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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Developing a Community Tradition of Migration: A Field Study in rural Zacatecas, Mexico, and California Settlement Areas


This study sought to take a close-up look at cross-border Mexican migration by collecting detailed information about one binational migratory village-based community. five major findings have resulted from this investigation: 1. Migrants are generally poor rural or urban dwellers who depend on reciprocity networks of mutual exchange with their friends and relatives and not on public institutions for their survival. 2. Migratory networks undergo a maturation process over time. 3. Job and social mobility within these networks is a function of who you know, not what you know. 4. The skills, money, and goods repatriated to Mexico from the US tend to raise the consumptive not the productive level of the sending areas. 5. The continual introduction of new, immature kin networks and the inability of some older ones to obtain good job contacts in the US accentuates the dualism inherent in the US job market.

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