The flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. is currently a point of contention between the two countries; and...


THE GOLDEN DOOR: International Migration, Mexico, and the United States

The flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. is currently a point of contention between the two countries; and this effort at outlining policy proposals only makes a complicated issue worse by introducing a mass of irrelevant baggage. Apparently to show that migration is a constant factor of human history, the authors begin with a long summary of migrations in the past, from Greek colonization of the 6th Century B.C., to the Huns, to the partition of the Indian subcontinent; and they top off the recap with an overview of immigration into the U.S. Then we have a summary history of Mexico from the arrival of Cortes to the present, which, while overloading the reader with unnecessary details, at least has the merit of establishing one of the authors' main themes--the continued involvement of the U.S. in Mexican history. Apropos of the specific problem of ""illegals,"" they argue that the numbers of immigrants is overstated while immigration across the Canadian--U.S. border is greater than popularly believed (an argument handicapped by the acknowledged lack of reliable statistics in either case); and they maintain that any social problems the ""illegals"" create in this country are products of their illegal status--though, overall, they see the rapidly increasing Mexican population rate as presaging increased immigration pressure in the future. When they get to policy proposals, the authors switch to a value-neutral memo style, but manage to convey their message that the right path is (a) to decriminalize immigration, and (b) to encourage the sort of balanced economic growth in the ""LDCs"" (Less Developed Countries) that would end immigration pressures on the developed countries. More specifically, they float the idea of a North American Economic Community--modeled on the EEC-which would allow free movement across borders. While properly recognizing the multinational factors involved, the Ehrlichs and Bilderback have overdone the ""complex issue"" routine and buried their substantive ideas in a heap of extraneous information.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 1979


Page Count: -

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1979