From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
"…a powerful, multifaceted study of Mexican and Central American migration to the US that combines historical analysis with a graphic narrative account of the economic and social factors that perpetuate it…[Nevins] reminds us why we must tear down these artificial and illegitimate boundaries and allow migrants to find the same dream of a better life that so many Americans have had the privilege to live."—Gavin O'Toole, The Latin American Review of Books
"Dying to Live is a powerful examination of the messy politics and human consequences of US immigration policies. Joseph Nevins skillfully weaves the personal story of Julio César Gallegos, a migrant who died attempting to cross the US-Mexico boundary, together with detailed historical research to explore the boundary's ideological construction, the USA's 'race-class-nation hierarchy’, and the role of law in shaping Americans’ geographical imagination."
— Nancy Hiemstra, Progress in Human Geography
"Nevins's book, thanks to excellent research and a nuanced application of theory, demonstrates not only professional excellence but also an ongoing commitment to justice and human rights. By calling the entire notion of a 'right to be here' into question, Dying to Live serves as a powerful antidote to nationalistic amnesia on the part of the U.S. public, which has been too willing to embrace a shortsighted version of U.S.-Mexican history. By analyzing enforcement in the space of the border, he has provided an extension of the concept of structural violence. Those of us living in border states, especially Arizona, owe Nevins our appreciation. He shows how one can analyze policy information in a way that clearly communicates how common racial constructions support and extend the state’s use of violence."—North American Congress on Latin America
Joseph Nevins authored Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the Illegal Alien and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002), and A Not-So-Distant Horror (Cornell, 2005). His writings have appeared in the Boston Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and the International Herald Tribune.
Combining historical, sociological, and cultural perspectives, the contributors to this volume explore the following topics: the Hispanic foundations of North American capitalism; indigenous peoples’ actions and adaptations to living between Mexico and the United States; U.S. literary constructions of a Mexican “other” during the U.S.-Mexican War and the Civil War; the Mexican cotton trade, which helped sustain the Confederacy during the Civil War; the transformation of the Arizona borderlands from a multiethnic Mexican frontier into an industrializing place of “whites” and “Mexicans”; the early-twentieth-century roles of indigenous Mexicans in organizing to demand rights for all workers; the rise of Mexican Americans to claim middle-class lives during and after World War II; and the persistence of a Mexican tradition of racial/ethnic mixing—mestizaje—as an alternative to the racial polarities so long at the center of American life.
As the largest group of immigrants in the United States, representing more than a quarter of foreign-born individuals in the United States, Mexican immigrants have had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the culture and society of the United States as a whole. This freshly updated edition of North from Mexico addresses the changing demographic trends within Mexican immigrant communities and their implications for the country; analyzes key immigration policies such as the Immigration Act of 1990 and California's Proposition 187, with specific emphasis on the political mobilization that has developed within Mexican American immigrant communities; and describes the development of immigration reform as well as community organizations and electoral politics.
The book contains new chapters that examine recent trends in Mexican immigration to the United States and identify the impact on politics and society of Mexican immigrants and later generations of U.S.-born Mexican Americans. The appendices provide readers and researchers with current immigration figures and information regarding today's socieconomic conditions for Mexican Americans.
Taking a historical approach, this book's topics date back to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a radical turning point for Mexican Americans, as they lost their lands and found themselves thrust into an alien social and legal system. The entries trace Mexican Americans' experience as a small, conquered minority, their growing influence in the 20th century, and the essential roles their culture plays in the borderlands, or the American Southwest, in the 21st century.