I have been involved with the Mexican Migration Field Research Program since 2007. Over the years, I have been a participant, field research coordinator and co-instructor.
In 2007-2008, MMFRP worked in San Miguel Tlacotepec, a community in Oaxaca, and its satellite community of Tlacotepenses in Vista, California, north of San Diego. I worked on a project studying the impact of remittances sent by Mexican migrants on the education of their children. We found that while receiving remittances shows no correlation with overall levels of education, they do help those who begin studying high school in Mexico to complete this level of their studies. The results of this project were published in the book Migration from the Mexican Mixteca.
In 2008-2009, MMFRP traveled to Tunkás, Yucatan as well as to Orange County and Los Angeles to interview Tunkaseños there. That year, I worked on two research projects. The first dealt with the participation of migrants from the state of Yucatan in community activities in California. We found that rates of participation in activities such as sports, traditional dances, and religious organizations remain the same for migrants compared to those who remain in Tunkás, though the meaning of involvement in such activities changes with migration.
The second project dealt with the impact of the economic crisis on the lives of Mexican migrants. Of the group we sampled, we found that nearly every person was affected in some way and people used many strategies to make do with less. Despite this, very few people were giving up on life in the United States in order to return home, largely because they recognized the dire economic straits that existed in their hometown.
The results of both of these projects were published in the book Mexican Migration and the U.S. Economic Crisis: A Transnational Perspective.
In 2010-2011, I became the field research coordinator for MMFRP. This position involved teaching students research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. I oversaw the research process for 6 projects and edited the book that will be produced from this work. It will be called The Wall Between Us: An Indigenous Community in Mexico and the United States and will be released in 2012.