a result, the demand for labor force from Mexico decreased rapidly. Agricultural employers made an effort to exempt Mexican migrants from immigration restrictions and the Congress then developed the US guest worker program to allow Mexican immigrants to work from 1917 to 1921 in the United States. In 1929, the US-government tightened the restrictions which induced thousands of Mexicans to migrate back to Mexico. Furthermore, the Mexican government started campaigns to prohibit emigration.3

In order to strengthen the relationship between Mexico and the United States, a bilateral guest worker program, the so called 'Bracero Program' was established by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thereby the Mexican workers would get a minimum wage, health benefits, lodging and expenses for their transportation. The program was suspended in 1948 by the United States but resumed in 1951 after the Korea War broke out. At the program's peak in the 1950s, about four hundred thousand Mexican migrants a year worked on farms in the United States. Strong efforts of both governments led to an organization of an infrastructure to move agricultural workers from Mexico to the United States.4 During the mid-1960s the volume of migration flows grew bigger. At this point the seasonal movements turned into permanent migrations. The Bracero program granted up to 4.6 million visas by 1964. This led to an arising of a migration-oriented generation among the Mexicans. Finally, the growing push and pull factors and the minimizing possibilities for less skilled migrants led to illegal migration of Mexicans into the US. During the 1970s the government of the United States started to punish employers of illegals. In 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was confirmed which enacted the legalization of the status of a number of illegal immigrants, further sanctions for their employers and the advance of the border security staff.5 In the following time, the immigration control was expanded by the United States as a result of still increasing numbers of immigrants from Mexico. The Globalization pushed US wages down while the demand for low-skilled and cheap workers, also in other parts of the United States, became stronger. The Congress again passed new laws in order to minimize illegal migration. The laws focused on more border security and the restriction of welfare benefits. In 1990 the Immigration Act and the Nicaragua Adjustment and Central American Relief Act canceled down the visas for low-skilled workers from 29,000 to 5,000 a year.6 Border patrols and migrant screenings were also intensified after the 9/11-attacks. Due to the fact that many Mexican migrants cross the border frequently and live and work on both sides, it can be seen as a transnational community today.7

2.2 Economical Advantages

2.2.1 For the Mexican Immigrants

In this context we have to mention the concept of push-and-pull factors, which have been used to explain migration in the past.8 For example the main reason why migrants, not only Mexicans, come to the United States is that they want to raise their standard of living. The United States are an attractive destination because it simply is one of the richest and wealthiest countries in the world which offers a lot of jobs, more income, and opportunities to escape poverty. Another reason why parents often want to migrate to the United States is that their children seem to have a much more promising future due to a better education than in their home country. These are considered as pull factors because the migrants are 'pulled' by the advantages of the new country. But they can also be 'pushed' out of their home country, for example because of bad living conditions. So, in a way they are both, 'pulled' and 'pushed'. But there are also migrants who only want to stay in the United States for a specific period of time. Not all of them come compulsory because of bad conditions in their home country or poverty. Some of them plan to return to spend their twilight years in their country of origin or to buy land. Some just want to use their gaining which they made in the United States to get started back home in Mexico.9 In fact the individual reasons for migrating into the United States are diverse but the leading idea always seems to be a better future for themselves or at least for their families and children.

2.2.2 For the United States

The United States' demand for cheap workforce plays a significant role in terms of immigration. Especially states located at the Mexican-US border like California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico owe the migrants their wealth and rely on their workforce in terms of agriculture for example. The United States often use migration if there is a demand for manpower in the country. Moreover, the more people, who are willing to work for less money, migrate to the United States, the lower will be the wage an employer has to pay. This in turn enhances the production power and leads to a favorable situation for the United States. In other words, the production, and the sales volume increases while the costs decrease. Furthermore, some of the immigrants may be enterprisers, creating a business and jobs in the United States. Immigration makes the economy of a country more productive through innovations and plenty of available workforce. Innovations in turn lead to the establishment of new companies and therefore to more and better jobs.10


1 Acosta, Jim, and Stephen Collinson. „Obama: You can come out of the shadows.“CNN 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Sep. 2015.

2 Wergin, Clemens. „USA: Abschiebestopp für fünf Millionen Einwanderer.“Die Welt 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Sep. 2015.

3 Rosenblum , Marc R., William A. Kandel, Clare Ribando Seelke, Ruth Ellen Wasem. Mexican Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends. Federation Of American Scientists. N.p. 7 June 2012. Web. 23 Sep. 2015, 6. Hereafter referred to as Rosenblum.

4 Rosenblum, 6.

5 Rosenblum, 7-9.

6 Rosenblum, 9-10.

7 Isbister, John. The Immigration Debate: Remaking America. West Hartford: Kumarian Press, Inc., 1996, 93. Print. Hereafter referred to as Isbister.

8 Isbister, 95.

9 Isbister, 93.

10 Bandow, Doug. Immigration Benefits The U.S., So Let's Legalize All Work. Forbes. 16 Sep. 2013. Web. 23 Sep. 2015.

Excerpt out of 12 pages


Intercultural Learning Classes at German Schools. Effects of the Mexican Diaspora on the US-American Society as an Example
Technical University of Braunschweig  (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik)
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
Effects, Mexican Diaspora, Mexican, US-American, Society, intercultural, intercultural learning, German schools, interkulturelles Lernen, migration, integration
Quote paper
M.Ed. Timmy Paul (Author), 2015, Intercultural Learning Classes at German Schools. Effects of the Mexican Diaspora on the US-American Society as an Example, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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