Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico

Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico

Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico

Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico

Synopsis

Over the last three decades, migration from Mexico to the United States has moved beyond the borderlands to diverse communities across the country, with the most striking transformations in American suburbs and small towns. This study explores the challenges encountered by Mexican families as they endeavor to find their place in the U.S. by focusing on Kennett Square, a small farming village in Pennsylvania known as the "Mushroom Capital of the World." In a highly readable account based on extensive fieldwork among Mexican migrants and their American neighbors, Debra Lattanzi Shutika explores the issues of belonging and displacement that are central concerns for residents in communities that have become new destinations for Mexican settlement. Beyond the Borderlands also completes the circle of migration by following migrant families as they return to their hometown in Mexico, providing an illuminating perspective of the tenuous lives of Mexicans residing in, but not fully part of, two worlds.

Excerpt

Although I live in Virginia, far from the U.S.-Mexico border, in 2005 it felt as if the border had moved into my backyard. That summer I watched the situation in Herndon, Virginia, with fascination and an uncanny sense of déjà vu as a controversy erupted regarding a group of Latino men. For over a decade a sizable group of day laborers, many of whom were from Mexico and Central America, had been gathering in the parking lot of Herndon’s 7-Eleven in the early morning, hoping to find work. The space had become an ad hoc employment center for contractors seeking extra workers for a specific job or local residents looking to employ a handyman for small household projects. Herndon’s residents . . .

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