Book Reflection

A great variety of immigrants, adapting to a new culture and working for the benefit of the host country, should strengthen it as well as contribute to the development of its economy. Such statement is the traditional view of immigration which was common in the past. Mexican immigrants in the United States, however, no longer adapt to the anything foreign surrounding. Instead, they form a kind of integrated, closed, isolated, and independent community, the largest in the United States. They seemed to blur the traditional American views, traditions, language, ethnic composition, and culture. Mexicans created their Mexico in the U.S. and, consequently, the U.S., while dissolving inside, will never be the same. Therefore, this paper aims at providing the reflection of the book Fresh fruit, broken bodies: Migrant farmworkers in the United States, by Holmes.

Mexico ranks among the first places in the world for expatriates. The country is a major source of cheap labor for the U.S. The exact number of Mexican migrants is impossible to calculate, but even according to the official migration statistics of the United States, Mexico is ahead of all the other regions of the world. The author of the book fairly states that the reasons for the growing migration flows consist of a variety of factors the primary of which are the economy, politics, family, or personal circumstances. A search for the better life forces a constant movement from the countryside to the cities, from the less developed country to the country with more economic potential and political stability. By the end of the 20th century, there was a development of the new conditions in migration processes, progressive technological advancements, cheaper communications, and transport, which all had substantially affected the growth of the migration.

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As it is obvious from the book, the mainstreams of the modern Latin American migration are directed from country to country within the continent and outside it, to a greater extent in the United States. The geographical position, as well as interweaving of the historical destinies, predetermined Mexicans to migrate mainly to the north. The massive nature of the process is not comparable in scale to the migration of people to other Latin American countries.

The main aim of the author of the book is to show that the migration not only affects the interests of the individuals and their families but also has a great social significance to the donor country and the recipient country. They are both related and have complex as well as contradictory relationship. The influx of ‘new’ workers, on the one hand, solves the problem with a cheap labor force, and, on the other hand, complicates the situation on the labor market, since it causes many problems with health, crime, growth, etc. As a result, the outflow of the excess labor relieves social tensions in the country.

The main points of the author can be divided into two aspects: the benefits and the shortcomings of migration. Among the main advantages provided by the Mexican immigration to the U.S. labor market, it is necessary to note several the most important ones. First, the immigrants from Mexico are ready to perform low-skilled jobs in sectors where there is a shortage of labor among the indigenous population as well as in cases where the local community is not prepared to engage in ‘rough’ work for subjective reasons. Second, the labor of Mexican immigrants increases the income from capital investment companies, thus minimizing the production costs due to attraction of the cheap labor.

Nevertheless, there is a number of the negative aspects which should be allocated, as Holmes mentions. For instance, a major problem is high unemployment rate that is observed among immigrants from Mexico. Besides, there is an increase in the share of unskilled workers across the U.S. labor market because of the workers from Mexico. More than that, the capital flight (more than $ 14 billiard annually) in neighboring Mexico is an important aspect. Furthermore, there is an annual growth in the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S. labor market. Finally, there is also a negative impact on the average level of income in sectors that do not require professional skills (agricultural sector and service sector).

The author of the book proves these above mentioned points by the solid facts. The relationship linking the United States and Latin America has a long history, but their migration context emerged only a few decades ago. Back in the past, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was an immigration boom. The principal objects of the U.S. immigration policy were immigrants from Europe and Asia. Nonetheless, the situation began to change starting from 1960, when a massive influx of migrants from Mexico and Central America had made significant adjustments to the ethnocultural and socio-economic characteristics of the population and exacerbated the problem of migration management.

Holmes, using the critical thinking approach, structural analysis, and historic perspective, creates the versatile product. The suggestions, ideas, and hypotheses which have been elaborated by the author help a reader to evaluate the situation as well as to develop a systematic perception of the problem of Mexican immigrants and their hard work on food plantations and in the service industry.  

The modern structure of the U.S. population comes from the Latin American countries accounted for 16.9% of the total population or 52 million people. This ethnic group is extremely heterogeneous and, thus, has different socio-economic characteristics and traditions of political participation. In spite of the linguistic community, an essential feature is the separation of the diaspora defined by the country of origin. There are several distinguished communities in the U.S. which consist of Mexicans (64.3%), Puerto Ricans (9.3%), people from Central (8.1%) and South America (5.9%), Cubans (3.5%), as well as the citizens of the Caribbean islands and other countries (8.9%).

Having read the book, I understood that Latinos are the fastest growing group of the U.S. population. This fact is facilitated by a high birth rate and a significant influx of migrants which continuously feeds the community. Currently, 28% of Spanish-speaking citizens are people under the age of 14, and regarding their impact on the characteristics of the labor market and the structure of employment, this number will continue to grow and increase its role in the political life of the country. Considering this background, a special issue is a rise in the number of illegal immigrants from Latin American countries. Informal relations with employers, unresolved problems with the systems of social security and taxation as well as lack of legal status, lead people ‘into the shadows,’ reduce their contribution to the economy, and result in the criminalization of their position.

In conclusion, I have realized that this reflection is not so much about the initiative of the content (in whole arsenal of proposals concerning the relationship with employers, Amnesty details, and nature of the tightening of border controls) but about the consideration of initiatives and actions of different parties which led to an increase in the interest rates regarding the interaction on the Congress line – White House. In the proposed embodiment, priority was given to attracting highly skilled professionals while tightening border security and increasing penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants. The book can also be an important and interesting tool in extracting the new information for such readers as students, teachers, and people who are interested in the history of both the USA and Mexico. In addition, it is organized in such a way that it relates to the numerous side points which support the main ones.

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