Daniel Morales–Entre Aquí y Allá: The Paths of Migration and Emigration Control in Mexico 1920-1930
I show now Mexican society changed as a result of migration; how returning migrants, and those who sent back money and information changed communities and defied both government’s attempts to control them. By 1920, a tenth of Mexico’s population was in the United States, as migration increased so did pressure to control this exodus. Building revolutionary rhetoric, the Mexican government undertook an unprecedented effort at migration law enforcement in these years. The federal government issued directives and propaganda, which migrants mostly ignored in favor of less official, more informal, and sometimes chance word-of-mouth information exchanges that they saw as more relevant to their lives. Looking at how and why migrants chose to make the journey north, starkly illustrates the disconnect between federal officials’ policy desires and the needs of migrants and local migrant-sending regions. Examining three states in central Mexico, I show how migration came to be seen as a solution to many of the problems Mexicans faced after the Mexican Revolution, becoming an important way to secure a livelihood in central Mexico.
Jessica Ordaz–Border Policing, Runaway Detainees, and Labor Exploitation in California’s Imperial Valley, 1945-1949
This paper explores the World War II origins of the immigration detention camp in El Centro, California. Originally built in 1945 out of the recycled materials from a Japanese internment camp, the El Centro Detention facility was created to hold unauthorized Mexican migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. I focus on the labor practices the INS used to construct and maintain the camp, and argue that the early history of the El Centro Camp was a disputed experience for detainees and INS officials. Local INS Patrol Inspectors attempted to consolidate power by enforcing their own rules, but Mexican detainees contested such authority by making claims on the state and by escaping from the camp.
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