Making Ends Meet: Income-Generating Strategies among Mexican Immigrants

By Socorro Torres Sarmiento | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Concluding Observations on the
Tzintzuntzeños' Income-
Generating Strategies, Settlement
and Transnationalism

As we have seen, families' experiences with binational labor markets are important factors shaping the multiple ways families organize their lives through their income-generating strategies. Contemporary global economic restructuring, with its intense mobilization of both capital and labor, among other factors, are fundamental causes of flexible labor markets. But what does this mean for migrants? It means that a considerable number of low-wage migrant workers employed under these conditions, of flexibility, find it more difficult to live permanently in one place. Tzintzuntzeño families are often transnational, divided between Mexico and the United States. Permanent employment, among other factors, is an important factor that allows families to settle. Families may settle either in the United States or in Mexico with some relatives dispersed across multiple geographic sites. As was discussed earlier, settlement in a locality is strongly affected by the stage of the family's developmental cycle (e.g., married, age of children) and working conditions (Alarcón, 1994; Chavez, 1994).

Immigration status also plays an important role in migration and settlement patterns. Immigration status has a direct impact on the ways in which migrants are incorporated in the labor market (“documented” vs. “undocumented”). It also has a strong effect on immigrant responses to labor conditions and family organization of income strategies. Even though participation in the labor market is an

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