Mexican Migration and the U.S. Economic Crisis: A Transnational Perspective

economic-crisis(distributed by Lynne Rienner Publishers)
Edited by Wayne A. Cornelius, David FitzGerald, Pedro Lewin, and Leah Muse-Orlinoff
2009, 276 pages, paperback

Purchase Mexican Migration and the U.S. Economic Crisis »

Based on 1,031 survey interviews and more than 500 hours of in-depth unstructured interviewing, on both sides of the border, this volume is the first fieldwork-based study of how the U.S. economic crisis that erupted in 2007 has affected flows of Mexican migrants to and from the United States. Focusing on Tunkás, a migrant-sending community in rural Yucatán that they first studied in 2006, and its satellite communities in southern California, the researchers find that it is the combination of poor job prospects in the United States with higher costs of migration (mainly, people-smugglers’ fees) that has discouraged new migration in recent years, among both legal and unauthorized migrants. They also find that neither the economic crisis nor workplace raids and other forms of interior enforcement are inducing large numbers of migrants already in the United States to go home. The researchers document the strategies that have been developed by migrants and their dependents in Mexico to cope with the economic crisis, how migrants navigate the contracting U.S. labor market, and how the economic crisis is affecting health, education, and community participation on both sides of the border. A ground-breaking chapter shows how a “youth culture of migration” develops in a migrant-sending community. This volume is the fifth in a series based on the research of the Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC San Diego.


“A most compelling aspect is that the researchers focused on Tunkas, an indigenous community in rural Yucatan and various migration sites in Southern California…”Jose Zapata Calderon, Contemporary Sociology (read full review)

“This book is essential for those who study migration patterns and look to understand how the new security measures at the border, combined with the economic crisis, affect the decision to migrate and whether to stay home or remain in the United States.” — Cecilia Farfán Méndez, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (read full review)

“… information accumulated over many years that is presented thoughtfully, well researched, and without drama that affirm this scholarly textbook a place both on an academic shelf and well beyond the classroom.” Geri Spiegler, Huffington Post (read full review)


Introduction—Leah Muse-Orlinoff and Pedro Lewin Fischer

Coping with La Crisis—Arturo Aguilar, Georgia Hartman, David Keyes, Lisa Markman, and Max Matus

Double Jeopardy: How US Border and Interior Enforcement Policies Shape Tunkaseño Migration—Jonathan Hicken, Mollie Cohen, and Jorge Narvaez

Economic Crisis vs. Border Enforcement: What Matters Most to Prospective Migrants?—Scott Borger and Leah Muse-Orlinoff

Inhabiting Two Worlds: Tunkaseños in the Transnational Labor Market—Micah Gell-Redman, Elí Andrade, Alpha Martell, and Zoila Jiménez Pacheco

Leaving to Learn or Learning to Leave: Education in Tunkás—Travis Silva, Charlene Chang, Carmina Osuna, and Ivan Solís Sosa

Values in Conflict: Youth in a Culture of Migration—Brian Hawkins, Yedid Minjares, Lauren Harris, and Juan Rodríguez de la Gala

The Family Dynamics of Tunkaseño Migration—Kelly Nielsen, Aradhana Tiwari, David Pasquini, Lizette Solórzano, and May Wejebe

Sweet Dreams and Bitter Realities: Nutrition and Health Care in Tunkás and the United States—Paola Pérez, María Luisa Reyes, Peter Seo, Javier Serrano, and Leah Muse-Orlinoff

Reshaping Community Participation: Tunkaseños in a Binational Context—David Keyes, Cristina Fernández, Norma Rodríguez, Diana Cervera, and Luis Manzanero Rodríguez

Appendix: Survey Questionnaire

About the Editors

Wayne A. Cornelius is director emeritus of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS), University of California-San Diego (UCSD). David FitzGerald is associate director of CCIS. Pedro Lewin Fischer is senior researcher at the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia’s Centro Yucatán. Leah Muse-Orlinoff is a PhD candidate in sociology at UCSD.