In This Review

The Trump Paradox: Migration, Trade, and Racial Politics in US-Mexico Integration
The Trump Paradox: Migration, Trade, and Racial Politics in US-Mexico Integration
Edited by Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda and Edward Telles
University of California Press, 2021, 374 pp.

This timely collaboration among Mexican and U.S. scholars is consistently critical of what they term “the Trump paradox”: the fact that anti-Mexican vitriol persuaded many Americans to vote for Donald Trump in 2016 even though those voters had relatively little exposure to immigration or the consequences of trade with Mexico. By 2016, flows of migrants from Mexico had already markedly diminished, a result of sharply declining fertility rates in Mexico, the 2008–9 recession in the United States, and tougher border enforcement and deportation policies. The authors assail Trump’s divisive racial politics and argue instead for public policies that strengthen societies on both sides of the border, focusing especially on a region referred to as Lasanti (Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana). They call for expanded allotments of temporary work-based visas, transnational portable health-care insurance, and programs to increase college graduation rates among Latinos in California. Other chapters debunk popular myths, such as the idea that the North American Free Trade Agreement was to blame for large-scale unemployment in both Mexican agriculture and U.S. manufacturing. Looking forward, the contributors argue persuasively that strong national industrial and infrastructure policies, rather than trade accords, will speed future regional prosperity.