Laura D. Gutiérrez, and Benjamin Johnson, Loyola University Chicago | Newberry

Laura D. Gutiérrez, and Benjamin Johnson, Loyola University Chicago

Friday, January 20, 2017


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

Coyotaje , Corruption, and Border Enforcement in “Ambos Nogales” in the 1930s

Laura D. Gutiérrez

During the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Mexican migrants returned to Mexico in the mass repatriation campaigns of the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the U.S. began to more heavily patrol its southern border and restrict immigration from Mexico. Within this context, one coyote amassed power and influence in the Arizona/Sonora borderlands as he began to work with U.S. Border Patrol officers to deport migrants who did not pay him the bribes he demanded. This paper draws on declassified documents from U.S. and Mexican archives to frame his career as part of a longer narrative of how deportation functioned as a source of profit for both smugglers and border authorities.

Birth of a Continent: Louis Riel, Juan Cortina, and the Closing of North American Borderlands

Benjamin Johnson

This paper examines the histories of two borderlands leaders and their communities in the mid-nineteenth century. Manitoba’s Louis Riel and South Texas/Tamaulipas’ Juan Cortina both bore arms against the central states claiming their homeland, justified their actions in terms of the Republican notions that undergirded those nations’ claims to sovereignty, expressed some willingness to acknowledge the legitimacy of the nations they fought against, and ultimately met unhappy ends. Their defeats – execution for Riel in 1885, imprisonment for Cortina from 1876 until shortly before his death in 1894 – marked the subordination of the communities that they represented to the central governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The insistence of these governments on suppressing the uprisings led by Riel and Cortina marks the eclipse of fluid imperial notions of sovereignty, territory, and borders, with more restrictive ideas of national sovereignty and territoriality. Yet the ways in which Riel and Cortina embraced the ideology of liberal Republicanism even as they insisted on the rights of borderlands communities and individuals to form ties with different nations without giving up their distinct identities or rights of self-government remind us that the ties between Republican ideology, race, property, and nation-states were more malleable than we have thought.

Respondent: Adam Goodman, University of Illinois at Chicago

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. Fora copy of the paper, email the Scholl Center at Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.