Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business




Dr. Stephen Conroy


The nationalistic rhetoric adopted by the newly-elected president’s administration along with the public’s climaxing anti-immigrant hysteria has recently forced Mexican immigration intervention to the top of the U.S. agenda. Misconceptions regarding Mexicans’ role in stealing jobs, threatening cultural and ethnic traditions, and straining public welfare, educational, and healthcare resources have spurred a fear among the American people. This politically-fabricated “schizophrenia” has ceased the political and economic collaboration between the two nations and has resulted in the unilateral militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. In this evaluation of the U.S. government’s immigration policies, the proposed economic theories related to Mexicans’ motivations in crossing the border, and the data collected from border-crossing participants, it is evident new policy measures need to be implemented to reflect these nuanced trends which stand contrary to conventional wisdom. This research examines the motivations of Mexican immigrants to cross into the U.S. using data collected by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in collaboration with several Mexican government agencies. These parties conducted qualitative surveys with Mexican migrants that evaluate the dynamic, magnitude, and characteristics of the migratory flow across the U.S.-Mexico border. The analysis aims to evaluate if economic motivations are moderated by U.S. or Mexican macroeconomic conditions and if a trade-off exists between motivations for crossing, specifically if economic motivations and those related to social capital theory are substitutes and uphold an inverse relationship. Results indicate a classic trade-off does exist among motivations to cross under specific U.S. macroeconomic conditions and both economic and non-economic motivations to migrate are influenced by U.S. but not Mexican macroeconomic indicators. Based on these findings, an analysis of specific policy reform measures and binational solutions needs to be considered for future legislation to help resolve this multifaceted reality in the long-term.