Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and Their Children

Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and Their Children

Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and Their Children

Divided by Borders: Mexican Migrants and Their Children

Synopsis

Since 2000, approximately 440,000 Mexicans have migrated to the United States every year. Tens of thousands have left children behind in Mexico to do so. For these parents, migration is a sacrifice. What do parents expect to accomplish by dividing their families across borders? How do families manage when they are living apart? More importantly, do parents' relocations yield the intended results? Probing the experiences of migrant parents, children in Mexico, and their caregivers, Joanna Dreby offers an up-close and personal account of the lives of families divided by borders. What she finds is that the difficulties endured by transnational families make it nearly impossible for parents' sacrifices to result in the benefits they expect. Yet, paradoxically, these hardships reinforce family members' commitments to each other. A story both of adversity and the intensity of family ties, Divided by Borders is an engaging and insightful investigation of the ways Mexican families struggle and ultimately persevere in a global economy.

Excerpt

Mexican families divided by borders are both ordinary and extraordinary. Parents who live in the United States while their children remain in Mexico experience many of the difficulties faced by all families in meeting productive and consumptive needs. Family members struggle to balance pressures at work with those at home. Gender and generation battles are common. Men and women negotiate the division of labor. Parents and children negotiate authority. In this sense, this book is about rather ordinary tensions in families.

At the same time, migrant parents and their children live in vastly different environments. Parents live hurried lives, struggling to work hard, economize, and send much of their money back to children in Mexico. For them, the joys of life are found in Mexico. Children live in places where everyday consumption depends upon remittances from parents and other migrants. Contributions from el norte [the north] permeate their daily lives, and many children think that when the time is right, they too will end up migrating for work. Divided by borders and by the lifestyle differences involved in such separations, Mexican migrants . . .

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