Gender, Family, and Illegality among Transnational Mexicans
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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As a child, I was often shown a photograph of my grandmother and her family—immigrants from Macedonia—taken in the early twentieth century when my grandmother was just four years old. The family is gathered together, staring at the camera with serious expressions, a reflection of the poverty, war, and survival...
Introduction: De Ambos Lados / From Both Sides
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Rancho San Marcos, San Luis Potosí, México. On one of my first days conducting fieldwork in rural Mexico, I found myself looking at a painted photograph of a handsome young man with chiseled features. The yellowed edges of the photo showed its age, and there was a jagged crack in the glass cover. The woman...
1. Placing Intimate Migrations
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“My husband must migrate soon . . . he needs to join his brothers on the other side.” As we spoke, Mariela was in her home in the rancho, preparing the midday meal. The kitchen was small and tidy—the concrete floor had just been mopped and the scent of bleach was strong. In one corner, there was a bright yellow stove and a...
Part I. Transborder Families
2. Mitad Allá, Mitad Aquí/Half There, Half Here
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In an interview at the dining room table of her Albuquerque home, a former ESL and U.S. citizenship student, Lucía (see Introduction)—articulated the experience of being part of a transnational family. “I think that I am divided,” she explained. “I consider Mexico my home, but I think of my home as...
3. Family “Reunification”
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In a room filled with colorful balloons and the remains of a piñata, the mood was, for the most part, celebratory. The guest of honor, a three-year-old girl in a cloud of white taffeta, was opening her gifts, relishing an enormous heart-shaped lollipop. Although a crowd of family and friends was gathered around the birthday girl, another...
Part II. Gendered Migrations
4. ¡Ya Soy Hombre y Mujer!/Now I Am a Man and a Woman!
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On a hot, dusty spring afternoon in San Marcos, Rosa sat on her concrete living room floor, with her daughter and two of her sons, sorting through beans in preparation for planting. Their hands moved quickly, building a mound of lime green and separating out some shriveled beans and tossing them aside. Two burlap sacks of beans...
5. Gendered Borderlands
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“We were hiding in the bushes . . . it was the middle of the night. We were there for what seemed like hours, with border patrol helicopters circling overhead. I’ll never forget that night.” José was describing his first and only trip north. Like other men from his town, he had gone at a young age—he was nineteen at the...
Part III. Children on the Move
6. Por Mis Hijos/For My Children
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Early one morning, in Ciudad Juárez, on the U.S.-Mexico border, three young Mexican children—three, five, and six years old—waited with their grandmother in a relative’s home on the outskirts of the city. They had been apart from their mother, Susana, for more than two years, and had not seen or heard from their father...
7. Here–Not Here
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I spent an afternoon in Mexico with a friend, Liliana, as she cared for a chaotic house full of children. They ran back and forth between the living room where we were talking and a dusty courtyard filled with goats and chickens. “Come niños,” she called to the two smallest of the group. “I have someone for you to meet...
Conclusion: Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá/From Neither Here Nor There
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“I wander about . . . I am from neither here nor there [ni de aquí, ni de allá]!” Ofelia stated emphatically, and then she began to laugh. Ofelia was recounting her many migrations between Mexico and the United States, and the bureaucratic process through which she was attempting to secure U.S. permanent residency. She had just...
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As Gerardo sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), he wondered why the renewal of his auto registration would take so much time. Gerardo had heard that wait times could be long at this office, so he stayed put. But after several hours, five ICE agents appeared, arrested Gerardo, and took him into custody, first at a...
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About the Author
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Publication Year: 2012