The History of Mexican Immigration to the United States
Missing Works Cited
Over the passed one and a half centuries, since the Treaty of Hidalgo in 1848 gave the United States most lands north of
the Rio Grande, the 1200 mile United States-Mexican border has been a very active one. Mexicans have emigrated from
their homeland in droves over these years in three major phases preceded by a small phase. The Mexicans have made this
exodus in search of a better life than their homeland could offer.
At first Mexicans had no interest in settling in the United States. This sentiment changed when the border had been
closed. Mexicans feared never being able to come back to where jobs are much more plentiful than in their homeland.
Others were content with the American way and decided to try to become citizens. These people who stayed gathered in the
Southwest and major cities like Chicago and Detroit and created thriving communities in America much like that of
earlier European immigrants of the past to America.
Mexicans first came to America in small numbers with the Sonoran miners and later came in huge numbers at different
points in time. They all came for the same reasons, jobs.
Migration of Sonoran Miners
During the years of 1848 to 1956 miners from the state of Sonora Mexico emigrated to the southern mines of California.
The California Gold Rush was in full bloom and the Sonorans wanted a piece of the action. This marked the first exodus,
yet minor, of Mexicans to the United States. As many as 500 Mexicans a day passed through the Santa Ines Mission in
Northern Sonora. People were so set on leaving and joining in on the gold rush they braved the severe winter of 1848.
Mexican officials started to worry because of the depopulation of Sonora. The Mexican Press waged a campaign to stop the
exodus. A reversal of sorts occurred in 1849 when some of those who emigrated returned to their homelands. Upon their
arrival they found conditions in Sonora worse than when they left.
Sonoran miners were renowned for their abilities to produce despite the harsh conditions in the California mines.
"Sonorans found the best pay dirt, recognized the gold first, and dug up the biggest nuggets" (Standart 6).
In 1850 the Foreign Miners Tax law was passed. The law levied a $20 a month tax on foreign miners. Foreigners as well
as American miners were against the bill but protested to no avail. This led to 500 Sonorans leaving their work for
their homeland or to other areas to mine.
The migration effectively stopped in 1851. By 1856 the migration was over. Some Sonorans went back to Mexico, while
others settled in Los Angeles and other big cities. After the migration of Sonoran miners, there was little to no
immigration to the United States by Mexicans for about 20 years.
The First Phase of Mexican Immigration To the United States- The First Laborers
The first phase of Mexican immigration lasted from the late 1800's...