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The Ties That Bind Us: Mexican Migrants in San Diego County

Richard Kiy and Christopher Woodruff, editors
The Ties That Bind Us: Mexican Migrants in San Diego County
ISBN: 978-1-87836-753-2
2005/213 pages
U.S.-Mexico Contemporary Perspectives Series
Distributed for the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego
30 full-color maps

"A most welcome addition to the literature on local-level impacts of immigration from Mexico. The contributors present fresh data on the origins, socio-demographic characteristics, and social service-seeking behavior of Mexican immigrants.... They also provide important documentation of San Diego County's ongoing role as a receiving area for Mexican migrants."—Wayne Cornelius, University of California, San Diego


The Ties That Bind Us addresses the difficult living and working conditions of Mexican migrant workers in San Diego County, California, considering policy implications for both sides of the US-Mexico border. The authors highlight the circumstances of individuals who, seeking to escape poverty, come to San Diego hoping to exchange hard work for a chance to get ahead—and who often meet rampant discrimination, substandard and severely overcrowded housing, a paucity of appropriate health information and services, and untenable labor condition.

In exploring the migrants' situation and some of the forces that drive them into the migration stream, the authors also suggest steps for alleviating their compromised life circumstances. They argue, as well, for legalization of the migrant population so that migrants can access the full range of services available in the transborder region.


Richard Kiy, president and CEO of the International Community foundation, is coauthor of Environmental Management Along North America's Borders. Christopher Woodruff is associate professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, and director of UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.


  • Origins and Characteristics of Mexican Immigrants in San Diego: Evidence from the Matrículas Consulares—David Runsten.
  • Farmworker Health in Vista, California—Bonnie Bade.
  • Salir Adelante-Getting Ahead: Recent Mexican Immigrants in San Diego County—Konane Martínez, David Runsten, and Alejandrina Ricárdez.
  • Mexican Migration Flows in Tijuana San Diego in a Context of Economic Uncertainty—Rafael Alarcón.
  • Cross-Border Interactions: Population and Labor Market in Tijuana—María Eugenia Anguiano Téllez.
  • Living and Working as Cross-Border Commuters in the Tijuana-San Diego Region—Luis Escala Rabadán and Germán Vega Briones.
  • Building a Case for Cross-Border Service Provision for Transnational Mexican Migrants in San Diego—Richard Kiy and Naoko Kada.