Clandestine Crossings: Migrants and Coyotes on the Texas-Mexico Border (Paperback)David Spener (author)
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Clandestine Crossings delivers an in-depth description and analysis of the experiences of working-class Mexican migrants at the beginning of the twenty-first century as they enter the United States surreptitiously with the help of paid guides known as coyotes. Drawing on ethnographic observations of crossing conditions in the borderlands of South Texas, as well as interviews with migrants, coyotes, and border officials, Spener details how migrants and coyotes work together to evade apprehension by U.S. law enforcement authorities as they cross the border. In so doing, he seeks to dispel many of the myths that misinform public debate about undocumented immigration to the United States.
The hiring of a coyote, Spener argues, is one of the principal strategies that Mexican migrants have developed in response to intensified U.S. border enforcement. Although this strategy is typically portrayed in the press as a sinister organized-crime phenomenon, Spener argues that it is better understood as the resistance of working-class Mexicans to an economic model and set of immigration policies in North America that increasingly resemble an apartheid system. In the absence of adequate employment opportunities in Mexico and legal mechanisms for them to work in the United States, migrants and coyotes draw on their social connections and cultural knowledge to stage successful border crossings in spite of the ever greater dangers placed in their path by government authorities.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 482 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
"In this path-breaking book, David Spener investigates coyotaje-the strategies and practices employed by those ('coyotes') whom migrants hire to help them enter the United States clandestinely-as no other author has, in order to shed valuable light on the experiences of Mexican men and women compelled to cross illegally given the impossibility of obtaining US government authorization."-Joseph Nevins, Journal of Latin American Studies (2011)
"When it comes to the Mexico-U.S. border and the people who cross it, no one knows the facts on the ground better than David Spener. I learned a tremendous amount from Clandestine Crossings-and I've been studying Mexican immigration for thirty years! In its combination of historical context, ethnographic detail, and hard fact the book is unmatched. It should be required reading for legislators in Washington and the citizens who elect them. Clandestine Crossings effectively destroys all the myths and misinformation surrounding international migration in North America."-Douglas S. Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, author of Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexico-U.S. Migration in an Age of Economic Integration
"Clandestine Crossings is both instructive and provocative in the best sense of the word. David Spener's highly unique and important research and analysis will prompt a great deal of interest and deep engagement from readers in migration studies, border studies, and Chicano/a studies, as well as in anthropology, geography, political science, and sociology. There may be no one else in a position to combine the skills and knowledge that Spener has brought to this project with his willingness and ability to challenge hegemonic notions of coyotes and coyotaje-and, by extension, the U.S. boundary-enforcement apparatus. This book deserves as wide an audience as possible: what it has to offer is not only fascinating and unique but also of great importance."-Joseph Nevins, Vassar College, author of Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid
"Clandestine Crossings is a magnificent contribution to the understanding of surreptitious migrant border crossings at the southwestern border. David Spener puts faces and voices to social statistics and shows how migration and coyotes have developed together as Mexican workers struggle to find work in el norte in the context of increasingly restrictive border policies. Spener's years of field research and keen sociological skills make him uniquely qualified to analyze the social-cultural phenomenon of coyotaje at the U.S.-Mexico border."-Nestor P. Rodriguez, The University of Texas at Austin
"Readers all over the world will be interested in how David Spener analyzes human smugglers. His clearly written, well-organized, and vivid argument for understanding coyotaje as a process made of relations will have a significant impact on migration studies. The data are rich and interesting: Spener was able to learn an impressive amount about coyotes, considering the hidden nature of their work."-Josiah McC. Heyman, University of Texas at El Paso, author of Life and Labor on the Border: Working People of Northeastern Sonora, Mexico, 1886-1986