For many generations Mexicans have illegally crossed the border into the United States. Reasons for the high rate of migration from Mexico include the close proximity of Mexicoto the U.S. and the noticeable difference in the quality of life between the two countries. Many individuals come from poverty-stricken towns in Mexico and desire to come to the United States toachieve the "American dream." For many, just gaining employment at a low wage job in the United States provides a much higher standard of living than in their home country. During the 1980s, the UnitedStates saw a significant increase in illegal immigrantsfrom Mexico. The immigration influx was not limited to Mexicans from one specific region but rather from communities all throughout Mexico. Thosefrom bigger cities such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City do not necessarily have a higher quality of life than those Mexicans residing in rural communities. However, individuals from largercities do tend to have a greater access to opportunities. Many who live in smaller towns tend to be employed in the agriculture sector or try to set up a small business in order to make a living. Theaverage Mexican wage is about $4.15 an hour and those in the agricultural industry make even less. While an individual may be able to survive on that wage alone, it becomes more difficult for thosewith families. Currently about 40% of the Mexican population is below the poverty line. Unemployment is about 4% but it is estimated that nearly 25% of those working are classified as underemployed. Even when jobs are created, in many instances they are not sufficient to meet the growing demand of the Mexican people. Their pay may be so low that they cannot afford to cover even the most basicnecessities. Thus, many Mexicans from both small and big cities find the neighboring United States to be extremely attractive. Treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have...
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