In This Review

Mexico and its Diaspora in the United States: Policies of Emigration since 1848
Mexico and its Diaspora in the United States: Policies of Emigration since 1848
By Alexandra Delano
Cambridge University Press, 2011, 304 pp
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One sign that national barriers continue to fall at an accelerating pace is the growing willingness of governments to reach out to diaspora communities. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently launched the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, encouraging immigrants living in the United States to connect with their homelands. Meanwhile, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dropped its traditional passivity and begun engaging Mexican American communities throughout the United States. Delano well describes how the Mexican government has shifted from a powerless “non-intervention” posture to a more assertive “sí, se puede” (“yes, we can”) strategy, whereby diplomats regularly meet with Mexican American leaders and, what is more controversial, encourage Mexican Americans to access social services funded by U.S. taxpayers. Acting more cautiously, Mexico has not encouraged its diaspora to lobby on behalf of the country’s foreign policy goals, fearing a nationalist backlash within the United States. Delano’s sophisticated analysis of Mexico’s pro-diaspora programs makes for important reading, as it reveals not only major shifts in U.S.-Mexican relations but also the worldwide crumbling of traditional notions of national sovereignty.