Immigration is one of the most divisive topics in the United States. One aspect of this complicated theme is economic migration. This migration is different from asylum/refugee status or other forms of protected relief. The people who are migrating are not facing imminent threats of political violence or other types of violence, but are living in conditions of poverty. Their livelihoods depend on migration, and money earned in the United States that is sent back to their communities.

The first part of this paper will focus on people who migrate for this economic-based reason, specifically examining two communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Both communities have high levels of economic migration. The positive and negative consequences on the communities will be analyzed through ethnographical research in San Simón Almolongas, Miahuatlán and San Bartolomé Quialana, Tlacolula, both located within a few hours of Oaxaca City. Then, in the second part of the paper, the observed impacts on the communities will be put into conversation with a general overview of economic based migration to the United States and an analysis of the current political system and proposals for reform. To best be able to evaluate how the observed impacts are affected by U.S. Immigration policy, and the ways these policies can be changed to be more beneficial to people and communities both in Mexico as well as in the United States, it is important to understand the current system, its basic history, and the challenges and issues present in the system.

First Advisor

Pepa Lago-Graña

Second Advisor

Jairo Hoyos-Galvis

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government

Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020