Border Brokers

Children of Mexican Immigrants Navigating U.S. Society, Laws, and Politics

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Some 16.6 million people nationwide live in mixed-status families, containing a combination of U.S. citizens, residents, and undocumented immigrants. U.S. immigration governance has become an almost daily news headline. Yet even in the absence of federal immigration reform over the last twenty years, existing policies and practices have already been profoundly impacting these family units.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in San Diego over more than a decade, Border Brokers documents the continuing deleterious effects of U.S. immigration policies and enforcement practices on a group of now young adults and their families. In the first book-length longitudinal study of mixed-status families, Christina M. Getrich provides an on-the-ground portrayal of these young adults’ lives from their own perspectives and in their own words.

More importantly, Getrich identifies how these individuals have developed resiliency and agency beginning in their teens to improve circumstances for immigrant communities. Despite the significant constraints their families face, these children have emerged into adulthood as grounded and skilled brokers who effectively use their local knowledge bases, life skills honed in their families, and transborder competencies. Refuting the notion of their failure to assimilate, she highlights the mature, engaged citizenship they model as they transition to adulthood to be perhaps their most enduring contribution to creating a better U.S. society.

An accessible ethnography rooted in the everyday, this book portrays the complexity of life in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It offers important insights for anthropologists, educators, policy-makers, and activists working on immigration and social justice issues.
“This important work details how second-generation immigrant youth actively intercede against oppressive state structures. Getrich forcefully moves the theoretical arguments beyond ‘downwardly spiraling second generations’ and ethnographically provides a different and vibrant insight into how present oppressive forces will be mitigated.” —Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, author of Hegemonies of Language and Their Discontents: The Southwest North American Region Since 1540

“Getrich, a rising authority in the field of social and cultural anthropology, furthers the established research on immigration to the United States from Mexico by offering an insightful and penetrating glimpse into the intricacies of young adults as they embody and wrestle with transborder life at the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.” —Cynthia L. Bejarano, author of Que Onda?: Urban Youth Culture and Border Identity
Border Brokers
272 Pages 6 x 9
Published: November 2019Paperback ISBN: 9780816541096
Published: March 2019Ebook ISBN: 9780816539864

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