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Migraciones internacionales

versión On-line ISSN 2594-0279versión impresa ISSN 1665-8906

Migr. Inter vol.6 no.1 Tijuana ene./jun. 2011




Ethnic Capital and Relay Migration: New and Old Migratory Patterns in Latin America


Capital étnico y migración de relevo: Nuevos y viejos patrones migratorios en América Latina


Jorge Durand


Universidad de Guadalajara/ Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas. Dirección electrónica:


Date of receipt: August 24, 2010.
Date of acceptance: November 8, 2010.



As the pioneer of migratory studies Ernst Ravenstein would say in 1885 in his famous article on "The Laws of Migration", they are produced in a stepped fashion and all migratory currents create other compensatory ones. The article indirectly takes up these two old proposals for Latin America, which we classify as trans–generational and relay migration, two migratory patterns that have developed in the cases described yet which also occur in many other places. This article reflects on specific cases but at the same time, we propose new categories of analysis with a medium scope.

Keywords: relay migration, ethnic capital, transgenerational migration, Latin America, Caribbean.



Como diría en 1885 el pionero de los estudios migratorios Ernst Ravenstein en su famoso artículo sobre las "Leyes de la migración", éstas se producen escalonadamente y toda corriente migratoria genera otra de carácter compensatorio. El artículo retoma de manera indirecta estas dos añejas propuestas para América Latina, a las que calificamos como migración transgeneracional y migración por relevos, dos patrones migratorios que se han desarrollado en los casos expuestos pero que pueden encontrar símiles en muchos otros lugares. El artículo reflexiona sobre casos concretos, pero al mismo tiempo propone nuevas categorías de análisis de alcance medio.

Palabras clave: migración por relevos, capital étnico, migración transgeneracional, América Latina, Caribe.



Migratory processes are reversible. Immigration countries can become sending countries while countries that have traditionally sent migrants can become receivers. This has happened in certain European countries and is now occurring in Latin America. Over the past half century, the Latin American region has stopped being an attractive destination for emigrants from Europe, the Far East and the Middle East and become an emerging actor in the sending of migrants in the international sphere.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Latin America began to participate in the global scenario of international migration with an approximate contribution of 30 million persons, accounting for 15 percent of the estimated total of 191 million emigrants worldwide in 2005. Immigrants, in turn, account for 5.5 percent of the total Latin American population, estimated at 523 million persons. At the same time, these migrants have mainly chosen to emigrate within the continent; 23.5 million live in the United States and 3.5 million in different countries in the region. Moreover, they have recently headed for Europe, where 2 million live and to Japan, which has absorbed just under half a million.1

This is a slow process that has now involved all the countries in the region. But although it is possible to speak of a general dynamic for the region, each country may have very different behavior. There are countries with a hundred–year–old migratory history whereas in other cases it dates from the mid–20th century, such as Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican Republic or more recently, Central and South America, where it dates from the 1980s and 1990s.

At the same time, there are predominantly unidirectional migratory processes, such as those of Mexico and Central America, with the exception of Nicaragua, whereas other countries such as Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Colombia opt for various destinations and still others, such as Peru, choose multiple destinations. This diversity includes an additional complexity, the various migratory modalities that may occur in each country: emigration, immigration, transit and return.

Although heterogeneity is a distinctive feature of Latin American emigration, it is also possible to distinguish stages, define processes and undertake an in–depth analysis of certain characteristic patterns in the region. This article focuses on two migratory patterns that have begun to be important in the case of Latin America: transgenerational migration and relay migration.

But before analyzing these patterns, two terms that are often used as synonyms or indistinctly must be defined. It is worth specifying what is meant by migratory process and pattern in this paper.

The migratory process encompasses three basic dimensions: social, temporary and spatial. Firstly, it is a social process because migration is explained by a set of factors that go beyond economic and political aspects and have an impact on several areas of society. The process affects both migrants and their families and the communities, countries and regions of origin and destination. (Massey et al., 1987). It is not an individual, isolated adventure; personal decisions are framed within complex historical and social processes.

Secondly, by definition, the category has a temporal dimension, since it occurs in a procedural fashion, meaning that it entails a historical, evolutionary process. In this respect, the process involves certain classic phases such as: departure, in which the causes are emphasized; transit, where the characteristics of the flow are analyzed; arrival, where the dynamics of adaptation and integration are studied and lastly, return and reintegration (Massey et al., 1987; Portes, 2007; Durand, 2006; Egea et al., 2005). Complementary phases include the consequences and relations established between the place of destination and the place of origin, an issue that has widely been developed by transnationalists (Levitt and Glick Schiller, 2004; Guarnizo, 1994).

Lastly, the migratory process has a spatial dimension because it implies a change of residence and workplace, which may even involve acquiring a new nationality. This change takes place in a space, which has an extremely precise geographical reference and at the same time, may be located within an international geopolitical context.

The study of migrations traditionally took the places of origin, transit and destination of migration into account. Nowadays, however, analysis has become more complex since it includes the "migratory circuits" that link international and international migration processes (Durand, 1986), the "transnational migratory circuits" that circumscribe them and restrict them to international spheres (Rouse, 1991), "transnational social fields" or spaces (Levitt and Glick Schiller, 2004), "flows" (Anguiano and Trejo, 2007) and "circulatory territories" (Tarrius, 2000). Analyzing the migratory process involves taking this set of social, temporal and spatial dimensions into account.

For its part, the migratory pattern refers to the characteristics or modalities that define and distinguish the various processes and their phases. Various patterns may have developed within a single migratory process over time. In the Mexican case, for example, the migratory pattern of the Bracero era was characterized by being legal, temporary, male and with an agricultural origin and destination, making it different from other phases (Durand, 1994).

Likewise, a country's migratory process may have patterns that differ according to the various regions and social sectors. For example, in the case of Peru, the migratory pattern of the middle classes differs from that of popular sectors. In the case of Mexico, migrants from the historical region have a different pattern from that of the border region adjoining the United States (Durand and Massey, 2003; Durand, 2010).

The sociological meaning of the term "pattern" refers to the type, model and path that orients or defines the migratory process of a particular case. A process may have various patterns that develop over time or simultaneously.

The definition of a migratory pattern implies a typology that requires an effort of abstraction and at the same time involves a simplification and delimitation of fundamental features. As Portes (1999) would say, working on and drawing up typologies is the first step in the process of theorization.

Having clarified the distinction between migratory patterns and processes, let us analyze the two different migratory patterns that take place in Latin America.


Transgenerational Migration and Ethnic Capital

Transgenerational migration is a migratory pattern that has begun to be observed in Latin America in recent decades. It involves the migration of the children, grandchildren or great–grandchildren of migrants who arrived in Latin America from Europe and other parts of the world during the post–colonial migratory period from 1850 to 1950.

The phenomenon has already been detected by several of the authors who analyze Latin American migration to Europe and Japan (Pellegrino, 2001; Martínez, 2004, 2005; Takenaka, 2005, 2009; Takeyuki, 1999; Masato, 2002; Valls and Martínez, 2006). There are also studies of second–generation migrations to India and China (Jain, 2010). In these cases, all the authors speak of "return" migration, with or without inverted commas. It is, however, necessary to specify and discuss the best way of describing this new migratory pattern.

From our point of view, transgenerational migration is not return migration. First–generation migrants return to their place of origin, the place where they were born. The descendants of immigrants, who form part of the second or third generation, emigrate to their ancestors' place of origin. This is a crucial difference, which is why transgenerational migration cannot be defined as "return migration", as Takeyuki (1999) declares for the case of Brazilians that go to Japan or as a "deferred generational return" in the case of Latin Americans in Europe as Martínez points out (2004) or "return" migration as Jain (2010) states for the case of India.

Transgenerational migration has also been called ethnic migration, which refers to the migratory policies that favor blood, cultural and religious links as a means of selectively incorporating certain groups and facilitating foreign immigration. (Takenaka, 2005, 2009; Valls and Martínez, 2006). Nevertheless, one should clarify the fact that the ethnic nature of this migratory pattern goes far beyond cultural issues. Ethnography for the Japanese and European case has shown that transgenerational second– and third–generation South American migrants have quite different cultural baggage and that the processes of adaptation to the land of their ancestors tends to be much more complex and contradictory than anticipated (Takenaka, 2005, 2009; Takeyuki, 1999; Jofre, 2003).

The transgenerational migratory pattern is based on the migrant's management of his identity, phenotype, nationality, ancestors, genealogy and surname as a resource that will allow him to emigrate legally, regularize his situation, facilitate his integration or blend into the place of destination.

Several structural and legal factors have influenced the shape and development of this new migratory pattern: changes in the demographic structure of countries that were once sending countries;2 the emergence of a significant demand for workers that cannot be met by local reserves: adaptations and new criteria that define nationality, dual nationality and not losing one's nationality; migratory reforms, amnesties and regularization processes; preferential systems for obtaining visas, work, residence or nationality according to generational, ethnic or religious criteria; selective forms of recruitment on the basis of ethnicity, language, culture and religion.

Indeed, the criteria for fostering a certain type of migrants may vary according to countries or a specific moment in time. For example, in the case of Israel, the criterion of ethnicity and religion is prioritized; in French–speaking Canada, language is favored, regardless of ethnicity or religion whereas in Japan, the defining criterion is one's ancestors.

From the point of view of receiving countries, transgenerational migration can be regarded as an attempt to respond to the failure of the processes and programs for the integration of immigrants from other ethnic groups and cultures. The assumption is that ethnic, racial and cultural affinity would facilitate assimilation processes on the one hand and limit the rejection of the receiving society on the other. Thus, in the late 20th century, some countries have chosen to use different identity criteria as determining factors in the process of selection, regularization or induction of migratory flows.

Although the procedure obviously has racial undertones, it is posited in positive terms of ethnicity, identity, acceptance and integration rather than merely in terms of work or racial exclusion, as was the case in the past. And it is within this international context of the liberalization of labor markets for migrants that a window of opportunity has been opened up for Latin American migrants, which has made it possible to reappraise a series of particularities or personal or group features that were previously not taken into account.

Numerous studies have shown the importance of social, human and economic capital in the origin, sustainment and integration of migratory flows (Portes, 1998, Massey et al., 1987). Social networks, as a fundamental part of social capital, have been a decisive factor in the concentration of migrants in certain places of destination and the formation of transnational migrant communities.

At the same time, human capital has always been a determining feature that facilitates the migratory option. It enables migrants to classify certain established criteria and above all, it ensures them an easy, successful integration in the place of destination. Having educational credentials, proficiency in languages and professional skills makes it easier to obtain visas, work permits and residence. Moreover, many countries promote and facilitate the recruitment of highly qualified professionals. In certain countries such as Canada, for example, scoring systems are used that reward migrants' human capital and discriminate against those without any.

Lastly, material and economic capital intervenes, which facilitates the obtainment of visas, work permits, residence and family reunification processes. In the United States, for example, residence visas are easier to obtain for those who can prove that they have large sums of money invested or saved in the country. Even obtaining a tourist visa requires proving that one has bank accounts, property and business.

A fundamental characteristic of these three forms of capital, originally posited by Bourdieu (1985), is that they can be acquired and are transferrable. Social capital is accumulated through a network of personal, familial or group contacts. This network has to be maintained, since, "social capital is not worn out by use but rather by the lack of use" (Ostrom et al., 2003:158). At the same time, having social capital makes it easy to obtain human and material capital.

Moreover, having material (economic) capital makes it easier to obtain human capital (a good education) and social capital (high–level contacts). Lastly, having human capital is an important means that makes it easier to acquire better social contacts and obtain higher salaries. In many cases, a person begins to establish a network of contacts beyond the family at school or at university.

However, these three types of capital do not necessarily operate in the case of transgenerational migration, which allows us to posit another type of capital which we will call ethnic. Ethnic capital is what each person has when he has a place of birth, nationality, surname, genealogy, race and phenotype. In general, this type of capital is given rather than acquired, and is an essential part of a person. One cannot change one's place of birth, which appears in all identity documents. It is possible to acquire another nationality, but on the basis of an original nationality. It is impossible to change one's ancestors, who, in addition to a surname, usually provide genetic, phenotypical and racial features. Ethnic capital does not necessarily have a direct link with culture, although it can obviously be related. Culture is acquired; it is learned behavior and strictly speaking, it is independent of the place where a person was born, his surname, phenotype or ancestors.

Although ethnic capital differs from other forms of capital in that it cannot be acquired or increased, it is transferrable and makes it easier to obtain human, social and material capital.

Nowadays, it may be more important for a migrant to have ethnic capital than social, human or material capital. One or more immediate ancestors with a different nationality will enable this person to obtain easy and sometimes immediate access to a second or even a third nationality. At the very least, it may make it easier to obtain a visa. Once nationality or an entry visa have been acquired, other forms of capital may operate in a complementary fashion.

At the popular level, ethnic capital is widely recognized and used and handled in a situational fashion. There is a whole system of values associated with one's surname, ancestors, phenotypical features, race, color and skin tone. And migrants use their ethnic capital in different ways. For example, some Brazilian immigrants in Boston prefer to be taken for African–Americans than Hispanics. Hypothetically, they could have the two options. But they consider that Latinos are associated with undocumented workers, whereas African–Americans are identified as citizens, which is regarded as a considerable advantage (Marrow, 2003).

Takenaka's study (2007) of Peruvians who go to Japan (Nikkeis) reveals the complex strategies and identity management used by certain migrants. Firstly they use their ethnic capital to obtain Japanese nationality. Thus, as Japanese, they can easily obtain a visa for the United States. But once they have settled in the United States, Peruvian–Japanese migrants who arrive in New York prefer to be identified as Latinos, whereas those that settle in Los Angeles tend to identify themselves as Asians. Identity management depends on the context, the opportunities and the stigmas encountered by each person.

Likewise, an Argentinean immigrant of Spanish or Italian descent may use his surname, race and phenotype differently, depending on the migratory contexts in which he finds himself. In Peru or Mexico, he might be considered "fair–skinned" which could hypothetically give him a certain advantage. In Spain or Italy, for example, the same person with this phenotype and skin color would not receive the same deference and would be treated like everyone else. He could even be considered different, depending on the dual nature of the ethnic component, which could be inclusive or exclusive.

The point, as Barth (1976) would say, is "the ethnic limit that defines the group rather than the cultural contents it entails". The reference group may include or exclude depending on which social factors are important and taken into account at that time.

This is the case of an Argentinean immigrant of Balearic origin who does not feel integrated into Mallorca. "I feel they treat me as though I were from Morocco or Senegal, even though I was born and raised among Mallorcans ... I can dance boleros and jotas, which I learned at the Balearic Cultural Center, and it really hurts me..." (Jofre, 2003:69). Ethnic quality is a status that is granted and at the same time, can be a stigma. In this case, the difference between those who are Balearic by birth and by descent may be being emphasized. The presence of nearly 7 000 Argentineans in Mallorca elicits a negative reaction from the native population, which feels entitled to socially exclude the new arrivals. As Eidheim (1976) would say, there are "transition zones" where ethnic limits are unclear. Although there is a high degree of homogeneity, there are certain features and indications that reflect a degree of ethnic diversity, which translates into discrimination.

There are exceptional cases in which a person changes his surname, as in adoption processes or through legal resources. There are also examples of changes in phenotypical or racial features through plastic surgery. In the Peruvian Japanese migratory context, both cases have occurred. Interviews with Peruvian migrants show that there have been examples of adoption to obtain a Japanese surname. This is obviously a business that is on the fringe of legality yet which is ultimately sanctioned by a judge and may be accepted or rejected by the country of destination. In other cases, some migrants have their eyes operated on to accentuate their oriental features. These are exceptional cases in which a person can acquire a surname and certain phenotypical features that might help with certain types of paperwork or integration processes. These exceptions confirm the importance of ethnic capital.

Indeed, each person's different aspects of ethnic capital can be enhanced and reappraised in the new transgenerational migratory context. The old motto of many migrants of "not looking back" or "burning their boats" no longer works for the new generations. The second and third generation may be interested in looking back and from their point of view, they have not burned their boats and consider that they have rights to recover or at last claim. This dynamic has been facilitated by the development of the media, which have transformed, lowered the cost of and increased opportunities to travel, visit, establish relations, obtain information, complete paperwork, and photocopy and send documents.

Contact with close, latent or distant relatives in one's ancestors' place of origin facilitates access to better conditions for emigrating and forms part of social capital. The long–forgotten relative, whom no–one bothered to remember, can be contacted via the Internet or telephone and become a valuable resource. But even more effective is the old passport belonging to a person's now dead grandfather, which may serve to create illusions and plans for migrating or as documentary proof for immigration papers.

Transgenerational migration has always existed, but in the form of isolated cases. Now it is a social phenomenon of considerable size that is difficult to quantify yet one that is beginning to appear in the statistics for the regularization of migrants and the processes of naturalization and recovering nationality. At the same time, migrants are beginning to make novel use of the resources provided by ethnic capital, the knowledge and use of legal resources and the reappraisal of phenotypical, linguistic, genealogical and nominative characteristics. Within the context of transgenerational migration, these elements may have a greater value than that traditionally assigned to social capital.

There is a thin line separating ethnic from human and social capital. In most cases, they operate simultaneously. Having a broad network of relatives obviously makes it easier to deal with the paperwork involved in recovering a particular nationality. Knowing the language of one's ancestors, which was learnt within the family, facilitates the processes of integration. But ethnic capital can also be used independently, because it is employed as a legal resource that is a fundamental component of transgenerational migration.

Nationality has traditionally been defined in accordance with two principles, right of blood, "jus sanguinis" and birthright citizenship, "jus soli". However, both criteria have been called into question and have a particular casuistry according to each country.

Birthright citizenship is inclusive and does not make any ethnic, religious, racial or cultural distinctions. It is a clear, transparent right, which is not open to interpretation. Conversely, the right of blood tends to be exclusive and open to numerous interpretations and nuances. Priority is given to blood purity, which is nothing more than racial and ethnic origin. Only parents can grant the right to nationality through blood. In some cases, however, as in Spain during the Franco era, the right could only be granted by the father rather than the mother, which was an obvious case of gender discrimination, which has now been corrected.

Casuistry also occurs in the case of generations and the generation to which it is possible or desirable to grant this right. In Germany, for example, priority was given to the right of blood, which is accepted up to the third generation (grandparents). In Spain, grandchildren's right to obtain nationality is currently under discussion.

In Japan, this right is acknowledged for five generations, each of which has a specific name. However, according to Japanese legislation, each generation has different migratory rights, with the second generation having more rights than the third. According to a government official interviewed by Ayumi Takenaka (2005), "Japanese blood gets thinner over the generations". Although it is possible to preserve the phenotype, cultural features are diluted. In Peru, first–generation Japanese migrants used to organize Sumo tournaments in the 1930s. And grandparents taught and instilled these customs in their grandchildren but the context changed and Sumo competitions have not been held in Lima for generations.

In the United States, a possible reform of the 14th Amendment, which grants the right to nationality due to birth, is currently under discussion. The purpose of the reform is to eliminate the birthright of the children of irregular immigrants. The children of irregular immigrants currently total four million. And they are American citizens with full rights. Four options are being discussed: the first is to maintain the current situation that grants the right by birth, the second is to deny the right if both parents are irregular, the third is to deny the right if the mother is irregular and the fourth is to deny the right if the father is irregular. Each case has different demographic implications but if the law changes, the number of irregular immigrants would rise dramatically (Van Hook, 2010). The criterion for nationality would no longer be purity of blood but rather purity of legal status. In a multicultural country such as the United States, where discrimination cannot be open, another form of discrimination and exclusion has been found.

In the current context of globalized emigration, right of birth leads to the formation of multiethnic, multicultural and multi–racial societies. Conversely, the right of blood fosters and favors ethnically and racially homogenous societies, although not always with the expected results. The cases of Germany and France are paradigmatic. France grants citizenship in broader terms whereas Germany does so more restrictively. Yet similar results have been achieved by different means. France grants nationality to the children of immigrants who acquired French nationality and now faces the problem of second and third generation immigrants who have been unable to be integrated and feel excluded (Brubaker, 1992, Mestris, 2007). For its part, in 1935, Germany established two types of citizenship, those that belonged to the German State and those belonging to the Reich or empire. The second was granted by right of blood and had to be certified by documentary proof of racial purity. The point was to ensure that Reich citizenship coincided with racial purity of Aryan origin. This was quite difficult to achieve in the case of mixed marriages, where children had to certify their degree of purity. Among the range of possibilities, Jews were obviously excluded while those of Nordic origin were more easily accepted (Garner, 1936).

Over time, and as a result of the war, postwar and guest worker programs, this criterion stopped being effective. The children of immigrants, including second–, third– and fourth–generation, born on German soil, were not regarded as German, even though they spoke the language perfectly and were fully integrated and socialized. The situation was untenable and the state was forced to grant nationality to those that had previously been excluded.

The millions of children, grandchildren and great–grandchildren of European immigrants and those of other nationalities who arrived in Latin America are now entitled to acquire, recover or claim another nationality. In the case of Spain, there is a protest movement among the grandchildren of Spaniards claiming their consanguinity rights. There have even been cases in which relatives have recovered the nationality of their dead parents in order to have access to these rights as the children of Spaniards and pass them onto their children. This is the case of an Argentinean who, in an immigrants' blog in Spain, explained that he had to nationalize his father "post mortem" in order to be able to begin the paperwork to acquire Spanish nationality.

A similar thing has happened with the children of exiled Spanish republicans; the Historical Memory Act granted the children and grandchildren of Spaniards the right to acquire their parents' nationality with a minimum of paperwork and requirements. The law states that "all Spaniards who left Spain between July 18, 1936 and December 31, 1955 are presumed to have had the status of exiles" (Ministerio de Justicia de España, 2011).

In Cuba, for example, this law has raised enormous expectations. The Spanish Embassy in Havana received over 25 000 applications from Cubans in 2009 while a total of 161 463 applications for nationality have been received worldwide, vastly increasing the workload for both consulates and embassies.

This wave of nationality applications has elicited contrasting opinions in the motherland. The "mother" in "motherland" is purely rhetorical. The children and grandchildren of Spaniards have very few Spanish and a great many Mexican, Colombian or Argentinean characteristics. Because the land where a person was born, the country where he was raised and the school that educated him is what shapes cultural and national identity.

In fact, nationality claims tend to be disparaged by most Spanish people. And several of them use the jus soli argument against all those who, quite rightly, and in keeping with the law, are claiming their right of blood. This is how a Galician answered an Argentinean, the grandson of a Galician couple, who complained that his application for nationality had been turned down:

Because you don't talk about the motherland or any of those things. The only thing you seem to be interested in is going to work in Spain. What does "motherland" mean to you? Would you be prepared to die for Spain? Let's not beat about the bush. For most descendants of Spanish emigrants, Spain doesn't mean anything. You don't feel Spanish and you regard the country where you were born as your homeland. And if that is the case, it's a good thing they turned down your application for Spanish nationality, you and all the bloody South Americans who think that dual nationality is just a "scam" as you say in Argentina so that you can come and settle here in Spain and take jobs away from those of us that that live here, without having to go through the proper immigration procedure and that's immoral. If you don't feel Spanish, you've got no business applying for Spanish nationality (Filios de Galicia, 2001).

The policy of closing up loopholes for access to migration and nationality has its limits and problems. In time, the children and grandchildren of these transgenerational migrants will become Spaniards, just as their parents became Latin Americans. The argument of looking for work and opportunities is exactly the same as the one European immigrants used for centuries. The Historical Memory Act is meet and right and was passed in good faith. But the historical memory of an immigrant people such as the Spanish, Italians or Portuguese is quite another matter.

Several countries have tried to deal with this situation by demanding a variable number of years of legal residence before allowing a person to apply for nationality. In Spain, for example, residents of Latin American origin may apply after two years of residence while other countries require eight years. In the United States, five years' residence is required.

But the opposite also happens. There are countries that no longer demand residence to recover nationality, as in the case of Argentina and Chile, which have changed their legislation. They are interested in facilitating access to nationality, which sooner or later, could bear fruit, encourage businesses and establish cultural, social and marital relations.

Countries where the demographic transition process has already taken place and that are below replacement levels are facing a serious challenge regarding the supply of their labor markets, their future and their viability as a country. In these cases, the population is a resource rather than a nuisance or a problem. In an attempt to protect their future, many countries that are currently senders have adjusted their nationality policies to maintain, restore or increase their population.

Migrant–sending countries have therefore adapted their nationality criteria to prevent the loss of population or recover it in the event that they have acquired another nationality. The most commonly used formula has been the "non–loss of nationality". Thus, the emigrant population continues to be linked to its place of origin while its children maintain their rights. Virtually all Latin American countries, as well as other parts of the world, have adopted this measure (Calderón, 2004). A recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) inventory (2010) on institutional practices and capacities in 13 African countries reports that 8 of them had established the criteria of non–loss of nationality: Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Mali and Nigeria while another three permit this in practice or accept a series of exceptions: Egypt, Syria and Senegal. Ethiopia and Niger are the only countries where citizens lose their nationality if they acquire another one.

In countries with massive migration flows, discussion of nationality, culture, ethnicity and citizenship is inevitable. But it is actually a question of integration. For some people, the process of assimilation is slow but successful, for others, assimilation may involve various results and may not even occur. Lastly, some authors believe that a process of segmented assimilation is taking place (Portes, Fernández Kelly, Haller, 2006; Alba and Nee, 2003).

Ethnographic information in the case of transgenerational migration in Japan and Europe reveals problems and conflicts in the process of assimilation (Takenaka, 2005, 2009, Takeyuki, 1999), which also suggests that cases of segmented assimilation are occurring, even when a person has the right nationality, surname and even the phenotype.

In Latin America, various cases of transgenerational migration have been identified, which form part of the late 20th century migratory reflux towards Europe and Japan. The most outstanding cases in Europe are Spain, Italy and Portugal, three countries that sent various waves of immigrants to Latin America during the colonial phase and the independent phase, which concluded in the 1950s. Another important case is Japan, which sent emigrants to Peru and Brazil during the first half of the 20th century (Takenaka, 2005; Pellegrino, 2001; Lesser, 2006). The phenomenon of transgenerational migration is not limited to the Latin American case and has begun to have repercussions on other parts of the world.


Relay Migration

Relay migration is the result of the combination of various internal and international migratory processes. Demand for workers, in a context of a significant salary gap, creates an initial supply, which then becomes a constant flow. When the process becomes a mass phenomenon, it eventually affects local labor markets that are covered by new migratory flows.

It is an inter–linking system, where emigration creates immigration. Relay migration occurs over various decades and is directly linked to the imbalance caused by mass migration in labor markets within the countries of origin.

The term "relay migration" was previously used by Arizpe (1980) to define and explain the migration that occurs between parents and children as a survival strategy and a form of economic diversification. It refers to the various phases of the domestic cycles when the parents, who have worked as migrants, return and are replaced by their children. But in this article, we are interested in going beyond the context of the domestic cycle.

This type of migratory pattern can also be called "chain migration", in which there is a concatenation of processes or stepped migration revealing the different income levels in various countries. Although several cases of relay migration have taken place in Latin America, the most important and structured ones have occurred between the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

In order to analyze a case of relay migration, one has to begin with the origin, the factor that triggers migration and the initial recruitment that creates the subsequent imbalance. Analysis should therefore begin with the demand factor at the highest point on the work scale. The case that concerns us originated in the United States and is the immediate result of a labor recruitment initiative in Puerto Rico that subsequently created an imbalance in the local labor market.

After the Second World War, U.S. labor markets adjusted to respond to a sustained phase of economic growth. During the first half of the 20th century, the main labor reservoir for the U.S. economy was in the south, the deep south, and the west of Mexico. Black and Mexican labor filled the gaps left by changes in land ownership, meeting the urgent demand for workers for new irrigation projects and the development of plantation systems. The East Coast, traditionally supplied by the south, opened up a new supply of labor in the Caribbean by recruiting workers in Puerto Rico, which was subsequently joined by Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti. The Caribbean became the new labor supplier for the Miami–Boston corridor.

The first gap to be filled was seasonal cane–cutting work in Florida and Hawaii, the only two places in the U.S. where the climate permitted this type of crop. It was an activity in which Puerto Ricans had experience. Intensive labor recruitment in Puerto Rico began in 1948, which then gave rise to emigration to another emerging labor market: New York. Within a very short time, emigration became a mass process encouraged by the ease of travel as citizens and having an efficient air link between New York and San Juan.

Mass emigration to the continent occurred at a growing rate. Between 1945 and 1950, 30 000 Puerto Ricans emigrated a year, while the average rose to 40 000 during the 1950s. In 1970, 35 percent of the island's population lived on the mainland, rising to 40 percent the following decade (Levine, 1986). By 2005, 51 percent of the population born in Puerto Rico lived in mainland U.S. (Duany, 2010).

This created a major imbalance in the local Puerto Rican labor market. The agricultural setting was the first to be affected, given the initial recruitment of cane cutters and the subsequent emigration from the rural sector to cities. Between 1957 and 1961, 35 percent of emigrants left the rural setting. Plantation crops began to feel the effects of the labor shortage. Paradoxically, the labor shortage in Florida and Hawaii was solved by Puerto Rican laborers and a shortage was created in Puerto Rico, a traditional, exceptional place for coffee production. The international migratory dynamic originally created internal and then international migration.

Workers from Dominican Republic were called in to fill the gaps in cane cutting and coffee harvesting. In this case, there was no recruitment but even today, there is an acute shortage of labor for this type of poorly–paid, seasonal work that is informally supplied by undocumented labor.

If Puerto Rico were considered a U.S. state, then its socio–economic indicators would be the lowest in the country. In 1990, 25 percent of the Puerto Rican population earned less than 5 000 US dollars a year, while the country average was 4 percent. Another quarter (24.9%) earned between 5 000 and 9 000 US dollars a year, while the country average was 5.6 percent (Welcome to Puerto Rico, 2010). Half the population lived in poverty and many of them were on welfare. The situation does not appear to have changed much. In 2010, 13.2 percent of the Puerto Rican population earned less than 15 000 US dollars a year, while the national average was 7.9 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

The economic factor was the main trigger for Puerto Rican migration. It involved mass migration, which was typical of the Caribbean region, yet does not correspond to the standards of Spanish Caribbean islands. Puerto Rico is one of the four Caribbean countries with over 50 percent of its population overseas, the others being Grenada, 69 percent, Surinam, 55.8 percent and Guyana, 55.6 percent. Conversely, the indices of emigration from Dominican Republic and Cuba are noticeably lower, 12 percent and 11 percent respectively (World Bank, 2008).

After affecting the rural areas, mass emigration began to impact the urban setting, where there was a labor shortage in poorly–paid jobs. Demand was met by Dominican labor, mostly undocumented, which arrived in "yawls", crossing the hazardous Mona channel separating the two islands (Duany et al., 1995).

The sugar industry, a century–old, emblematic tradition of Puerto Rico, ceased to function in 2000, when the last sugar mills still operating were closed. Coffee growing is still common but suffers from a chronic shortage of labor. Economic activities change and are transformed, but migration persists.

A couple of decades later, when Puerto Rican emigration could still be considered massive, the impact on Dominican Republic began to be felt, which in turn triggered relay migration in a new political context that made emigration possible.

During Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship (1930–1961), strict control was exerted over the Dominican population, making it virtually impossible to emigrate (Doré, 2006; Bray, 1987). The migratory flow began in 1965, with the U.S. invasion and the granting of visas as an escape valve for social problems and a means of political control to counter the influence of the Cuban revolution (Grasmuck and Pessar, 1991; Duany, 1990). Emigrating to the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, the neighboring island, became a feasible alternative for Dominicans and in both cases, the supply and demand factor and the salary gap played a key role.

Between 1961 and 1981, 255 000 Dominicans legally emigrated to the United States. And during the 1970s, nearly 100 000 Dominicans visited the United States as tourists. Some of them began to stay longer than the allotted time and irregular migration began to parallel migration by those with residence permits (Bray, 1987).

For its part, Dominican emigration to Puerto Rico increased rapidly. In 1960, the census reported 1 812 Dominicans on the island. By 1970, there were 10 843, by 1980, there were 20 558, by 1990, there were 37 505 and by 2000, there were 61 455. The Dominican population increased 34–fold between 1960 and 2000. At the same time, the number of Dominicans admitted to Puerto Rico as immigrants between 1966 and 2000 totaled 118 999 (Duany, 2010). Many of them would go to mainland U.S. once they had obtained residence, which is why they do not appear in the census. After New York, Puerto Rico is the second most important destination for Dominicans.

Although at the outset, Dominican emigration was heavily influenced by political factors, as time went by, the determining factors were economic. This occurred despite the fact that during the 1970s, Dominican Republic experienced considerable economic growth and new labor opportunities were created in the manufacturing sector. Economic growth was paralleled by the increase in Dominican emigration, which was initially characterized by being urban and involved the middle and lower classes, which left several positions vacant. Both factors triggered urban rural migration processes (Bray, 1987; Grasmuck, and Pessar, 1991). Subsequently, during the 1980s, the economic crisis and successive devaluations created more emigration.

The import–substitution model, fully implemented by President Balaguer, transformed the local labor market. In 1970, the economically active population in the urban area was 472 450 persons in 1981, which doubled to 998 590, an increase of 111 percent (Grasmuck and Pessar, 1991). Rural–urban emigration had begun in earnest.

Once again, the sugar industry, which had been owned by the state in the 1970s, began to create migratory dynamics to offset the acute shortage of labor due to rural–urban emigration. Dominican Republic and Haiti signed contracts to ensure a regular supply of farm laborers for the sugar cane harvest.

But Haitian migration to Dominican Republic is far more complex and has very different historical particularities. To begin with, the two countries share the island and the border, which, in addition to being long, unsupervised and disputed, has always been the scene of numerous crossings from Haiti to Dominican Republic. Smuggling and undocumented crossings form part of the everyday life of the border, which has specific limits on the basis of a 1929 treaty. Nevertheless, the Haitian population has been there for centuries.

Haitians provided the extremely cheap labor on which the economic activity of the border zone and the sugar mills relied. The sugar mills (owned by U.S. capital) were extremely interested in having a large number of Haitian farm laborers and pressured Dominican governments to grant them permits.

However, during the dictatorship of Leónidas Trujillo, there was an abrupt change in border policy and Haitian immigration. The dictator was concerned that the opposition would use the border as an area of refuge and at the same time, he was obsessed by the negative racial influence the Haitians might have. In 1932, an Immigration Act was passed and the mass deportation of Haitians proposed. Many residents were deported but the farm laborers were defended and protected by U.S. As a complementary measure, another law, called the "Dominicanization of the Sugar Industry" was passed, stipulating that 70 percent of the labor force in the sugar mills should be Dominican. Farm laborers were obliged to wear a badge stating which sugar mill they worked in. At the same time, a dual process took place on the border. On the one hand, Dominican settlement was encouraged while on the other, pressure was exerted on Haitian workers and residents, who were obliged to carry identity documents, and residence and work permits.

The exasperation of the dictator, who was able to control the country but not the border, led him to choose the route of extermination. Haitians were massacred at knife point and by machete. There are no exact figures but between 12 000 and 25 000 men, women and children are estimated to have been killed. According to the chronicler of the massacre, Freddy Prestol (1991), the colonization plan that justified the massacre was a disaster. "In the hills, the coffee bushes have been abandoned. The berries fall to the ground, because there are no Haitian workers to pick them. The large farms are full of fruit. There is no labor. The government is going to divide all that wealth among the Dominicans, which is why he has chosen low–life paupers". The massacre cost the dictatorial government 750 000 US dollars in compensation.

Lastly, Trujillo's industrialization project developed the sugar industry as much as possible as his personal business and forced the Dominican population into the countryside. There was nothing else he could do. But when the dictatorship collapsed and opportunities were created in the urban zones, the Dominicans abandoned farm work, particularly on the plantations, which they regarded as blacks' work.

Another factor that influenced urban rural emigration was the elimination of the sharecropping system, which helped keep the rural population in the countryside and prompted the change to extensive livestock raising, which tends to expel the local population. In his case study, Georges (1990) shows how cattle ranchers began to choose Haitian labor, who received a third of what Dominicans were paid.

Haitian migration to the Dominican Republic is basically rural and part of the general framework of economic crisis, deforestation and poverty that characterizes Haiti. Seventy–five per of the energy used in Haiti is of plant origin (firewood and charcoal) and as deforestation advances, erosion, poverty and emigration are exacerbated. The Haitian population is largely rural and there is a large sector of smallholdings, due to its system of equal inheritance, which does nothing to help modernize agriculture or attract investments (Catanese, 1999).

The contrast between Haiti and Dominican Republic is visible to the naked eye: the border marks the transition between the deforested area and tropical vegetation. Other indicators for 2006 are equally dramatic: 39.5 percent of the Haitian population is regarded as urban, whereas in Dominican Republic, the index of urbanization is 67.5 percent; population density in Haiti is 314 inhabitants per square meter as opposed to 199 in Dominican Republic. The gross per capita annual income in Haiti is 480 US dollars, whereas in Dominican Republic it is 2 850 US dollars (World Bank, 2009).

The United States is the main destination for Haitian emigration. Half of all emigrants, estimated at 419 315 in 2000, live there. The Dominican Republic is the second destination and it is estimated that there are over 200 000 migrant workers, a quarter of the total, estimated at 834 364 emigrants (World Bank, 2009; U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

Emigration to Dominican Republic is mainly rural and black, not mulatto, as Catanese points out (1999). The distinction is important, because black Haitians historically loathed working on the plantations yet were forced to because they were migrants. At the same time, their blackness accentuates the conflict and racial discrimination in Dominican Republic.

The concatenation of migratory flows between the United States, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti is a classic example of what we regard as a relay migration pattern. This dynamic had already been detected by several authors. Sherri Grasmuck (1982) and Samuel Martínez (1995) dealt with the issue from the perspective of dependency theory and migratory processes that occur in the periphery, which some people have called south–south migration. However, they failed to see the process in a comprehensive fashion while the theoretical framework prevented them from fully developing the issue. First of all, they only refer to the migration between Haiti, Dominican Republic and the United States, ignoring the Puerto Rico step, which is crucial in our argument.

At the same time, Grasmuck is concerned about distinguishing between migration that occurs between peripheral countries and that which occurs in the center. For this author, there are different degrees of exploitation or "heat" which each person is able to endure in the working hell: Haitians prefer the worst jobs in Dominican Republic while Dominicans prefer the worst jobs in the United States. As she herself says, in another article (1981), it involves a stepped system: "stair–step migration". However, she fails to see the connection between the various migratory processes, since she ends by stating precisely the opposite: "The argument here is not that Haitian migrants take the place of Dominican emigrants" (Grasmuck, 1982:374). Indeed, ethnography shows that Dominican migrants who went to the United States were not cane workers, that they were mainly of urban origin and they were subsequently joined on a massive scale by women (Ariza, 2000). However, this is a very narrow, mechanical way of analyzing labor markets, which generally operate as communicating vessels, in which gaps are progressively filled by different flows.

The stair–step system begins with the shortage of labor for cane cutting in the United States. African–Americans no longer wish to cut cane in Florida, preferring to emigrate to cities in the north, in addition to the fact that this type of work is symbolically linked to slavery. At the same time, Puerto Ricans who are no longer willing to cut cane on the island are recruited for cane cutting in Florida and Hawaii (Natal, 2001).

At the same time, Dominicans travel to Puerto Rico, where salaries are better, regardless of the fact that they have to carry out work that is regarded as suitable for Haitians and blacks in their country. Piore (1979) had already pointed out that salaries in the migratory context lose the connotation of prestige they would have in the place of origin. Dominicans are cane cutters in Puerto Rico but not in Dominican Republic.3

Relay migration does not involve automatic or mechanical processes. It is caused by general imbalances in the labor market, due to mass emigration processes, which are gradually solved and generally resort to labor reservoirs in neighboring countries, with people prepared to perform this sort of work. The chain can be extended until the last link is reached, which in this case is Haiti.

Be that as it may, circular migration in the Caribbean linked to cane growing is historically extremely complex and not always unidirectional and goes far beyond relay migration. There were periods in history when Puerto Ricans would be hired to cut cane in Dominican Republic and Haitians would be shipped out to cut cane in Cuba, together with Jamaicans (Álvarez, 1998; Duany, 2002; Martínez, 1995). However, during the second half of the 20th century, part of the flow of sugar harvest and coffee workers was stabilized, concatenated and channeled through a relay system among various countries.

This migratory pattern includes internal migration, from the countryside to the city, which creates gaps in agricultural labor markets, with intra–regional migration between neighboring countries, which usually begins with recruitment and is consolidated by the creation of exclusive labor niches for migrants. The relationship between developed and under–developed countries and regions is also involved, with dependency being established between the demand and supply of labor. Once the flow has been established, social networks developed and a migrant community established abroad, the migratory process becomes self–sustaining (Massey et al., 1987).

There are two perspectives within the scale in relay migratory patterns: that of migrants looking up to the next step, which offers a better salary, if not a better job and that of employers and the receiving society, who look down, in search of the "other" who is able to perform the work the local population does not wish to undertake, namely workers that are prepared to accept their conditions. There is an upward scale regarding salary perspectives and a downward scale regarding the perception one has of the other.

Puerto Rican migrants are technically regarded as internal migrants in the United States and have the advantage of being citizens, unlike many other Latin Americans. The racial perception they have of themselves is that they are mostly white (Loveman and Muñiz, 2007), or at least olive–skinned (Duany, 2002). However, they are stigmatized by Anglos as blacks, as well as being considered lazy, ignorant, criminal, poor, sexually obsessive, physically limited and incapable of assimilating into the culture (Duany, 2004).

For their part, in Puerto Rico, Dominicans are grouped within the categories towards which least tolerance is expressed: gays, ex–convicts and undocumented persons. According to Duany, there are several sources of hostility: many Dominicans are undocumented, there are a majority of women, they are black or mulattoes, in addition to being poor and of rural origin. As if that were not enough, they are regarded as foreign, dangerous, dirty, ignorant and violent (Ib.). This is the same stereotype used by Dominicans to describe their neighbors: "Haitians are only good for stealing" (Prestol, 1991).

As Grasmuck points out (1982), cane–cutting work in Dominican Republic is not only regarded as poorly paid, but as a job for Haitians, blacks and slaves. Although Dominicans have strong African phenotypical influences, they classify themselves racially as "Indians" of different types and with various skin tones. But in actual fact they are Indians who acknowledge that they have "un negro detrás de la oreja" (a touch of the tar–brush) as in the popular saying. Moreover, in Dominican Republic, the Haitian issue has a strong racial component at the governmental and societal level (Gardiner, 1979; Martínez, 1995).

Several conditions are required for the relay migration pattern to develop. First of all, intense migratory processes must take place, which in turn creates imbalances in certain areas of the labor market. Subsequently, new economic activities are developed that require labor that cannot be covered by the local supply. At that point, official, induced or tolerated recruitment processes begin to cover labor market needs. Once labor on the lower step has been imported, this type of activity is racially, socially and ethnically stigmatized, becoming an exclusive niche for migrant workers. According to Barth (1976:10), ethnic categories imply "social processes of exclusion and incorporation". In this respect, ethnic capital, referred to in the first section, operates in a negative sense, becoming a stigma.

Over time, economic activities are changed and transformed but migratory flows persist. In Puerto Rico, the sugar industry has now ceased, meaning that Dominicans are no longer required for this type of labor. But coffee harvesting, construction work, domestic work and services continue. Likewise Puerto Ricans no longer work in agriculture in the United States and for many years, were forced to accept the worst jobs in the urban setting. Nowadays, Mexicans have arrived to cover the activities they and other immigrants performed in the 1970s.

Imbalances in labor markets due to migratory flows have created the conditions for relay migration to take place in other Latin American contexts. In Mexico, for example, a relay migration circuit has been established between Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. This is the case of the village of Arandas, studied in 1931 by Paul Taylor, who highlighted the importance for the local economy of agave production and migration. This activity was normally carried out by the local population. Once international emigration began to occur on a massive scale, this created imbalances in the labor market, making it virtually impossible to find workers who would agree to work on the cultivation and harvesting of agave. In the late 20th century, a tequila industrialist began to recruit indigenous persons from Chiapas who were prepared to do this sort of work. Over time, a migratory circuit was established between the municipalities of Ocosingo, Palenque and Tila in the state of Chiapas and the city of Arandas. Subsequently migrants from the municipality of Larráinzar and the cities of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez were incorporated. Nowadays, migrants from Chiapas are the only ones who perform this type of work. The fair–skinned residents of Los Altos look down on the Indians who arrived from elsewhere. (Information compiled in Arandas, Jalisco during field work in November 2008).

At the same time, in Chiapas, emigration from these municipalities vacated a series of jobs in the Chiapas countryside involving the harvesting of coffee, mango and other fruits; these jobs are filled by Guatemalan immigrants.

Several of these examples can be found throughout Latin America. In El Salvador, the high levels of international emigration, estimated at 16 percent of the total population (World Bank, 2009), have begun to affect the local labor market, meaning that it now temporarily receives Honduran and Nicaraguan immigrants for coffee harvesting.

In Argentinean Patagonia, the old European immigrants who used to engage in agriculture have left their farms and plots of land to go to the cities. They have been replaced by Bolivian immigrant peasants who supply Greater Buenos Aires with fresh vegetables (Sassone et al. 2004).



Mass Latin American emigration is a relatively new phenomenon that has yet to reach its level of maturity. In the future, processes are expected to intensify, new countries will be incorporated and destinations will diversify. With few exceptions, such as Chile and Costa Rica, Latin America fluctuates between booms and prolonged periods of economic crisis. Poverty and lack of opportunities is a common problem throughout the region and directly and indirectly influences migratory flows. In certain cases such as Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, it is mainly the popular classes, such as workers and peasants, who have been incorporated into the migratory dynamics. Conversely, in South America, it is mainly the middle and lower middle sectors that have chosen to emigrate. At the same time, Latin American emigration includes both genders and in some cases, such as Peru, Brazil and Dominican Republic, it has a large female component.

Latin American emigration to the United States continues to be the most important in numerical terms and the most dynamic, but due to the restrictive measures of American migratory policy, destinations have been diversified while the growth rate of irregular migration has begun to decline. However, transoceanic migration may increase due to the boom in the transgenerational migratory pattern and the opportunities provided by European countries where there is greater linguistic and cultural affinity as well as historical links.

At the same time, the opening up of borders and free movement through South America (Unasur), Central America (CA4) and the Caribbean (Caricom) will result in a greater intra–regional migratory flow, which could increase as economic growth is sustained and processes adopting the relay migration pattern are established. Recent measures to regularize irregular migrants in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico form part of a new migratory policy in Latin America that regards migration as a development factor rather than a problem to be eliminated.

Within this context of the generalization and spread of Latin American migratory flows, relay migration and transgenerational migration form part of new migratory circuits and new patterns that must be detected, defined and analyzed. In the future, it will be necessary to evaluate the scope and dimension of the regional and world population with dual or triple nationality. It will also be crucial to evaluate and prevent the impact that mass migratory flows could have on local markets and the emergence of relay migration.

Both migratory patterns complement the general panorama of Latin American migration. Relay migration takes place in regional contexts whereas transgenerational migration is global. The dual regional and global dynamic places Latin America at the vertex of world migratory systems. On the other hand, relay migration reveals regional asymmetries whereas transgenerational migration goes beyond social classes and does not necessarily occur in asymmetrical situations between countries. Transgenerational migration also originates in central countries, because migrants find better opportunities in other contexts.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that there should be a future research agenda on these two migratory patterns which are not exclusive to Latin America and require more research, case studies and comparative analyses. Likewise, the reflection on ethnic capital and transgenerational migration is at an initial stage and requires quantitative information, more analysis and further academic debate.



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1 Calculations for the Caribbean are taken from Duany, 2008; for Mexico, Central America and South America from the Pew Hispanic Center, 2008 and for the world population, from the United Nations, 2008.

2 Overall fertility rates in Spain and Italy are among the lowest in the world, 1.29 in both cases for 2000 (United Nations, 2007)

3 Dominicans that work in the sugar harvest in their own country are not cane cutters; instead, they work as stewards, foremen, machine operators and administrators (Grasmuck, 1982).


Information about author

JORGE DURAND es antropólogo y profesor–investigador de la Universidad de Guadalajara e investigador asociado del Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas. Desde 1987 es director adjunto, con Douglas S. Massey, del Proyecto de Migración Mexicana; y desde 1996 dirige el Proyecto sobre Migración Latinoamericana, auspiciado por las universidades de Princeton y Guadalajara. Es miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (nivel III), de la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias y de la U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Durante los últimos 20 años ha estudiado el fenómeno migratorio entre México y Estados Unidos. Sus publicaciones como autor y coautor incluyen Return to Aztlan (1987), Más allá de la línea (1994), Miracles on the Border (1995), Migrations mexicaines aux Etats–Unis (1995), La experiencia migrante (2000), Beyond Smoke and Mirrors (2002), y Clandestinos. Migración México Estados Unidos en los albores del siglo XXI (2003).

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