The Impact of Anti-Immigration Policies and Perceived Discrimination in the United States on Migration Intentions among Mexican Adolescents



This exploratory study examined whether higher levels of perceived discrimination against Mexican immigrants in the United States (USA) were related to the migration intentions of Mexican adolescents. I drew the data for this study from a sample of 755 from a total of 980 adolescent students surveyed in Tijuana, Mexico in February 2009, who indicated they had some interest to migrate to the USA to either live or work in the USA. There were 392 male participants (51.9%) and 363 female participants (48.1%), with a mean age of the participants of 16 years. Over 65 per cent of the participants were born in Tijuana, Mexico and over 62 per cent of the participants indicated that their families had very low to average socio-economic status, as measured by an SES scale. The majority of participants' mothers (74.2%) and fathers (68.6%) had less than a high school education. Multivariate OLS regressions were run controlling for gender, age and socio-economic status. Results indicated that higher levels of perceived discrimination in the USA were a moderately significant predictor of lower migration intentions among Mexican adolescents who identified that they wanted to live or work in the USA, but higher levels of perceived discrimination did not significantly predict lower migration intentions among participants, who indicated that they felt they had to move to the USA to work and support their families.