Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The stagnant wages of Mexican-born immigrants, analyzed

There's an interesting piece today in Miller-McCune magazine that examines why the wages of Mexican immigrants in the United States have been stagnant for years, including for many who are working here legally. The piece cites a recent Princeton University study which found that the average wages of Mexican-born immigrants were no higher than in 2007 than in the early 1960s, adjusted for inflation.

Latinos have also been the group hardest hit by the recession. Princeton sociologist and immigration expert Doug Massey argues that steadily growing immigration enforcement has played a major role, eating into the overall earnings even of some who would otherwise not be affected by it. From the piece:

In the past, some scholars have attributed the falling wages of Mexicans in the U.S. to a decline in the skill and productivity of successive waves of immigrants. But Massey and Gelatt show that the educational levels of Mexican immigrants here have steadily improved in recent decades. They argue that a "new regime of immigration enforcement" is to blame for the stagnant wages of Mexicans in the U.S., beginning in 1986 with the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act under President Ronald Reagan; and continuing in bipartisan fashion through the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

According to new Census data, Hispanics are now the poorest ethnic group in the country.

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