Elmer's English 304 Magazine
by Elmer G. Wiens
Mexico's cost of living is so low, that Mexicans can enjoy a high standard of living by working in the U.S.A. for a few months each year, and returning home for the remainder of the year. The Dictionary of Human Geography considers such an ongoing sequence of cross-border moves as an example of transnationalism, the pattern of migration involving the "simultaneous connection to two or more nations." Transmigrants "develop and maintain numerous economic, political, social and cultural links" spanning both home and host countries. Transnational citizens, can enhance their economic prospects by residing, working, and doing business wherever the laws and customs are the most beneficial.
The California vegetable ranchers' demand for a stable supply of low-wage workers is immense, forcing American immigration officials to grant citizenship status to transmigrants, despite the Government's closed-border policies (125). In Macho!, Roberto and Aguilar, moving from one ranch to another, encounter a network of Mexicans living illegally or legally in the U.S.A., competing fiercely for work. Migrants, measuring their pay in terms of the American dollar's purchasing power in Mexico, threatened the livelihood of California's resident farm workers. Through strikes and injunctions, César Chávez's union of farm workers fought against the ranchers' labour practices (155, 195). But, the agribusiness lobby successfully thwarted such efforts (209). The flow of migrants from Mexico continues. Ironically, Mexican-Indian transnationalists have to some extent reclaimed California, lost in the American wars of conquest.
The Dictionary of Human Geography. Fourth edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.
Villaseńor, Victor. Macho!. New York: Dell, 1991.