Mexican Migrants- Blog Post 3

Along the way, this project has faced a few roadblocks. The largest problem we have faced was institutional. Because the proposal for this project involved interviewing human subjects, it was necessary to have our research proposal approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). When we first submitted our proposal to the board we were not given approval. We were told that we would have to buy special software to use to sort the data we were collecting, and we would have to provide them with more information about the risk to the subjects and how we were minimizing that risk. This posed a problem, because the interviews for this project (with the final product being a research paper for a journal) are not meant to serve as the main evidence of the argument, but rather provide anecdotal support throughout the paper. Also, we plan to interview representatives that work with immigrants, and not the immigrants themselves, so we don’t feel there is any real risk to the participants. Luckily, we had the help of the advisor to the IRB, who helped us sort out these issues. I also had to take an online course to earn a certificate approving me to conduct research that involves persons. We have since been approved to conduct the interviews.
Besides the interviews, the paper I will write for this project will include an in-depth literature review and a policy analysis, which I will use to make correlations with available data sets from outside research. So far, I have completed the literature review and gathered data from available data sets and outside research. I have learned a lot about my topic through this process. My research largely consists of identifying factors that contribute to the lower average socioeconomic status of Mexican migrants, and by reviewing previously conducted research I have found many possible factors which I had not considered before, such as homeownership rates and the types of social ties made between migrants. Another aspect that has become increasingly apparent is how interconnected and dependent each of these factors is upon each other. The most important piece of the final paper will be an analysis of US policy and how it may have a role in producing the factors that influence the socioeconomic status of migrants.

The Mexican Migrant Experience- Blog Post #2

I have learned a great deal about the process of researching. At this point in the project, we have focused on conducting primary research through qualitative methods. To gather information, we will first use a limited-response survey with the potential of creating a focus group for more in-depth responses. The challenges of creating reliable and effective primary research became clear through preparing and planning for the survey.

First, I identified groups that we will ask to participate in the survey. These include immigrant advocacy groups, groups offering free legal services to migrants, and immigrant community alliances, all from throughout New York City. Second, I created the survey. This entailed great foresight into what issues may arise that should be avoided beforehand, such as leading the respondent to a certain answer or into a pattern of thinking, or allowing the respondent to be influenced by what they perceive the project to be aimed towards. To avoid those consequences, I used divergent questions that are not directly related to the research question. For instance, in addition to questions specifically about Mexican migrants, there are question asking about Arab, Chinese, and African migrants. Other issues that I had to address were how to create meaningful questions that could be answered with a simple yes, no, maybe; how to limit the survey to a length that would afford the greatest number of responses but also address all of the areas of interest; and how to limit the responses in way that would allow for a quick compilation of a number of surveys, while also allowing the respondent to inform of an important factor that the survey did not account for. In contrast, developing a guide for a focus group study afforded me much greater freedom to allow for open responses to more in-depth questions.

As the surveys are returned to us, we hope to have a greater understanding of the issues migrants in New York City face and how they overcome them.  During this stage of the project the focus is on what factor most affects the socioeconomic conditions of migrants. The research I have studied has pointed towards nationality and legal status as paramount; the goal is to determine which is more influential in the case of Mexican migrants. We hope the survey will confirm these findings or highlight other factors as significant influences.

The research question is: why do Mexican migrants have lower levels of income, education, and English proficiency than other migrant groups? An interesting discovery may help to find answers to this question, which is that even migrants from the three small countries directly south of Mexico have higher levels of income, education, and English proficiency. This has raised questions of whether distance from the US matters for the experience of migrants,  and whether/why/how Mexicans are treated differently from other Latin Americans socially, economically, and politically.

The Mexican Migrant Experience: A Comparative Analysis between Mexican Migrants and Other Foreign Groups in the United States

The working title of my research project is “The Mexican Migrant Experience: A Comparative Analysis between Mexican Migrants and Other Foreign Groups in the United States.” Statistics show that overall, Mexican immigrants in the United States have significantly lower income levels and higher poverty rates, along with less education and proficiency in English, than that of all other immigrant groups in America. This comparison is shown to persist generationally, meaning the wealth and education gap of Mexican-Americans does not subside, or subsides only minimally, between the first, second, and third generations. The focus of this project is to determine the factors that contribute to this disparity.

Much academic work is devoted to the topic of immigration from south of the US, but it does not specifically address why Mexicans in particular have such a different experience than many other migrant groups. One objective of this research is to examine the human element of migration; how social interaction, public opinion, and communal organization may play a role in the socioeconomic positioning of migrants. In addition, a goal of my faculty partner and I is to make a connection between the policies of the United States and the differences between certain groups. In other words, we will examine how the legal processes of US immigration policy have negatively affected Mexicans without having the same impact on other groups.

These questions are especially important at a time when many people are highlighting the need for immigration reform. I expect to find that the current situation of Mexican migrants is deeply rooted in a history of policy changes, and would like to show how intimate the connection is between how migrants are treated politically, legally, economically, and socially, and the effect that treatment has on them as a group at the micro-level, and the implications on American society at the macro-level.

I am currently compiling the data that substantiates the claim that Mexican migrants can be separated from other migrant groups when examining wealth and education factors. I have also researched various advocacy groups within New York City that I hope to use as a resource for establishing the kinds of issues that Mexican migrants face when coming to the US and how they commonly address them on a communal or individual level. To answer the research question I will also be investigating information on educational trends and economic/financial factors affecting both the Mexican migrants and their counterparts. Finally, my research will include an examination of US immigration policy and practices and its effects.