Nearly two decades ago I accompanied a friend to the remote village in Southern Mexico where she’d grown up. At 17, Graciela crossed illegally into the United States. This was her first trip home in ten years.
Over lunch one day, Graciela’s cousin, who happened to be the principal of the local school, told me how nearly every family in the village had at least one parent working in America. While U.S. dollars were flowing into the village, allowing for the purchase of material goods like screen doors and stoves, many of the families buying these items, he said, were tearing apart at the seams.