A México Border correspondent for The Dallas Morning News reflects on the United States' complicated relationship with its neighbor to the south as well as his and his friends' experiences as Mexican immigrants.
This book...is an eloquently gripping testimonio, both a memoir of the author’s struggles to develop a successful binational identity and a critique of our nation’s shifting, fractured immigration policies ... Recounting the dynamics of their fellowship and struggles, Corchado conveys in vivid terms the difficulties faced by people of Mexican and other Latino backgrounds in adapting to a country where binational and bicultural identities have been actively discouraged. More significantly, though, Corchado uses his own history of coming from a family divided by immigration—one side in the U.S., the other remaining in Mexico—to educate the reader about the manner in which immigration policies once based on outmoded racist assumptions about 'other' peoples have produced such mixed results ... Corchado ably profiles the profound changes in American demographics taking place as Mexican-born migrant workers and refugees have found niches in the American economy, and how people in disparate communities have responded differently to those challenges.
His narrative makes clear that U.S. immigration policies have long been rife with contradictions and prone to backfire, and that migrations tend to proceed regardless, following their own highly complex logic. They are events with their own story line, with a beginning, middle and, perhaps, an end. The latest story of Mexican migration spans about four decades, and this roughly coincides with Corchado’s career reporting from both sides of the border. In Homelands Corchado tells two stories at once—that of his life as a bicultural, naturalized American reporter and the larger saga of a migration surge that occurred at the same time. The approach mostly works because Corchado’s personal reflections genuinely inform the broader issues ... Corchado’s progressive leanings and preoccupation with cultural identity mercifully leave light traces on his narrative. Mostly, he reports rather than pontificates ... Corchado’s stabs at poetic language sometimes fall short, and some digressions are confusing. But his book explains broad trends with engaging ease.
Through his journey as a journalist and an immigrant in America, Corchado not only bears witness to this great Mexican-American migration, but also watches the adverse effects in his other homeland, Mexico, as increasingly, more people leave in search of higher wages and the elusive American dream. In this dark political moment, as discussions over critical issues dissolve into bipartisan blame games and Twitter wars, Corchado’s book is a breath of fresh air. Amid yet another immigration crackdown that will undoubtedly carry its own consequences for decades to come, it would behoove policymakers to pick up Corchado’s book and take pause. History not only repeats itself; it compounds. The fate of both nations relies on reckoning with—as Corchado did within his personal life—their mutual interdependence.