A defining feature of this century has been the rise of the globalization phenomenon. By definition, globalization is the increased integration of nations in various aspects including economic, cultural, and political. This phenomenon has been more apparent in the 21st century. It has had significant effects on all counties including the United States. One aspect of globalization that the US has experienced more than other countries is the rise in immigrant numbers.
Globalization has increased immigration by promoting the free movement of people from various nations. This migration has mostly involved people from developing countries moving to Western and industrialized societies. Over the past few decades, the US has experienced an increase in the flow of legal and illegal immigrants from Mexico, its southern neighbor.
This immigration, which has been fostered by globalization, has had various impacts on the US. This paper will argue that the immigration from Mexico to the US, which has been promoted by globalization, has had a negative impact on the social and economic life of people in the US.
Negative Impacts of Globalization
The immigration encouraged by globalization has threatened the unity of the society. Immigrants are often expected to adopt the culture and traditions of the host country. This promotes social unity since the immigrants who adopt the host nation’s culture stop being a highly visible minority. However, globalization has led to an increase in the number of immigrants from Mexico. This movement has led to an increase in the overall number of Mexicans settled in the US.
Due to their high numbers, the Mexicans in the US have been able to form small uniform communities. Light and Johnston observe that Mexican immigrants to the US tend to be “concentrated in a few states and metropolitan areas” (5). The immigrants are able to form communities that are made up of people who share cultural experiences and traditions of their home country. As such, instead of adopting the cultural values and traditions of the US, these migrants are able to preserve aspects of their home culture including language.
While other migrants are forced to adopt the language and cultural practices of the majority group in the US, the Mexicans have been able to maintain their home language and traditional cultural practices (Perreira 262).
The refusal to integrate into the host country’s culture has caused some significant problems in the US. The Mexicans stand out as an immigrant community and this has increased the levels of racial stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. The government has also been forced to make accommodations for Spanish speaking Mexicans who have refused to learn English. The unity of the US community is therefore threatened by the immigration from Mexico.
Globalization has led to a decline in the employment opportunities and earning power of many US citizens working in the non-skilled sectors. Most Mexican immigrants work in the informal labor-intensive sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries. They provide services in jobs that require no professional skills such as housekeeping, landscaping, construction, and agriculture.
Paoletti reveals that the in one Pennsylvanian company that dealt with mushrooms, “80 percent of the workforce were of Mexican national origin” (111). Most of these employees were illiterate, uneducated and unskilled. As such, they could only work in the informal sector. The lack of professional skills means that the immigrants provide cheaper labor than would otherwise have been provided by Americans who have some level of education.
Mexican workers are therefore able to provide cheaper labor compared to the American workers who demand for higher wages due to their educational qualifications. Paoletti confirms that the immigrants are preferred by some employers since they take lower wages (135).
Non-Mexican workers competing for the same jobs have to settle for lower pay or lose the employment opportunities to the immigrants. The presence of Mexican immigrants in the labor market has therefore had a negative effect on the employment prospects as well as earning power of some Americans.
A significant negative impact of globalization is that it has encouraged illegal immigration into the US by Mexicans. While some of the Mexican immigrants are in the US legally, many others enter and work in the country illegally. Most of the illegal immigrants are compelled to move into the US by the poor economic situation in their home country. Globalization is the cause of the poor economic situation currently faced in Mexico.
This phenomenon forced developing countries, including Mexico, to open themselves up to the international market. The trade liberalization meant that local industries could no longer enjoy the protection of custom barriers and government subsidies. Unable to compete on an international platform, many Mexicans were uprooted from their farms and factories. Cunningham-Parmeter reveals that “these people moved to the American market where they could find employment opportunities” (358).
These illegal immigrants have been blamed for taking jobs from US citizens since they are willing to work cheaply. To tackle the issue of illegal immigration, the US government has come up with a number of expensive solutions. Projects such as the Secure Border Initiative have been implemented in an attempt to stop illegal immigration from Mexico. Such efforts are costly to the US taxpayer as they cost billions of dollars to implement.
Positive Impacts of Globalization
Globalization has led to positive impacts in the US by promoting economic growth in the country. The Mexican immigrants to the US are usually motivated by economic reasons. When they get to the US, they seek employment and work in various sectors. Canales notes, “The US national economy has a constant demand for a cheap labor force” (741). The US citizens cannot adequately meet these labor demands and the country is forced to rely on imported labor.
The Mexican immigrants are able to provide this low-wage labor therefore boosting the US economy. The productivity of various businesses is increased by relying on low cost immigrant labor. In addition to this, cheap labor makes US producers competitive in the international market, as they are able to produce products cheaply and subsequently sell them at a competitive price. However, the immigrants inhibit the economic prosperity of the country when they fail to find good employment.
In such cases, they increase the load on the social welfare system by requiring government relief in order to survive. Canales documents that “a third of the working population of Mexican immigrants earn less than the minimum wage established by law, which is itself very meager and insufficient to cover even basic needs” (744). The immigrants therefore cost the government since they are unable to adequately provide for their needs.
Another advantage of globalization is that it has promoted cultural diversity in the United States. A defining characteristic of globalization is the exchange of culture when people from different cultural backgrounds interact. The Mexican immigrants have contributed to the cultural diversity of the US by introducing their culture and traditions into the mainstream US society. Mohl observes that Mexican immigrants have “created a vibrant cultural life based on homeland food ways, kinship activities, and musical traditions” (54).
Some aspects of this culture have been taken by the mainstream society. Members of the society have adopted popular Mexican foods and dances. The Mexican immigrants have therefore made a positive impact on the social life of the country by enriching the cultural life of the country.
However, the practice of traditional culture by the Mexicans can be seen as their attempt to undermine the majority culture. By holding on to their culture, the Mexicans resist integration and this has had some negative impacts such as promoting racial stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.
This paper set out to argue that the increase in immigrants from Mexico to the US, which has been prompted by globalization, has had a negative impact on the US. It began by identifying globalization as a phenomenon that has a significant impact on the economic and social lives of people all over the world. This phenomenon has contributed to the influx of Mexican immigrants into the US.
This immigration has had a number of negative impacts including threatening social cohesion, reducing employment opportunities for Americans and increasing incidents of illegal immigration.
The paper notes that there are some positive aspects of the immigration, which include economic growth and increased cultural diversity. However, the significance of these advantages is reduced by the burden that some immigrant impose on the country’s social welfare system. We can therefore assert that the impact of globalization on the US has been mostly negatively.
Canales, Alejandro. “Mexican labor migration to the United States in the age of globalisation.” Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 29.4 (2003): 741-762. Web.
Cunningham-Parmeter, Keith. “Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.” Industrial & Labor Relations Review 63.2 (2010): 357-359. Web.
Light, Ivan and Michael Johnston. “The Metropolitan Dispersion of Mexican Immigrants in the United States, 1980 to 2000.” Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 35.1 (2009): 3-18. Web.
Mohl, Raymond. “Globalization, Latinization, and the Nuevo New South.” Journal of American Ethnic History 22.4 (2003):31-66. Print.
Paoletti, Sarah. “Making Visible the Invisible: Strategies for Responding to Globalization’s Impact on Immigrant Workers in the United States.” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 13.1 (2006): 105-136. Web.
Perreira, Krista. “Mexican Families in North Carolina: The Socio-historical Contexts of Exit and Settlement.” Southeastern Geographer 51.2 (2011): 260-286. Print.