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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

North of El Norte

Illegalized Mexican Migrants in Canada

North of El Norte challenges a popular and scholarly preoccupation with the southern border of the United States by examining a lesser-known migration pattern, from Mexico to Canada. Paloma Villegas examines the changing landscape of Canadian immigration policy and practice, and the implications for Mexican migrants who lack permanent resident status or citizenship. Her analysis takes into account migrants' experiences in Mexico, crossing borders, encountering restrictive immigration policies, and seeking out opportunities to achieve secure status in Canada. Villegas also provides an assessment of the barriers migrants encounter once in Canada, specifically in the labor market, in their creative pursuits, and in accessing health care.

Drawing on interviews, policy documents, media descriptions, and literature from local social service organizations, North of El Norte concludes that migration is a complex, negotiated process. The comprehensive research in this book sheds light on how individuals and institutions work to delegitimize migrants through the production and circulation of discourse.

232 pages | 6 x 9


There is little research on the experiences of Mexican migrants in Canada. This pioneering depiction of their lives in Toronto documents how migrant journeys are rooted in the political, social, and economic insecurities in Mexico, and vividly illustrates the hardship, humiliation, abuse, and pain that migrants endure while trying to attain legal status.

Tanya Basok, University of Windsor

"Villegas sheds light on the various bureaucratic procedures that are often navigated in ways that policymakers had not foreseen."

Ethnic and Racial Studies

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