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

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

by Christina Getrich

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816539864
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Christina M. Getrich is an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Increasingly Anti-immigrant Public Policies and Their Impact on Mixed-Status Families
2. Conceptualizing Citizenship and Illegality
3. Contending with the Repercussive Effects of Illegality and Deportability
4. Embodying and Contesting the Effects of Racialized Enforcement
5. Tracing Different Trajectories of Transborder Life
6. Brokering Belonging in the Shadow of the State

Appendix A: Conducting Research with Borderland Young Adults
Appendix B: Participants


Scholars and students of anthropology, education, and border studies, as well as policymakers and activists working on immigration and social justice issues.

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