In light of immigration remaining a hot topic, I finally decided to purchase this book that talks about what it says on the tin: the Chinese in Mexico. A few years ago I read a couple of articles (on the Huffington Post and NPR I think) about the presence of Chinese people in Mexico and how that group came to be. I've heard of Chinese people coming to the US but what drew them to Mexico?
Turns out the immigration laws and the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US led to "collateral damage" of sorts, where Chinese people (mostly men) settled in Mexico instead. The book looks at how and why these Chinese immigrants came to Mexico, some intentionally, others because they could not get into the US. How they built businesses, how they managed movement between Mexico, the US and China, how they dealt with Sinophobia, how they integrated with the locals, etc.
Overall it was fascinating. A mostly unintended consequence (perhaps) of the US immigration laws led to the creation of this community that was interesting to learn about. It was also sad to see that the same experiences of immigrants happen to the Chinese there: some were resented for their business success, their children were considered not Mexican, eventually a group of them would be driven out of one part of Mexico. It's a story that we have seen happening before and it happens again.
I also wish the author had brought up the book to more "modern" times. As the cover says, it's from about 1882-1940. The book was published in 2011 so I was disappointed not to see more about present day or at least a little closer to it. He does have some thoughts on how to integrate discussing a group like these Chinese-Mexicans into college courses and so I hope there will be more work/articles about them.
That said, the book is dry. The topic kept me interested because I really wanted to learn more after reading those articles but this book would very much be a text for a college program. I wish I could have picked it up at the library or found it as a bargain buy but even the used versions that I could find were not all that much cheaper. But I wanted to know and so I'm glad I had a chance to read it.