Roads to Citizenship: Mexican Migrants in the United States
The present article addresses Mexican migrants' practices of citizenship and their relations with the nation-states they inhabit by bringing together three elements: law, belonging, and the formal political arena. Citizenship, formed and protected by laws, lived and enacted by individuáis, both forbids and necessitates migrants. How do migrants enact citizenship and impact the nation-state? Rather than accepting migrants as marginal actors facing the nation-state, I argüe that citizenship is-constructed both by nation-states and by migrants' transnational practices. The article reviews the set of laws formed by the Mexican Non-loss of Nationality law and the constitutional reform to Article 36 that opened the possibility for the vote-abroad. Likewise, it examines the 1996 US immigration law, the 1996 Welfare Reform legislation (in the aspects that pertain to immigration), as well as California's 1994 Proposition 187. This work also presents stories of Mexican migrants and some of their transnational practices of belonging, particularly as they engage with the legal framework they encounter. Finally, the article introduces the story of a Mexican migrant who participates in Mexican politics and, in so doing, sets in motion the legal structure developed in 1996, thus revealing the contradictions and limitations entailed in these laws.
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