Immigrants: Caught in the Middle

Posted on July 28, 2017


The government of the United States doesn’t care about them. Unfortunately, neither does the government of Mexico:

The migration of so many heads of household ruptured the traditional structure of Mexican family life, leaving to women many responsibilities that previously had been denied them but also making many of them dependent upon money being remitted to them from absent partners. Throughout western and southern Mexico children grew up assuming that they would leave their homes and head for the United States when they were in their teens.

Teenagers who migrated generally were considered functioning adults while they were working but immature and irresponsible adolescents when they were drinking or buying flashy clothes or joyriding in cars or on motorbikes. No longer did they choose partners and marry within their communities when they were in their late teens; in their absence many young single women also left their communities to seek work in cities or to cross into the United States. Average family size in rural communities declined to less than half of what it had been fifty years earlier.

Many who did return to their places of origin, Gloria Zafra and Magdalena López-Rocha assert, brought “cholo” customs with them—independence, drug use, slang—creating imitators among younger residents. Traditional patterns of respect and obedience to parents, teachers and priests that had typified Mexican community life for generations no longer was taken for granted in many rural homes and workplaces. These young people no longer fit into their communities of origin, nor did they fit into urban Mexican life or into the immigrant societies in the United States. Their lack of belonging created what Mexico City priest René Jiménez described as a “a rootless agglomeration of young people who’ve lost faith in government, society and religion.”

From Hidden Dangers, Mexico on the Brink of Disaster, Sunbury Press.

Posted in: Hidden Dangers