Abstract Mexicans constitute the largest immigrant group in the United States. Tis article reviews history to examine the impact of U.S. immigration policy on the develop- ment of migration patterns from Mexico between 1882 and 2005. Despite the large number of Mexicans who have been admitted as immigrants, for several decades U.S. immigration policy sought to construct the Mexican immigrant as a temporary worker; however, recent legislation has established a more permanent migration pattern, currently involving seven million undocumented persons. Te burden of more than a hundred years of U.S. immigration policy should grant undocumented Mexican immigrants special access to legal permanent residency.
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