State and Emigration: A Century of Emigration Policy in Mexico (Working Paper #123)

David FitzGerald, University of California – San Diego

Abstract: The social science of international migration has generally ignored labor emigration control policies. In the critical case of Mexico, however, the central government consistently tried to control the volume, duration, skills, and geographic origin of emigrants from 1900 to the early 1970s. A neopluralist approach to policy development and implementation shows that the failure of emigration control and the current abandonment of serious emigration restrictions are explained by a combination of external constraints, imposed by a highly asymmetrical interdependence with the United States, and internal constraints, imposed by actors within the balkanized Mexican state who recurrently undermined federal emigration policy through contradictory local practices.

Working Paper #123»