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The Mexican Immigration Crisis & Malcolm Gladwell’s Podcast

Border Fence

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, has hit on an interesting note about the current state of affairs related to U.S. immigration – specifically the Mexican migration crisis. His latest podcast sheds light on why tighter borders are creating more illegal immigrants from Mexico.

The story comes from Podcast on Season 3, Episode 5, titled General Chapman’s Last Stand. We encourage anyone with an interest in the current Mexican migration crisis to listen to this podcast. Not only is it interesting, but it sheds light on the cause of the crisis. Without trying to sound cliché, the causes might shock you.

In the episode, Gladwell talks to members of the Mexican Migration Project, one of the longest running and most detailed immigration studies in the United States [1].

The study shows that before the U.S. Mexican border began tightening up under the control of General Leonard Chapman, there were less long term, illegal immigrants staying in the United States.

Mexican immigrants would cross the border and work seasonally, returning to home to be with their families and bring the “fruits” of their labor. The easy crossing made it logical for them not to move to the United States, but just walk across to work and then return home.

Once the border was tightened, Mexican immigrants could no longer risk crossing to go home. Instead, they stayed and eventually called for their families to join them. The influx of illegal Mexican immigrants increased and less were returning home.

This has led to the Mexican Migration Crisis. More and more illegal immigrants from Mexico find it easier and safer to stay in the U.S.

This data is backed up by the research at the Mexican Migration Project. It concludes this:

Stricter Border Enforcement Results in More Illegal Immigration. [2]

This episode comes on the heals of the latest U.S. immigration crisis: separating families at borders. No more relevant than ever. But as we continue to enforce strict immigration regulation at the U.S. Mexico border, are we just making things worse?

The research shows that we are.


[1]: Princeton University – Mexican Migration Project

[2]: Princeton University – Tighter enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border backfired, researchers find