Mexican migrant laborer immigration

Mexican migrant laborer immigration

Write a 5-6 page (double-spaced) paper on an issue related to immigration/migration.  You have free choice of issue or topic but, whatever you pick, you must substantively engage with (and cite) course material (either lecture or readings.)

Cititions: There is no minimum number of citations to course material. Rather, I am looking for substantive (meaning non-trivial) use of information from either readings or lecture to show me that you have been keeping up and paying attention.

General notes on writing a paper for a college course:

  1. Your paper must show evidence of a process of proofreading, editing and revision.

NEVER turn in a paper that you haven’t read through thoroughly and edited for typos, missing words, poorly written or confusing sentences, and general argument structure.  Failing to do this will result in a significant loss of points.

  1. Your paper must have a thesis statement in your introductory paragraph that you support in a clear and organized fashion throughout the paper.

Sample thesis statement: “In this paper I will show how laws such as Arizona SB 1070 do not prevent illegal immigration and unfairly make US citizens of Latin American descent a target of racial profiling.  Instead, I will argue that undocumented immigration can best be curbed through enforcement measures against employers who hire undocumented workers.”

In order to build a clear, well-organized argument, remember that each paragraph has its own topic sentence laying out that paragraph’s contribution to the wider argument (a good rule of thumb is to try to keep one idea to each paragraph, but a paragraph may also combine two or more closely related points.)

Sample paragraph with topic sentence:  “The first reason that Arizona SB 1070 will not help to curb illegal immigration is that undocumented immigrants are highly motivated to come to the United States for work and already willingly face much greater dangers than arrest. An immigrant passing through Mexico must hope he is lucky enough to avoid detection by either gangs or local law enforcement: an individual captured by a gang will be robbed and sometimes raped or killed, whereas one taken into custody by local police may be “fortunate” enough to only be deported after officers have “confiscated” all of his money and valuables (Torres and Haynes, 2005.)  Reaching the US border presents an additional set of dangers, since many migrants die during their attempt to walk across the southwest deserts. The men and women who travel across the border into the United States understand that, not only might they die, their loved ones may possibly never even learn what happened to them (McDaniel, 2010.)  For such determined and desperate people, the threat of possible arrest in the United States doesn’t act as a deterrent.

“The second reason that SB 1070 is ineffective is that it is simply too difficult for local police to enforce….”


  1. Factual information must be cited.

You may pick any popular citation style (APA, ASA, MLA, Chicago, etc…) just so long as you use it consistently.  Information that is not your own must be cited (when in doubt, play it safe and cite.)

When citing lecture material, you can either look up the original source (it is usually provided on the slide) or simply do the following:

“Sex tourism is the practice of traveling for the purpose of paying for sex or sexually themed entertainment” (Lecture, 11/2/2010.)

When citing using an author’s exact words, make certain to use quotation marks and to include the page number:

“The 1990 Immigration Act placed a cap of sixty-six thousand temporary H-2 workers per year.  However, the number of unauthorized farmworkers has grown to such an extent as to encourage many agricultural employers to dispense with the cumbersome legal procedures for temporary labor.” (Portes and Rumbaut, 2006. P. 23.)

When citing indirect speech or general meaning, you can simply do the following:

While there are procedures employers can use to legally bring workers into the US for temporary farm labor, most agricultural employers don’t use them because there are so many undocumented workers already in the country (Portes and Rumbaut, 2006.)


  1. When citing outside material, make sure it comes from an acceptable research source.

You will probably need to use outside research to support your argument in addition to course material (this may not be true for all of you, it might depend on how extensively your chosen topic is covered in the course material.)

Acceptable outside sources include scholarly or journalistic books and articles, and reports from governments, reputable research organizations, or mainstream media outlets.

Try to avoid private blogs and websites or overtly biased sources or organizations (i.e. those with a very strong and obvious political agenda.)  Wikipedia is NOT an academic source (it does, however, often contain citations at the end of each entry that ARE appropriate sources: government reports, sources from major news outlets, etc…)

Your papers will need to be submitted through Blackboard so that they can be checked against the University’s online plagiarism detection software Turnitin.

If I catch you plagiarizing content in your papers, I will report you to the Sociology Department and the University and you will need to appear at a formal hearing.  The consequences of this for you can include anything from a failing grade on the assignment, a failing grade for the course, or suspension or expulsion from the U of H.  I will report you even if you tell me it was an accident, even if you say you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do it, and, yes, even if you sit in my office and cry.


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