Yearning for a New Life
Why do people leave their country of birth? In this chapter, we see that people migrate because they seek out a better life abroad and because they have the networks and resources to leave. We can’t understand international migration patterns simply by looking at poverty; we also have to consider histories of colonization; economic, political, and historical ties; and foreign policy. This chapter explores the lives of deportees before they left their countries of origin to shed light on why they left. We learn that the four countries under study here—Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Guatemala—all have very close ties with the United States, and each underwent economic and social shifts due to neoliberal policies in the late 20th century. These ties and neoliberal changes work as both push and pull factors that lead migrants to leave their countries. The details of each country are distinct but they all have in common that neoliberal reforms accelerated the flows of international migrants.
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