Beyond the Fence: A Journey to the Roots of the Migration Crisis

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9780935028331: Beyond the Fence: A Journey to the Roots of the Migration Crisis

Beyond the Fence explores aspects of migration largely unnoticed by the public and mainstream media. These are the root causes and complex realities, the stories and surprising possibilities that get lost in a debate over fences. They are the tales of people's desperation and irretrievable loss, but also of their growing visions for hope. They are the stories of farmers, politicians and activists on both sides of the border.

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From the Publisher:

The immigration debate in the U.S. is highly controversial, emotional, and often confusing. Each year, as the U.S. government spends billions of dollars trying to keep people out, approximately 500,000 new undocumented migrants cross the border from Mexico to the U.S., taking low-wage jobs in cleaning, construction, manufacturing, food preparation, and most notably agriculture, where they comprise over half the U.S. migrant and seasonal farm labor force. Each year, several hundreds of these migrants perish from heat and dehydration in the desert, and in most cases their deaths go unreported, their bodies uncounted, their families simply never hearing from them again.

Despite the well-known risk of the journey, hundreds of thousands more--working-age men and women, grandparents, even young children--continue to leave their homes and embark on the migrant trail. Behind them, in rural Mexico, remittance money trickles into half-deserted villages where only the very old and young remain, and the soil of abandoned corn fields erodes steadily away down the mountainsides. Ahead of them, at the border, thousands will be apprehended and deported by la migra, only to turn around and make the journey again, and yet again, until they either succeed or die in the attempt. The numbers of these migrants have skyrocketed since the 1980's, causing some analysts to describe it as "the largest mass migration in U.S. history."

And though the roots of this phenomenon are tangled and its impacts varied, discussion of Mexico-U.S. migration here at home has tended to focus narrowly on a few specific issues of national security, border enforcement, social services, guestworker programs and earned legalization. Meanwhile, little attention has been given to the underlying causes driving them to leave their homes in the first place, and even less attention to the possible alternatives that might allow many to remain and prosper in their own communities.

Includes background on NAFTA, US Farm Bill, Green Revolution, Biofuels and more, plus a Guide to Action.

From the Back Cover:

"Dori Stone travels with an open mind and open heart to investigate the deeper meaning of Mexican migration to the United States, and in her traveling asks dozens of good questions, and often comes up with excellent answers that will be of interest to a wide readership. Many will be inspired to want to take a similar trip, whether by actually repeating her steps, or intellectually, by further investigating the amazing array of urgent issues she explores. The combination of first-hand observation with serious research works beautifully. She not only travels far into Mexico for the issues, but she travels profoundly and always with a good spirit. The book is ideally suited for students, but I can think of few people who would not benefit from reading it."

--Angus Wright, author of The Death of Ramon Gonzalez: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma (University of Texas Press, 2005)

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