In the continuing U.S. debate over illegal immigration, a human face has rarely been shown. The topic has been presented as a monolithic abstraction, a creation of statistics, political rhetoric, and fear. This collection of letters between undocumented immigrants in California and their families back home reveals the other side of the story. Published for the first time in paperback, Between the Lines reveals the often poignant human drama currently being played out along the U.S.-Mexico border. The letters, presented in Spanish and English, express powerful feelings of hope, uncertainty, and fear among the undocumented travelers as they arrive in the United States and seek work, social support and legal status. The letters from their families in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador return feelings of hope, love, and support. Translator/editor Siems provides a powerful and lyrical introductory essay that sets the stage for the letters that follow.
Central Americans are the third largest and fastest growing Latino population in the United States. And yet, despite their demographic presence, there has been little scholarship focused on this group. Constituting Central American-Americans is an exploration of the historical and disciplinary conditions that have structured U.S. Central American identity and of the ways in which this identity challenges how we frame current discussions of Latina/o, American ethnic, and diasporic identities. By focusing on the formation of Central American identity in the U.S., Maritza E. Cárdenas challenges us to think about Central America and its diaspora in relation to other U.S. ethno-racial identities.
In summer 2014, a surge of unaccompanied child migrants from Central America to the United States gained mainstream visibility—yet migration from Central America has been happening for decades. U.S. Central Americans explores the shared yet distinctive experiences, histories, and cultures of 1.5-and second-generation Central Americans in the United States.
While much has been written about U.S. and Central American military, economic, and political relations, this is the first book to articulate the rich and dynamic cultures, stories, and historical memories of Central American communities in the United States. Contributors to this anthology—often writing from their own experiences as members of this community—articulate U.S. Central Americans’ unique identities as they also explore the contradictions found within this multivocal group.
Working from within Guatemalan, Salvadoran, and Maya communities, contributors to this critical study engage histories and transnational memories of Central Americans in public and intimate spaces through ethnographic, in-depth, semistructured, qualitative interviews, as well as literary and cultural analysis. The volume’s generational, spatial, urban, indigenous, women’s, migrant, and public and cultural memory foci contribute to the development of U.S. Central American thought, theory, and methods. Woven throughout the analysis, migrants’ own oral histories offer witness to the struggles of displacement, travel, navigation, and settlement of new terrain. This timely work addresses demographic changes both at universities and in cities throughout the United States.
U.S. Central Americans draws connections to fields of study such as history, political science, anthropology, ethnic studies, sociology, cultural studies, and literature, as well as diaspora and border studies. The volume is also accessible in size, scope, and language to educators and community and service workers wanting to know about their U.S. Central American families, neighbors, friends, students, employees, and clients.
Karina O. Alvarado
Maritza E. Cárdenas
Alicia Ivonne Estrada
Ester E. Hernández
Floridalma Boj Lopez
Ana Patricia Rodríguez
In an analysis of recent immigration patterns in Washington, D.C., Terry A. Repak documents the unusual predominance of women among Central American immigrants. Two thirds of the arriving immigrants in earlier decades have been women, many of them recruited by international diplomats and U.S. government employees to work as housekeepers and nannies. Repak considers the labor force participation patterns for women compared to men, the effect of immigration laws—particularly the IRCA's uneven impact on women versus men—and the profound adjustments in gender roles and identities that accompany migration.
Showing an extraordinary amount of autonomy, most of these immigrant women decided to migrate without consulting either fathers or partners, and they gained even greater independence once settled. Repak plots the career trajectories of numerous Central American immigrant women and men to illustrate the array of the women's responses, gender differences in the migration and assimilation experience, the availability of work, and the possibility for upward mobility and higher wages. Providing social, economic and political context, she looks at the conditions that set the stage for this migration, including the rapid expansion of service jobs in the 1960s and 1970s in Washington, D. C. and the political strife in such Central American countries as war-torn El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.