Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas

Subject Categories

Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Sociology

Keywords

Homeland trips, Mexican-American, Migration, Second generation, South Bronx, Transnationalism

Abstract

New deportation policies in the United States are making it harder for undocumented immigrants to return home periodically (Dreby 2013a). This has a direct impact on their children. Because parents can't travel, thousands of foreign-born minors have recently been forced to travel alone in hopes of reunification. Their U.S.-born counterparts face a similar challenge: immigrants' lack of mobility places a new expectation on them to visit relatives that were left behind. Unlike their parents, these children can move freely across borders and maintain family ties. This project explores the second generation's homeland trips as experienced by a small group of children--five girls and three boys--of Mexican origin in the South Bronx, New York. It seeks to understand how children make sense of, negotiate, and redefine a parental expectation to visit Mexico alone. When do they make these trips? What do families expect from their visits? And what do they reveal about intergenerational relationships in families of mixed immigration status? Findings suggest that while these visits are valued for their potential to strengthen family ties, they can also expose children to resentment created by family separation. The results show an expansion of the role of children as cultural mediators for their parents that is no longer limited to their settlement communities in the United States, but reaches back to their parents' communities of origin in Mexico.

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