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1/10 US-Mexico Border: Youth Migration on the Rise

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    Report on Youth Migrants January 10, 2006 by: Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2006
      Report on Youth Migrants
      January 10, 2006
      by: Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
      Center for Latin American and Border Studies
      New Mexico State University
      Las Cruces, New Mexico

      Part One: Youth Migration on the Rise
      (Editor's Note: The following piece is part one of a two-
      part series that focuses on a recent migration report by
      Mexican researchers Blanca Villaseñor and Jose Moreno
      Mena. Part two, which will discuss female emigration to
      the United States, should run tomorrow.)

      In their report "The Truncated Hope," Mexican researchers
      Blanca Villaseñor and Jose Moreno Mena provide additional
      evidence about the increased migration of Mexican youth to
      the United States. Drawing on data culled from the
      experiences of undocumented youthful migrants detained or
      sheltered in the Tijuana and Mexicali regions of Baja
      California, the authors report big leaps in teenage
      migration after 1996, citing for example, a Mexican
      National Migration Institute statistic that revealed
      overall youth migration increased 50 percent from 1999 to

      "A great number of adolescent youth, males as well as
      females, are joining the migratory process," write the
      authors of "The Truncated Hope." "This fact is of great
      importance, because due to their condition (youthful
      migrants) become one of the most vulnerable groups and
      without the most basic rights."

      While the total numbers of youthful migrants are sketchy,
      Villaseñor and Moreno give details about the gender,
      educational background, labor experience and motivations
      of adolescent migrants. More than 90 percent of the group
      examined-92 percent to be precise-were between 15 and 17
      years-of age. Most came from traditional migrant-expelling
      states-Michoacan, Jalisco and Guanajuato-, but "more and
      more states from the south of the country are turning into
      zones of expulsion," according to Villaseñor and Moreno.

      The two authors report that most teenagers who travel to
      the US have limited formal education, with some
      differences between males and females. For example, only
      24 percent of males and 27 percent of females finished
      middle school. a striking 1 percent of each gender group
      completed high school. Before traveling to the US, 65
      percent of the migrants worked and 34 percent went to
      school. Although a 66.1 percent majority said they went to
      the US to find better working and living conditions,
      almost 20 percent departed to join relatives and friends
      already in El Norte. Nearly 7 percent left their homes to
      study north of the border, while 5.5 percent gave nebulous
      reasons, alluding to the Hollywood-created Land of Milk
      and Honey.

      Once inside the US, 60 percent of the youth found work as
      agricultual laborers, service workers, gardeners, and
      others. Villaseñor's and Moreno's report coincides in some
      respects with recent a recent study from the Pew
      Foundation that contended most Mexicans who travel to the
      US already have jobs and are moving north simply in search
      of higher wages. However, Villaseñor and Moreno say
      unemployment is a growing factor. They cite statistics
      from Mexico's National Institute of Statistics, Geography
      and Informatics that report more than 1.5 million people
      older than 14 years of age look for work but cannot find

      The two researchers note that Mexico needs to create more
      than 1 million jobs per year, but only about 400,000 jobs
      a year were created during each year of the Fox
      Administration. An estimated 515,000 jobs were lost in
      Mexico during the first three months of 2005, a
      figure "without precedent in Mexico," according to the

      Villaseñor and Moreno say that for Mexican youth, as well
      as adults, migration has been one of three "escape valves"
      in their country. The other two are drug trafficking and
      the informal economy, an activity frequently characterized
      by the street-side sale of pirated recordings or illegally
      imported goods from the Far East and elsewhere.

      Source: Proceso, December 25, 2005. Article by Rodrigo

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