Douglas S. Massey believes that the migration phenomenon between Mexico and the United States is part of a historical process of North American integration. This process gained new momentum with the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, eliminating barriers to the movement of goods, money, services, and information. Despite the integration strides in other areas, the United States has been resistant to the inclusion of labor in this new treaty.

Instead of facilitating the movement of Mexican workers, the United States has militarized its border and implemented restrictive new policies disenfranchising immigrants from a dignified pursuit of livelihood and a chance at a better life.
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