Reviews

Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

In this short, accessible read, Castaneda writes for a wide audience about Mexican immigration to the US from a Mexican perspective. He also draws on his stint as Mexico's foreign minister to provide some behind-the-scenes, memoir-like insights into binational immigration and security negotiations in the 9/11 era. The book is filled with provocative details that add richness to ongoing debates about US immigration policy (itself in constant flux over a century), for example: in 2005 11 percent of Mexico's population resided in the US compared with 3.4 percent in 1920; the gender gap among migrants is diminishing; migrants are often maligned for leaving, though many are the "best and brightest"; "circular" migration is ending--turning migrants into permanent settlers; and Mexico's aging demography could reduce immigration to the US after 2015. Scholars will challenge some of his solutions and assertions about Mexico's small-scale farmers and minimum wage figures in this casually footnoted text, but it is a must-have acquisition for all kinds of libraries that is on a par with the famous (or infamous) Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, by Samuel Huntington (2005). Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through research faculty. K. Staudt University of Texas at El Paso


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

What is lacking in the furious debate about Mexican immigration legal and illegal is the Mexican perspective, according to Castañeda, scholar and former Mexican foreign minister. Drawing on interviews and his own experience, Castañeda offers a probing look at why so many Mexicans make the decision to come to the U.S. in portraits that defy American stereotypes of who is a Mexican immigrant. About 11 percent of the Mexican population lives in the U.S., including those who are part of a troubling brain drain of talent and resources. Castañeda explores the social and economic forces behind the growth in Mexican immigration and the myriad ways it affects the U.S. culturally and economically. Mexicana Airline executives change flight schedules to accommodate migrants, flying in the wee hours so passengers have access to convenient transportation once they reach their destinations. Many Mexican companies have become huge multinational operators. Castañeda offers some suggestions on how the U.S. and Mexico can better accommodate the growing movement of Mexican citizens across the border.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2007 Booklist