The United States war against immigration: Paradoxical effects

Douglas S. Massey, Karen A. Pren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


At the end of the 1950s, the United States permitted the entry of a half million Mexican migrants per year, of which 450,000 entered with temporary work visas and 50,000 as permanent residents. By the mid-1970s, however, changes in U.S. migration policy undertaken in the name of civil rights had eliminated temporary work visas and limited legal resident visas to 20,000 per year. With the opportunities for legal entry curtailed, migratory flows simply re-established themselves under undocumented auspices, giving rise to a chain reaction that culminated in a new war on immigrants and the unprecedented growth of the unauthorized population of the United States. This article shows that the rise of undocumented migration and the growth of America's undocumented population are a product of poorly conceived immigration and border policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-237
Number of pages29
JournalDocuments d' Analisi Geografica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Mexico
  • Migratory policy
  • Permanent visas
  • Temporary visas
  • Undocumented migration
  • United States


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