Perpetuating Split-household Families. The Case of Mexican Sojourners in Mid-Michigan and their Transnational Fatherhood Practices

Juan José Bustamante, Carlos Alemán



New guest worker programs that promote temporary and documented immigration have been re-implemented by the United States. This is immigration policy that affects Mexican family organization within and across the border. Hence this paper examines fi rst how Mexican male sojourners undertake their reproductive and productive work, by helping to sustain family life even though they are prevented from family reunifi cation. Second, it explores how sojourners rearrange their parental responsibilities that have been disrupted by spatial-temporal family separation through transnational fatherhood.



Nuevos programas de trabajadores huéspedes que promueven la inmigración temporal y documentada han sido reimplementados por Estados Unidos. Ésta es una política de inmigración que afecta la organización familiar mexicana de la familia dentro y fuera de la frontera. Por lo tanto, este trabajo examina, primero, cómo los trabajadores huéspedes se hacen cargo de su trabajo tanto productivo como reproductivo ayudando a la manutención familiar a pesar de tener incertidumbre ante la reunifi cación de la familia. En segundo lugar, explora cómo los trabajadores huéspedes reordenan sus responsabilidades paternas obstaculizadas por una separación espacio-temporal de la familia en un contexto de paternidad transnacional.

Keywords: international migration; labor migration; social policy; transnational fatherhood; family relations

PDF (Inglés)


Ártico, Ceres, Latino Families Broken by Immigration: the Adolescent’s Perceptions, New York, LFB Scholarly Publications, 2003.

Baca Zinn, Maxine, “Mexican-Heritage Families in the United States”,in Félix Padilla, Nicolas Kanellos and Claudio Esteva-Fabregat (eds.), The Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Sociology, vol. 4, Houston, Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana y Arte Público Press, 1994, pp. 161-174.

——— and Bonnie Thornton Dill, “Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism”, in Maxine Baca Zinn, Pierrette Hondagneu- Sotelo and Michael A. Messner (eds.), Gender Through the Prism of Difference, Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 2000, pp. 23-29.

Bean, Frank and Gillian Stevens, America’s Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity, New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2003.

Berg, Bruce, Qualitative Research: Methods for the Social Sciences, New York, Pearson, 2003.

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), “Act of April 29, 1943”, 2003a. Available at statistics/legishist/490.htm accessed on 10/21/2003.

———, “Act of July 12, 1951”, 2003b. Available at graphics/shared/aboutus/statistics/legishist/490.htm accessed on 10/21/2003.

———, “Temporary Alien Labor to Meet Temporary Needs (H-2s)”,2003c. Available at ts/ecrd.htm accessed on 10/21/2003.

Castles, Stephen and Godula Kosack, Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe, London, Oxford University Press, 1973.

Castles, Stephen and Mark Miller, The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, New York, Guilford Press, 1998.

Chávez, Leo, “Immigration Reform and Nativism: The Nationalist Response to the Transnationalist Challenge”, in Juan Perea (ed.), Immigrants Out! The New Nativism and the Anti-Immigrant Impulse in the United States, New York, New York University Press, 1997, pp. 61-77.

Durand, Jorge, Douglas Massey and Emilio Parrado, “The New Era of Mexican Migration to the United States”, Journal of American History, vol. 86, no. 2, 1999, pp. 518-527.

Escobar-Latapí, Agustín, “Low-Skill Emigration from Mexico to the United States, Current Situation, Prospects and Government Policy”, International Migration, vol. 37, no. 1, 1999, pp. 153- 182.

Galarza, Ernesto, Merchants of Labor; The Mexican Bracero Story; an Account of the Managed Migration of Mexican Farm Workers in California 1942-1960, Charlotte, McNally and Loftin, 1965.

Gamboa, Erasmo, Mexican Labor and World War II: Braceros in the Pacifi c Northwest, 1942-1947, Austin, University of Texas Press, 1990.

Gamio, Manuel, Mexican Immigration to the United States, New York, Arno Press and the New York Times, 1969.

Glenn, Evelyn Nakano, “Split Households, Small Producers, and Dual Wage Earners: an Analysis of Chinese American Families Strategies”, in Stephanie Coontz, Maya Parson and Gabrielle Raley (eds.), American Families: A Multicultural Reader, New York, Routledge, 1999, pp. 74-93.

Griswold del Castillo, Richard and Arnoldo De León, North to Aztlan: A History of Mexican Americans in the United States, New York, Twayne Publishers, 1997.

Gutmann, Matthew C., The Meanings of Macho : Being a Man in Mexico City, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1996.

Hernández, Juan, “Migration and Poverty in Mexico”, Migration World, vol. 30, no. 3, 2002, pp. 23-28.

Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette, “The History of Mexican Undocumented Settlement in the United States”, in Mary Romero, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Vilma Ortiz (eds.), Challenging Fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino Lives in the U.S., New York, Routledge, 1997, pp. 115-134.

———, “Women and Children First: New Directions in Anti-Immigrant Politics”, in Stephanie Coontz, Maya Parson and Gabrielle Raley (eds.), American Families: a Multicultural Reader, New York, Routledge, 1999, pp. 288-304.

——— and Ernestine Ávila, “‘I’m Here, but I’m There’: The Meanings of Latina Transnational Motherhood”, in Maxine Baca Zinn, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Michael Messner (eds.), Gender Through the Prism of Difference, Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 2000, pp. 279-294.

Kaufman, Michael, “Men, Feminism, and Men’s Contradictory Experience of Power”, in Harry Brod and Michael Kaufman (eds.), Theorizing Masculinities, Newbury Park, Sage, 1994, pp. 142-161.

McDowell, Linda, “Spatializing Feminism: Geographic Perspectives”, in Nancy Duncan (ed.), Body Space: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality, London, Routledge, 1996, pp. 28-44.

Orozco, Manuel, “Globalization and Migration: the Impact of Family Remittances in Latin America”, Latin America Politics and Society, vol. 44, no. 2, 2002, pp. 41-66.

Pribilsky, Jason, “‘Aprendemos a convivir’: Conjugal Relations, Co-Parenting,and Family Life among Ecuadorian Transnational Migrants in New York City and the Ecuadorian Andes”, Global Networks, vol. 4, no. 3, 2004, pp. 313-334.

Santibáñez, Enrique, Ensayo acerca de la inmigración mexicana en los

Estados Unidos, San Antonio, The Clegg Co, 1930.Siu, Paul, “The Sojourner”, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 58, no. 1, 1952, pp. 34-44.

Stacey, Judith, Brave New Families: Stories of Domestic Upheaval in Late Twentieth-Century America, Oakland, Basic Books, 1990.

Fecha de recepción: 29 de marzo de 2006

Fecha de aceptación: 5 de diciembre de 2006

Todos los contenidos publicados en esta revista se encuentran bajo la licencia Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.
Licencia de Creative Commons