Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

By David Bacon | Go to book overview

Two

WHY DID WE COME?

Flight from Oaxaca

Luz Dominguez, Marcela Melquiades, and each immigrant room cleaner at the Woodfin Suites Hotel had complex reasons for setting out on the road to Emeryville. Pedro Mendez arrived in Tar Heel with other migrants from the same constellation of towns in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Each had his or her individual motivation for making the journey to Smithfield. But common threads run through all their stories. Similar economic and political conditions make up the terrain on which individuals and families decide to leave home.

In 2006 Mexico was in turmoil. Dramatic political and economic conflicts uprooted and displaced thousands of families. Teachers struck in Oaxaca, and after their demonstrations were teargassed, a virtual insurrection paralyzed the state capital for months. Some of the world's largest mines and Mexico's only steel mill were paralyzed when workers occupied their worksites and refused to leave. Accusations that the July presidential election was marred by fraud brought Mexico City residents into the streets, where they camped for weeks in protest.

Economic desperation is at the root of these political and social movements, and is a major source of pressure on people to migrate. Repression brought to bear on those movements also leads to migration. It's no accident that Oaxaca is one of the main starting points for the current stream of Mexican migrants coming to the United States. And the miners of Mexico's northern states not only share family ties

-23-

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Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface v
  • One - Making Work a Crime 1
  • Two - Why Did We Come? 23
  • Three - Displacement and Migration 51
  • Four - Fast Track to the Past 83
  • Five - Which Side Are You On? 119
  • Six - Blacks Plus Immigrants Plus Unions Equals Power 167
  • Seven - Illegal People or Illegal Work? 199
  • Eight - Whose New World Order? 233
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