Revisiting Mexican migration in the Age of Mass Migration: New evidence from individual border crossings
Historical Methods, Vol. 53, No. 4 (2020): 207-225.
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I introduce and analyze the Mexican Border Crossing Records (MBCRs), an unexplored data source that records aliens crossing the Mexico-US land border at diverse locations from 1903 to 1955. The MBCRs identify immigrants and report rich demographic, geographic and socioeconomic information at the individual level. These micro data have the potential to support cliometric research, which is scarce for the Mexico-US migration, especially for the beginnings of the flow (1884-1910). My analysis of the MBCRs suggests that previous literature may have inaccurately described the origin of the first Mexican immigrants. My findings diverge from historical scholarship because the micro data capture the geographic composition of the flow at the local level and across nine entrance ports, allowing me to characterize with precision the migration patterns during the 1900s. Overall, the micro data reported in the MBCRs offer the opportunity to address topics that concern the economics of migration in the past and present.