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Metropolitan Migrants

Metropolitan Migrants: The Migration of Urban Mexicans to the United States

Rubén Hernández-León
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Metropolitan Migrants
    Book Description:

    Challenging many common perceptions, this is the first book fully dedicated to understanding a major new phenomenon-the large numbers of skilled urban workers who are now coming across the border from Mexico's cities. Based on a ten-year, on-the-ground study of one working-class neighborhood in Monterrey, Mexico's industrial powerhouse and third-largest city,Metropolitan Migrantsexplores the ways in which Mexico's economic restructuring and the industrial modernization of the past three decades have pushed a new flow of migrants toward cities such as Houston, Texas, the global capital of the oil industry. Weaving together rich details of everyday life with a lucid analysis of Mexico's political economy, Rubén Hernández-León deftly traces the effects of restructuring on the lives of the working class, from the national level to the kitchen table.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94246-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Map of Monterrey and Houston
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. CHAPTER 1 The Migration of Urban Mexicans to the United States
    (pp. 1-30)

    This book is about the migration of urban and, more specifically, metropolitan Mexicans to the United States. Using the Monterrey-Houston migratory circuit to observe the causes and social organization of metropolitan emigration, I argue that the restructuring of the Mexican economy—prompted by the transition from a development model of import substitution industrialization (ISI) to a policy of export-oriented industrialization (EOI)—has driven urban households in Monterrey to increasingly deploy the labor of their members internationally. Through the lens of a case study, I show how the migration of skilled working-classregiomontanos(the people of Monterrey) to the United States...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Urban-Industrial Development in Mexico, 1940–2005
    (pp. 31-67)

    The migration of urban Mexicans to the United States has taken place in the aftermath of the model of import substitution industrialization (ISI), which set the path for urban-industrial development in Mexico for nearly half a century. Since the 1980s, the country has been enmeshed in a process of economic restructuring and modernization, moving Mexico away from ISI toward a pattern of export-oriented industrialization (EOI). In Monterrey, this transition and its ensuing effects on industrial-labor relations and the reproduction of working-class households have unleashed uncharted migratory streams to the United States.

    From the late 1930s until 1982, Mexico adopted an...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Restructuring and International Migration in a Mexican Urban Neighborhood
    (pp. 68-108)

    Prompted by the impact of economic restructuring, skilled and semiskilled working-classregiomontanoshave begun to resort to U.S.-bound migration as one of their labor market opportunities. In this chapter, I explain why and how these urban-industrial workers with little or no prior crossborder experience begin their migratory careers. Having identified the structural national and international forces that cause the dislocation of blue-collar families, I now move to show how such causal forces operate at the urban neighborhood, household, and individual levels in LaFama, the working-class district in the metropolitan area of Monterrey where I conducted fieldwork. Because of its social,...

  9. CHAPTER 4 The Monterrey-Houston Connection: The Social Organization of Migration and the Economic Incorporation of Immigrants
    (pp. 109-153)

    In this chapter, I move from the causes and structural forces that have uprooted skilled industrial workers to the social organization of international migration in the Monterrey-Houston intermetropolitan circuit. As I analyze the kinds of networks and social capital these urbanites use to migrate to the United States and specifically to Houston, their most important destination, I also offer a window into a variety of borderspanning social contacts and activities immigrants and their families and friends undertake, thereby linking Monterrey and the Bayou City. In addition, this chapter undertakes a second analytical task: uncovering the types of jobsregiomontanoworkers...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Migration Industry in the Monterrey-Houston Connection
    (pp. 154-183)

    In this chapter I analyze a different kind of social infrastructure connecting origin and destination in this migratory circuit, namely, the matrix of entrepreneurial activities and services easing cross-border movement and channeling sojourners between Monterrey and Houston known as the migration industry (Castles and Miller 1998). In turning my attention to the migration industry, I undertake two distinct yet related analytical tasks: first, I identify the components and characterize the role of the migration industry in the social organization of international mobility; and second, through the lens of a case study, I tease out the interactions between the migration industry,...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Metropolitan Migrants: A New Dimension of Mexico-U.S. Migration
    (pp. 184-198)

    What lessons should be drawn from the migration of Monterrey’s skilled manufacturing workers to the United States? How does their experience compare to the experiences of rural Mexicans, who for so long have represented the paradigmatic Mexico-U.S. migrant? The story ofregiomontanosojourning to Houston yields four instructive findings about the causes and the socioeconomic and sociopolitical organization of migration stemming from an urban setting. These findings can be cautiously extrapolated to other Mexican urban and metropolitan areas of the broader binational flow.

    This book has shown that the residents of the country’s third-largest metropolis are resorting to U.S.-bound migration...

  12. Methodological Appendix
    (pp. 199-212)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 213-224)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 225-246)
  15. Index
    (pp. 247-258)