The World of Mexican Migrants
The Rock and the Hard Place
By Judith Adler Hellman
(New Press, The, Hardcover, 9781565848382, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 2008
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""Either you work, or you work. Those are the two choices!""--Sara, a street vendor in East Los AngelesIn her groundbreaking book "Mexican Lives," Judith Adler Hellman profiled fifteen Mexicans, both poor and rich, each of whom was struggling to survive the radical economic and political shifts of Mexico in the 1990s.
"The World of Mexican Migrants" looks at the aftereffects of these changes through the eyes of those who, no longer able to eke out even a modest living in their homeland, have come to the United States. In New York and Los Angeles, we meet, among others, construction workers, restaurant staff, sweatshop laborers, and street vendors. We encounter deliverymen who race through the streets to bring us our food. We hear stories of astonishing border crossings--including one man's journey riding suspended from the undercarriage of a train, and another's deadly three-day trek across the desert. Back in Mexico, Hellman visits family members of migrants who live on remittances from their husbands and relatives "al Norte,"
Drawing on five years of in-depth interviews, Hellman offers a much-needed humanizing perspective on the estimated 6 million undocumented Mexican migrants living in the United States, people whose voices are rarely heard in the din of angry political debate and talk-radio rhetoric on immigration.