Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 45 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jennifer Burrell

Committee Members

Walter E Little


Foreign workers, Mexican, Mexicans, Transnationalism

Subject Categories

Social and Cultural Anthropology


There were approximately 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2011 according to the Department of Homeland Security. Of those, approximately 59 percent were of Mexican origin. These men and women likely risked their lives--many crossing through the least guarded but most dangerous part of the nearly two thousand mile long border--with the hope, not of starting a new life in America, but of creating a better life in Mexico. Migrants, most typically agricultural workers, once travelled seasonally to work as needed and returned home at seasons end with the earnings that would help sustain their families and communities in Mexico. This movement between nations boasts a long history and it is a history that includes periods of active recruitment of workers by the American government and businesses. But the latter part of the twentieth century saw a marked change in the relationships between migrant workers, government, and the "traditional" American citizen. It is on the intersection of these relationships that this study focuses.