Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Back in 2008 when Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton vied for the Democratic nomination, the “Will Latinos support a black candidate?” narrative dominated the news cycle. “Many Latinos are not ready for a person of color,” said a young Latina in a typical quote featured by the New York Times. “I don’t think many Latinos will vote for Obama.” Academic social science from new Latino settlement areas in the U.S. South seemingly confirmed the narrative: “Latino Immigrants come to the U.S. with negative stereotypes of black Americans,” declared a Duke research team after conducting a survey in Durham, N.C., in 2003. Yet though Clinton did dominate among Latinos in the 2008 primary, they rallied to Obama’s side once he clinched the nomination, delivering the country’s first black president a historically large margin of Latino votes that November. Continue Reading Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

The experiences of braceros reveal contradictions within U.S. immigration policy that render Mexican laborers as necessary and Mexican settlement as unnecessary and unwarranted. The Bracero Program cemented the idea that in modern America, Mexican workers could come in, contribute their labor and expect no avenues of permanent incorporation into American life and no legal protections as workers. The termination of the Bracero Program did not bring an end to Mexican guest workers as Mexicans found themselves recruited for H2 visas. This category of visa was first introduced in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and by 1986 the status was subdivided and the letter “A” was added for agricultural workers. H2-A laborers not only walk in the historical footprints of the braceros that came before them but many are the children and grandchildren of braceros, creating one more link in the century of Mexican guest workers in America. So after 100 years of guest workers policies, do we continue to create an unequal system in which a group of people are only valued as laborers and never given the opportunity of true belonging as American citizens? Continue Reading Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

Certain immigrants, including Mormons, Hindus, and Muslims faced barriers in their effort to settle in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because they were perceived as adhering to belief systems that were un-American. Though those religiously based cases were small relative to those immigrants facing exclusion or deportation based on their poverty or on medical grounds, they suggest that religious bias has long been a significant factor in early federal immigration policies. Continue Reading Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

Elliott Young: Felons and Families

Even as one might criticize Obama for becoming the “Deporter in Chief,” he did not invent the pernicious rhetoric of good and bad immigrants. He merely followed in a long tradition that stretches back to the late nineteenth century when federal immigration restrictions were first written into law to keep out criminals, prostitutes, and the Chinese. Continue Reading Elliott Young: Felons and Families

Off the Page: Roundtable 1: Immigration

UNC Press is proud to host this first in a series of week-long virtual roundtables, featuring Press authors drawing on their work to address issues of contemporary concern. This week we share five short essays by leading scholars of immigration, including Elliott Young, Deirdre M. Moloney, Mireya Loza, Julie M. Weise, and Erika Lee. Continue Reading Off the Page: Roundtable 1: Immigration

Lon Kurashige: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?

It is important to recall Roosevelt’s positions on immigration because of the similarities between his day and our own. Immigration fears are a regular feature in today’s headlines as the United States (not mention the U.K. and European countries) wrestles with how much and in what ways to close its borders to newcomers. The same was true when Roosevelt became president. Continue Reading Lon Kurashige: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?

Video: Julie Weise on the History of Mexicans in the U.S. South

When Latino migration to the U.S. South became increasingly visible in the 1990s, observers and advocates grasped for ways to analyze “new” racial dramas in the absence of historical reference points. However, as this book is the first to comprehensively document, Mexicans and Mexican Americans have a long history of migration to the U.S. South.… Continue Reading Video: Julie Weise on the History of Mexicans in the U.S. South

Cian T. McMahon: Immigrant Voices/Immigrant Debate

I knew there were ample primary sources out there on what the Irish thought about race and racial identity. And as I dug into them in the course of my own research, I realized how much these previous scholars had missed by not listening to the immigrants’ voices. I learned, for example, that the differences between whites (along Celt/Saxon lines) were just as important, in the minds of many Irish, as the differences between whites and people of color. Moreover, the Irish talked about identity in transnational terms; they thought of themselves as members of a global community, capable of being Irish whether at home or abroad. These conclusions complicated, I realized, what many scholars have taken for granted regarding immigrant identity in the nineteenth century. Continue Reading Cian T. McMahon: Immigrant Voices/Immigrant Debate

Nathaniel Cadle: Central American Refugees and the “Traditional” Immigrant Narrative

The recent debate over the exact status of the tens of thousands of Central American children attempting to cross the U.S. border reminds us that there is often a very fine line dividing an immigrant from a refugee. It turns out that, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a majority of Americans—regardless of age or political or religious affiliation—view these children as refugees rather than as illegal immigrants. Of course, the term “refugee” designates a special legal status that carries a wide range of political and bureaucratic implications. Continue Reading Nathaniel Cadle: Central American Refugees and the “Traditional” Immigrant Narrative

UNC Press books in Chicano/a Studies offer timely insights

In reality, scholarship in the fields of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies defies such easy simplifications, revealing that the struggle for citizenship, inclusion, and social justice in this country has historic, deep roots, and that forces for change do not always begin and end in Washington. Continue Reading UNC Press books in Chicano/a Studies offer timely insights

Lara Putnam: Families and the Cost of Borders

Some of the deepest costs of our prohibitionist immigration system have to do with family. And they’re not just emotional costs—they’re economic costs as well. Continue Reading Lara Putnam: Families and the Cost of Borders

Stanley Harrold: Illegal Immigrants, before the Civil War and Now

Fugitive slaves were the illegal immigrants of their time. Continue Reading Stanley Harrold: Illegal Immigrants, before the Civil War and Now

Deirdre M. Moloney: State and local immigration policies affect U.S. foreign affairs

But there is another historically significant dimension to the decision that has received less media attention: ceding to states greater authority to regulate immigration would have represented a significant devolution in federal power. Continue Reading Deirdre M. Moloney: State and local immigration policies affect U.S. foreign affairs

Jorge Duany: The Fear of the Other

The prevalence of xenophobia in diverse places and historical periods invites us to reflect on its common causes and consequences. Continue Reading Jorge Duany: The Fear of the Other

Interview: Sal Castro and Mario T. Garcia on Grassroots Activism

Only dramatic action seems to be listened to in our society. Go for it. Blowout! Continue Reading Interview: Sal Castro and Mario T. Garcia on Grassroots Activism

Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a century ago today

On the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, we share an excerpt from Jennifer Guglielmo’s book Living the Revolution. Continue Reading Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, a century ago today

Hannah Gill: Durham and the Matricula Consular

We welcome a guest post from Hannah Gill, author of The Latino Migration Experience in North Carolina: New Roots in the Old North State, who updates us on recent political activity regarding the Latino immigrant community in Durham, North Carolina.–ellen <br /> On November 15, 2010, Durham City adopted a resolution supporting recognition of the… Continue Reading Hannah Gill: Durham and the Matricula Consular

Hannah Gill: Immigrant Youth and the High Stakes of Higher Education

As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we welcome a guest post from Hannah Gill, author of The Latino Migrant Experience in North Carolina: New Roots in the Old North State. In the book, Gill offers North Carolinians from all walks of life a better understanding of their Latino neighbors, bringing light instead of heat… Continue Reading Hannah Gill: Immigrant Youth and the High Stakes of Higher Education