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Abstract

Previous studies explored how urban or rural place of origin influences the source of social capital. There remains a need to consider how the place of origin affects the type of ties—family, friends, or paisanos (countrymen)—with those who provide support to migrants. We use data from the Mexican Migration Project (MMP128) and perform multinomial logistic regression models to predict who (among family, friends, or paisanos) provides lodging to first-time undocumented male migrants from Mexico, taking into account the size of their place of origin. We find that paisanos are important in providing lodging to those from rural areas, and family members are more likely to assist those from urban settings. Paisanos are more likely to help at the beginning of the migratory flow of the community (rural or urban), and family members to do so once the flow has matured. Also, paisanos are more likely to help those in rural areas during more difficult times, such as after the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement. We suggest that paisanos fulfill a role similar to that in Granovetter's (1973) concept of the strength of weak ties in which they act as substitutes for other ties (such as to friends and family) to provide social capital, making the first-time undocumented migration possible.