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June 20 , 2009

The World of Mexican Migrants

The Rock and the Hard Place


Widely praised as a splendid addition to the literature on the great wave of post–1970 immigration from Mexico-as a result of which an estimated 6 million undocumented Mexican migrants now live in the United States-The World of Mexican Migrants, by acclaimed author Judith Adler Hellman, takes us into the lives of those who, no longer able to eke out even a modest living in their homeland, have traveled north to find jobs.
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Hellman takes us deep into the sending communities in Mexico, where we witness the conditions that lead Mexicans to risk their lives crossing the border and meet those who live on Mexico’s largest source of foreign income, remittances from family members al Norte. We hear astonishing border crossing tales-including one man’s journey riding suspended from the undercarriage of a train. In New York and Los Angeles, construction workers, restaurant staff, street vendors, and deliverymen share their survival strategies-the ways in which they work, send money home, find housing, learn English, send their children to school, and avoid detection.

Drawing upon five years of in-depth interviews, Hellman offers a humanizing perspective and “essential window” (Booklist ) into the lives and struggles of Mexican migrants living in the United States.
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