Migrant Pathways: Urbanization and Transnational Migration in Twentieth Century Mexico
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Scholars of Mexican migration, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, have defined the Mexican migration by the transnational migration experience. While certainly an important aspect of Mexican migration, this narrow focus has overlooked an arguably more significant phenomenon for migratory communities in Mexico: rural to urban migration. Working primarily with the personal testimonies of people who have migrated to the United States has revealed that urbanization has played a major role in the lives of many transnational migrants, many of whom only resorted to international migration when their ability to migrate and work in Mexican cities was compromised. By looking at changes in Mexican migration over a century, it becomes clear that transnational migration only occurs en masse as a result disruption. For rural Mexicans, this disruption came in the form of private labor recruitment, contracted labor programs, or displacement resulting from violence or political and economic restructuring.