Currently I am working with Daniel Tepler, a Bates undergraduate on a project titled “U.S.-Mexico Migration and Mexico’s Local Electoral Politics: Why do Return Migrants Run for Office and Win?,” which examines why Mexican immigrants run for mayor in their origin communities after returning from living in the United States, as well as under what conditions they win or lose. The first phase of this project involves carrying out semi-structured, in-depth interviews with numerous return-migrants who ran for local office between 2006 and 2018. We also interview other officials who worked with these return-migrants or in their municipality at the time that they ran for office.
I am specifically interested in shedding light on three important, yet underexplored, dynamics. These are: How experiences abroad interact with pre- and post-migration experiences within Mexico to influence decisions to run for office as well as electoral success; 2) How elections involving return-migrants are distinct from those involving nonmigrants; and, 3) Differences in the experiences of return migrants who compete in municipalities governed by national political parties and elections versus customary indigenous laws (Sistemas Normativas Indígenas).