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Delfino Juarez and the house he built ()

Tales of Mexican Migrants' Dreams, Realities

Jun 14, 2007 (All Things Considered)

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In his new book, Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream, author and journalist Sam Quinones explores the complexities and contradictions of the immigration debate through true stories of Mexican migration.

Quinones is a Los Angeles Times reporter who has covered immigration on both sides of the Mexican border for more than a decade.

He tells Michele Norris that he believes immigration has been a "disaster" for Mexico because it drains the country of a valuable resource: not the most educated people, but rather, the most energetic and dynamic risk takers.

Quinones also describes how Mexico migration has changed the country's physical landscape, which is now filling up with grand houses built with money sent back from the United States.

And the story of Delfino Juarez illustrates another issue Quinones highlights in his book: how immigration creates more immigration. After two years working in California, Juarez was able to build a two-story house in his village of Xocotla in Veracruz. Quinones says that lavish house became a "recruiting poster" for migration: More than 100 men have left his village to try to seek their fortunes in the United States.

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