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The ethnonym Mexican-American describes United States citizens of Mexican ancestry (14 million in 2003) and Mexican citizens who reside in the US (10 million in 2003). According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in mid 2001, 4.5 million Mexicans were residing illegally in the United States. Mexican Americans account for 64% of the Hispanic or Latino population of the United States. Mexican Americans may sometimes be refered to as Chicanos.


Political Issues

Mexican-Americans support either the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Green Party; however, many of them are culturally conservative because of their Roman Catholic beliefs. The Republican Party is vying to make inroads with Mexican-American voters, and Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush are popular. LULAC is a very important organization for Mexican-Americans, though it also represents other Hispanic Americans.

Economic issues

The American economy has long needed service workers, manufacturing workers, farm laborers, and skilled artisans. Mexican workers have met those needs. Fear of detection and deportation keeps many illegal immigrant workers from taking advantage of social welfare programs and makes them highly vulnerable to exploitation by employers.

Cultural issues

The proximity of the two countries, a continuous influx of new arrivals, concentration in predominantly Mexican barrios and colonias and Spanish-language media enable Mexican Americans to maintain ties with relatives in Mexico and the Spanish language to a degree not possible for other immigrant groups with their respective countries of origin and native tongues.

Tejano music is a unique musical style developed by Mexican-Americans in Texas. Tejano is a blend of traditional Mexican forms such as the corrido and Continental European styles introduced by German and Czech settlers.


See also: History of Mexican-Americans

Between 1845 and 1854, the United States acquired half of the territory of Mexico. Eighty thousand Mexicans lived in these annexed areas at the time. These new Mexican-Americans often worked as railroad crew, laborers, ranch hands, farm workers, farmers, domestic servants and laundresses.

During the Great Depression, the Repatriation Movement caused much hardship for Mexican-Americans. After World War II ended, the Bracero Program was soon introduced. This program made it easier for Mexicans to come to the United States, but it often lead them to be exploited by their employers. César Chávez lobbied to end the Bracero Program. Later he helped found the United Farm Workers movement.

According to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, mayor of Mexico City, the main reason there have not been bursts of social unrest in Mexico is due to Mexican migration to the United States. Mexico has been the single largest contributor of immigrants to the U.S. At least four million Mexicans immigrated to the United States in the 1980s: 45% of the nine million immigrants who entered the country. During the 1990s, approximately five million Mexicans immigrated to the United States. In 2000, Mexican immigration is estimated to have been 350,000 and the most recent estimate (2004) is 500,000 per year.

See also


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