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on April 16, 2008
I was able to order some advanced copies of Mexican Migrants and assign the book this semester in my college course on immigration (spring 2008). The students loved the book, as did I. The stories of the Mexican immigrants Judith Hellman interviewed are poignant and full of surprises. People who think they know a lot about the subject may discover, as I did, that they still have a great deal to learn about why people come and the experiences they have, both at home and in "Gringoland." The immigrants Hellman describes may have found themselves between a rock and a hard place, but they face their many challenges with courage, ingenuity, humor and optimism. This is an informative and uplifting book, well written and a plesure to read.
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on March 1, 2009
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to see beyond polemics to the real lives of Mexican migrants and the basics of life on both sides of the border. Hellman asks why Mexicans come to the US, what they experience here, and how they decide whether to stay or return home. Just to ask questions this way gets beyond the usual notion of one way and one-dimensional migration. There are Mexican and American dreams here, the dream of escaping oppressive roles for women in Mexico, the dream of going back to Mexico with a means of support and creating jobs there, and the dream of getting U.S. states to enforce the labor protections that are already on the books. Using Mexican migrants' own words, Hellman explains why people cross the border and the forces that shape their decisions, including the uncertainty of where it is best to raise kids and the challenges of minimum-wage jobs. In contrast to truisms on both sides of the current immigrant debate, Hellman shows that it is the pull of Mexico as well as the attractions and injustices of the US that shape migrants' trajectories and make this truly a transnational continent.
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on July 7, 2010
This book is marvelous on many levels. I teach a seven week university level summer study abroad program in Michoacán, Mexico and have for many years featured immigration as a central theme in the course. I have used many readings and Hellman's book has been by far the most successful. Students love it. The book's aim is to help readers understand why people migrate from Mexico to the United States; their experience as undocumented migrants in the United States and after their return to Mexico; how they decide to stay in the US or return to Mexico; the implications of migration and migration policy for the US and Mexico.

Hellman accomplishes this by crafting beautifully written stories with generous helpings of the migrants own words. Of course she has a point of view, which is that she is hugely sympathetic to those who migrate and critical of policies that have attempted but failed to effectively curb the number of undocumented migrants all the while making the experiences of migrants more difficult than they already were. However, even if the reader disagrees with her position, she is not in my view heavy handed about it. And, of course, those that believe as Hellman does not that restrictionist measures if taken to extremes might actually succeed in significantly lowering the number of undocumented migrants, are free to disagree. Teaching this material, I was able to add to the restrictionist perspective in my lectures and this made for fascinating class discussions that are impossible if the reading in question is not of excellent and provocative quality. One testament to the quality of this text as a teaching tool is that one of my students, a self-described "conservative" high school teacher, is planning on using the text in her class next year.

I give this volume the highest recommendation not only as a teaching tool but also to any reader interested in furthering their understanding regarding the immigrant experience. So much of our public debate regarding immigration and immigration policy is done without much insight into the immigrant experience. Bravo to Judy Hellman for this important contribution to our collective knowledge.
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on January 31, 2011
I needed this book for a class and it was delivered in 2 days, so it was perfect! the book it self was not bad at all. It was brand new!
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on May 10, 2011
I loved how this book fleshed out the reality that none of us really lives us to the stereotypes of our cultures. Each of us has individual stories that while shaped by our culture, are our own and very unique. It helped to amplify my understanding of the many different situations that Mexican immigrants find themselves in the US and to understand the many difficult implications that their departure from Mexico has created there. The book was delightful and engaging.
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on October 30, 2013
Apart from personal relationships, Anglo Americans like myself don't often get to hear the stories of Mexican migrants told by Mexican migrants themselves. We are fed whatever images and explanations the dominant culture chooses to give us through media and politicians. This book is a gift in that the author serves as more of a microphone than a pen. Through interviews with migrants in Los Estados Unidos (the hard place) and in México (the rock) she allows the migrants and their families to speak for themselves. These are voices and stories we all need to hear.
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on August 30, 2014
A good combination and compilation of stories of immigrants. It really puts into perspective the diverse and powerful situations of immigrants coming across the border.
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on March 11, 2013
I volunteer wit a ESL program for Mexicans. I watch over the children, while their parents are in class, Books like this help me understand the kids and the adults
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on January 17, 2013
I've already read it twice!! It really is interesting and the way she describes things is amazing and makes you feel as if you were there.
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on June 4, 2010
Warning -- if you think illegal immigration is a bad thing, be prepared to read that you are a "nativist" and described as prejudiced and more. My suggestion is that buying a copy secondhand would avoid putting money directly into the author's hands.

Hellman presents a uniformly sympathetic and cheerful view of the Mexican people having created networks that bring Mexicans into our nation illegally and funnel them into jobs once held by Americans and more. Indeed, Hellman says how delighted she was to be able to help illegals gain access to American social services and work.

Aside from that warning, this book is well and clearly written and details the many, many ways that Mexico and Mexicans have been able to game the U.S. system. It clarifies how the Mexican government helped create this situation with its policies. The casual attitude taken toward ICE and U.S. laws are illustrated over and over. One reads of Mexicans blithely moving around our nation, secure in the knowledge that they have friends and relatives everywhere who will protect them. It's especially enlightening to read of how many legal immigrants of various backgrounds hire illegal Mexicans.

Other crimes committed by illegal aliens are never mentioned, so don't look for a complete picture of what Mexicans are doing here, only the so-called sunny side of the better life for my family rationalization.

It's information worth having. But be prepared to feel insulted if you believe the presence of unknown millions of people within our borders might not be a great situation.
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