As a member of this community and a participant in many of its activities, Prieto speaks with special authority about its demographic uniqueness. Far from being a snapshot of the community, The Cubans of Union City conveys an ongoing research agenda extending over more than twenty years, from 1959 to the 1980s. As a long-term observer who was also a resident, Prieto offers a unique and insightful view of the dynamics of this community’s evolution.
While newly arrived immigrants are often the focus of public concern and debate, many Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have resided in the United States for generations. Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and their racial identities change with each generation. While the attainment of education and middle class occupations signals a decline in cultural attachment for some, socioeconomic mobility is not a cultural death-knell, as others are highly ethnically identified. There are a variety of ways that middle class Mexican Americans relate to their ethnic heritage, and racialization despite assimilation among a segment of the second and third generations reveals the continuing role of race even among the U.S.-born.
Mexican Americans Across Generations investigates racial identity and assimilation in three-generation Mexican American families living in California. Through rich interviews with three generations of middle class Mexican American families, Vasquez focuses on the family as a key site for racial and gender identity formation, knowledge transmission, and incorporation processes, exploring how the racial identities of Mexican Americans both change and persist generationally in families. She illustrates how gender, physical appearance, parental teaching, historical era and discrimination influence Mexican Americans’ racial identity and incorporation patterns, ultimately arguing that neither racial identity nor assimilation are straightforward progressions but, instead, develop unevenly and are influenced by family, society, and historical social movements.
Ricardo has known only poverty in Mexico, but he dreams of a better life in the United States. He enlists a “coyote” to smuggle him across the Rio Grande, a river that separates not only one nation from another, but one world from another.
The Illegal Man is also the story of Ann Rawlings, a recent widow struggling to preserve her West Texas ranch. There is also her bigoted foreman, who considers his Mexican national ranch hands to be little more than animals. For Ricardo, it’s a world in which he will suffer hardship and indignity, but one he will gladly endure to support his family.
The Illegal Man grew out of a newspaper series by Dearen, who interviewed Mexican and American officials and accompanied border patrolmen along the Rio Grande. He based his character, Ricardo, on an actual Mexican national he interviewed in West Texas. Although The Illegal Man is fiction, Dearen’s insight into illegal immigration is sure to spark discussion.
Providing historical background and tracing the journey made by generations of Mexican immigrants, this book emphasizes the post-1965 period of immigration reforms. Material from oral histories, autobiographies, and historical studies allow the reader to see how Mexican immigrants struggle in their everyday lives to achieve the American Dream, both today and tomorrow.
Payan traces the history of these policies on the border to discern and understand the evolutionary patterns and common threads that join all three policies together today. He argues that historically the border has experienced a gradual tightening and increasing militarization, culminating in today's restrictive environment. This book illuminates the ways in which border residents are coping with the stricter border security environment, and how they navigate their daily lives in the face of an increasing number of federal bureaucrats and programs designed to close the border. It examines the significant conflict between the government's efforts to close the border and the border communities' efforts to open it."
2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Migrant Imaginaries explores the transnational movements of Mexican migrants in pursuit of labor and civil rights in the United States from the 1920s onward. Working through key historical moments such as the 1930s, the Chicano Movement, and contemporary globalization and neoliberalism, Alicia Schmidt Camacho examines the relationship between ethnic Mexican expressive culture and the practices sustaining migrant social movements. Combining sustained historical engagement with theoretical inquiries, she addresses how struggles for racial and gender equity, cross-border unity, and economic justice have defined the Mexican presence in the United States since 1910.
Schmidt Camacho covers a range of archives and sources, including migrant testimonials and songs, Amrico Parede’s last published novel, The Shadow, the film Salt of the Earth, the foundational manifestos of El Movimiento, Richard Rodriguez’s memoirs, narratives by Marisela Norte and Rosario Sanmiguel, and testimonios of Mexican women workers and human rights activists, as well as significant ethnographic research. Throughout, she demonstrates how Mexicans and Mexican Americans imagined their communal ties across the border, and used those bonds to contest their noncitizen status. Migrant Imaginaries places migrants at the center of the hemisphere’s most pressing concerns, contending that border crossers have long been vital to social change.