Reciprocity in Mexico-U.S. Immigration Legislation: The Theory of Reciprocity as a Guiding Principle of Mexico's 2011 Immigration Legislation
Bryn Mawr College. Department of Political Science
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In 2011, Mexican President Felipe Calderón took a bold step, modifying Mexico's long‐standing and outdated immigration policies with several new pieces of ostensibly more liberal legislation. This thesis aims to demonstrate that Mexico modified these policies abiding by the international relations theory of reciprocity; Mexico modified their policies in order to provide an impetus for a reciprocal move from the United States that would provide benefits to Mexican expatriates that Mexico's new legislation aims to provide domestically. Through a liberalization of their previously extremely restrictive policies, which have maintained a harshly negative image in the United States, the Mexican government can enhance their standing with the U.S., which may allow them more credibility in U.S. policymaking and thus the ability to provide incentive for the U.S. to act reciprocally. Therefore the impetus for this legislative overhaul lies not in protection of migrants in Mexico but rather Mexican migrants in the United States.