Using his background in medicine and anthropology, Seth M. Holmes creates a vivid description of the struggles of the Triqui, an indigenous group from Oaxaca, Mexico, living and working in the United States. Throughout the reading, Holmes follows a group of Triqui migrants, from Mexico to the farms in Washington and then to California. Holmes touches on many themes throughout the book; most prominent is how hierarchical structures affect the health and healthcare of many migrants. He uses fieldwork and first-hand experiences to give life to issues some might not see. He describes the aching pain from bending over in the hot sun for hours picking fruit and the exhaustion that comes from days of travel to reach the border.
Many migrants are unable to make enough by farming in their home state, so they cross the border to work on berry farms. In the United States, they face anti-immigrant sentiments, damage to the body from hard labor, and lack of healthcare. Many of the Triqui speak their own indigenous language and little Spanish or English, making it difficult to find translators. On top of this, many of the migrants move around every few months, making it difficult for records on their health and injuries to be kept. The United States relies on migrants for cheap labor, but Holmes argues the country doesn’t do enough in terms of protection for them.
Holmes acknowledges the difficulty in this. For example, he talks about the farm owners and their attempt to keep their business afloat and provide for the migrants that work for them at the same time. This book would be a good read for those interested in migrants in the United States, healthcare, and the impact of trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The book is easy to follow, as it is not full of jargon, and new terms are explained fully.
About the Author
Gianna Cado is the digital resources intern for the International Relations Council. She is currently a sophomore at University of Missouri-Kansas City, majoring in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Anthropology.