Born in Madera, California, Alex M. Saragoza spent much of his youth laboring side-by-side with his Mexican immigrant, farm-working parents. He has published widely on the interface between Mexico and the United States, including work on Mexican immigration. Most recently, he is a coeditor of Mexico Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic, Volume 1 (2010) and the forthcoming book, "Recent Chicano Historiography: Advances, Shortcomings, and Challenges." He is currently a professor emeritus of history in the ethnic studies department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also an affiliate faculty in the American studies program. At the university he has also served as the chair of the Center for Latin American Studies and of the ethnic studies department, and as the faculty coordinator of the Chicano/Latino studies program. In 2012 he was a visiting professor at the University of Paris III (Sorbonne nouvelle), and he has lectured at various universities in the United States and Europe. Most recently, he received the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award from the his university's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
This lecture interrogates the interactions between two dimensions to the current debate over Mexican immigrants in the U.S.: first, the intensification of the bipartisan divide since the 1980s; and second, the relationship between economic conditions in the U.S. and the use Mexican immigrant labor (documented and undocumented).