The Mexican-American Diaspora and its Influence on American Trade Policy

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Mucci Pineda, Melissa
Mexican-American diaspora, AmericanTrade Policy, NAFTA, Ethnic Interest Groups, Mexico, America, International Relations
This study focuses on the Mexican-American community in the US, the American and Mexican governments, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and trade in general between the US and Mexico. The empirical focus of this study is the influence of the Mexican-American diaspora on US policy, specifically with respect to trade. I attempt to trace the influence of the diaspora in the political debates over NAFTA, and in the post-NAFTA debates. I pose the following questions: 1-Does the Mexican-American diaspora have influence in US domestic politics and the US-Mexico relationship? 2-Does the diaspora use what influence it has to achieve its interests? 3-If so, is it generally successful? These questions will be explored in the context of American trade policy. The Mexican-American diaspora has the resources and characteristics needed to exert influence, but is it so inclined? In order to measure its influence, it must first be asked whether the diaspora attempts to use it in pursuing specific interests. An important component of this analysis will be to determine whether Mexican-Americans are able- and perceived as able- to influence decision-making in the US government through the vote. Other important questions therefore include: Do Mexican-Americans vote? If so, whom do they vote for? And, are Mexican-Americans politically active? The answers to these questions will help us paint a more accurate picture of Mexican-Americans and their influence on US trade policy. This study will reveal that the Mexican-American community has played an increasingly important role in American politics. It will show that the Mexican-American diaspora has an impact on domestic issues such as immigration, but that it is also interested and influential in foreign policy, particularly trade. I intend to demonstrate this influence by exploring its role in the establishment of NAFTA and in the ensuing American debates on hemispheric trade policy.
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