G. Garcia – 2011
… and health care applications • Methods and estimates for unique populations such as schools
and students Volumes in the series are of interest to researchers, professionals, and students …
Ginny Garcia Mexican American and Immigrant Poverty in the United States 123 Page 5. …
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the legendary Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, in which a Mexican force of 4,500 men faced 6,000 well-trained French soldiers. The battle lasted four hours and ended in a victory for the Mexican army under Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza. Along with Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16, Cinco de Mayo has become a time to celebrate Mexican heritage and culture.
Source for the following statements: 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Selected Population Profile in the United States: Mexican
Number of U.S. residents of Mexican origin in 2008. These residents constituted 10 percent of the nation’s total population and 66 percent of the Hispanic population.
Percent of Mexican-origin people who are male.
Number of people of Mexican origin who lived either in California (11.26 million) or Texas (7.78 million). People of Mexican origin made up nearly one-third of the residents of these two states.
Median age of people in the United States of Mexican descent. This compares with 36.9 years for the population as a whole.
Number of Mexican-Americans who are U.S. military veterans.
Number of people of Mexican descent 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. This includes about 395,000 who have a graduate or professional degree.
Among households where a householder was of Mexican origin, the percentage of married-couple families with own children younger than 18. For all households, the corresponding percentage was 21 percent.
Average size for families with a householder of Mexican origin. The average size of all families is 3.2 people.
Percentage of employed civilians 16 and older of Mexican heritage who worked in managerial, professional or related occupations. In addition, 25 percent worked in service occupations; 21 percent in sales and office occupations; 17 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations; and 19 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations.
Median income in 2008 for households with a householder of Mexican origin. For the population as a whole, the corresponding amount was $52,029.
Poverty rate in 2008 for all people of Mexican heritage. For the population as a whole, the corresponding rate was 13 percent.
Percentage of civilians 16 and older of Mexican origin in the labor force. The percentage was 66 percent for the population as a whole. There were 14 million people of Mexican heritage in the labor force, comprising 9 percent of the total.
Percentage of householders of Mexican origin in occupied housing units who owned the home in which they lived. This compares with 67 percent for the population as a whole.
11.3 million, or 37%
Number and percentage of Mexican-origin people who are foreign-born; 2.5 million of them are naturalized citizens. Among the population as a whole, 12 percent are foreign-born.
Percentage of Mexican-origin people who speak a language other than English at home; among these people, 38 percent speak English less than “very well.” Among the population as a whole, the corresponding figures were 20 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
Trade With Mexico
The value of total goods traded between the United States and Mexico in 2009. Mexico was our nation’s third-leading trading partner, after Canada and China. The leading U.S. export commodity to Mexico in 2009 was light oils and preparations (not crude) from petroleum and bituminous materials ($4 billion); the leading U.S. import commodity from Mexico in 2009 was crude oil from petroleum ($22.12 billion).
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics
Source for statements in this section: Hispanic-Owned Firms: 2002
Number of firms owned by people of Mexican origin in 2002. They accounted for more than 44 percent of all Hispanic-owned firms. Among these Mexican-owned firms, 275,896 were in California and 235,735 in Texas. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, Calif., combined statistical area had 174,292.
Sales and receipts for firms owned by people of Mexican origin in 2002.
Number of firms owned by people of Mexican origin in the construction sector in 2002, which led all sectors.
Product shipment value of tamales and other Mexican food specialties (not frozen or canned) produced in the United States in 2002.
Source: 2002 Economic Census
Product shipment value of frozen enchiladas produced in the United States in 2002. Frozen tortilla shipments were valued even higher, at $156 million.
Source: 2002 Economic Census
Number of U.S. tortilla manufacturing establishments in 2007. The establishments that produce this unleavened flat bread employed 15,160 people. Tortillas, the principal food of the Aztecs, are known as the “bread of Mexico.” One in three of these establishments was in Texas.
Source: County Business Patterns: 2007
Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:
* African-American History Month (February)
* Super Bowl
* Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)
* Women’s History Month (March)
* Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
* Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
* Older Americans Month (May)
* Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
* Mother’s Day
* Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
* Father’s Day
* The Fourth of July (July 4)
* Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
* Back to School (August)
* Labor Day
* Grandparents Day
* Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
* Unmarried and Single Americans Week
* Halloween (Oct. 31)
* American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
* Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
* Thanksgiving Day
* The Holiday Season (December)
Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or
Research in Gerontological Nursing Vol. 4 No. 1 January 2011
By Bertha “Penny” Flores, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC; Deborah L. Volker, PhD, RN, AOCN
The purpose of this study was to explore an older Mexican American woman’s decision-making process to engage in cervical cancer screening. A qualitative single case study design was used along with a purposive, typical case sampling strategy. The participant, a 52-year-old Mexican American woman, was interviewed using a semi-structured format. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data. The analytic process revealed three concepts and motivators that influenced the participant’s behavior regarding cervical cancer screening practices: knowledge, family history, and sexual history. As such, these findings are useful for crafting subsequent investigations. Although the study participant’s experience is instructive regarding facilitators or motivators for engaging in screening practices, further exploration of barriers faced by older Mexican American women who decline to be screened is warranted.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Ms. Flores is Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, and a 2009-2011 John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar and a doctoral student, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and Dr. Volker is Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, Austin, Texas.
The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. The authors acknowledge support from the John A. Hartford Foundation for Bertha “Penny” Flores.
Address correspondence to Bertha “Penny” Flores, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC, Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229; e-mail: Floresb2@uthscsa.edu.
Received: July 20, 2010; Accepted: October 27, 2010; Posted: December 29, 2010
|Author:||Alvarez, Ricky A|
|Abstract:||In light of the growing number of ethnic minority adolescents in the United States, it has long been recognized that the level of educational attainment of Mexican-American students is below to that of other ethnic minority communities in the United States. From towering impoverishment rates, lower parental education, dilapidated neighborhoods and communities, to a clash of culture, marginalized education, and impersonal behaviors, Mexican-American students have endured an educational challenge that has become more difficult to win than imagined. Entailed by cultural identity, exceptionalities, language, gender, economic status, health, beliefs, values, and perceptions of education, this thesis will not only make possible recommendations for the plight among Mexican-American education, but will also investigate the socioeconomic, sociocultural, and the supplementary issues and factors that influence the academic advancement of Mexican-American students at the secondary level.|
1. Michelle K. Blocklin1,*,
2. Ann C. Crouter2,
3. Kimberly A. Updegraff3,
4. Susan M. McHale4
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2, 2011
* cultural orientations;
* Mexican American families;
* parent-child relationships;
* parental monitoring;
* sources of knowledge;
* youth adjustment
We examined correlates of sources of parental knowledge of youths’ experiences in Mexican American families, including child self-disclosure, parental solicitation, spouse, siblings, and individuals outside the family. Home and phone interviews were conducted with mothers, fathers, and their seventh-grade male and female offspring in 246 Mexican American families. Results indicated that mothers and fathers relied on different sources of knowledge; parent-child relationship quality and cultural orientations predicted parents’ sources of knowledge, and different sources had different implications for youth adjustment. Specifically, child disclosure to mothers and fathers’ reliance on their spouse were consistently linked to better youth outcomes. Moderation analyses revealed that correlates of parents’ knowledge sources were not always uniform across mothers and fathers or daughters and sons.
Volume 60, Issue 1, pages 30–44, February
Hernandez, who confirmed that he is gay in an interview with Instant Tea on Sunday morning, is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. “She’s been a great ally to the LGBT community,” Hernandez said of Giffords during the brief interview across a bad connection
Betty Davies, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN,1,2
Judith Larson, Ph.D., F.T.,1
Nancy Contro, M.S.W.,3 and
Ana P. Cabrera, M.A.1
Accepted September 2, 2010
This paper describes Mexican American family members’ descriptions of perceived discrimination by pediatric health care providers (HCPs) and the families’ reactions to the HCPs’ discriminatory conduct. A retrospective, grounded theory design guided the overall study. Content analysis of interviews with 13 participants from 11 families who were recruited from two children’s hospitals in Northern California resulted in numerous codes and revealed that participants perceived discrimination when they were treated differently from other, usually white, families. They believed they were treated differently because they were Mexican, because they were poor, because of language barriers, or because of their physical appearance.
Participants reported feeling hurt, saddened, and confused regarding the differential treatment they received from HCPs who parents perceived “should care equally for all people.”
They struggled to understand and searched for explanations. Few spoke up about unfair treatment or complained about poor quality of care. Most assumed a quiet, passive position, according to their cultural norms of respecting authority figures by being submissive and not questioning them. Participants did not perceive all HCPs as discriminatory; their stories of discrimination derived from encounters with individual nurses or physicians. However, participants were greatly affected by the encounters, which continue to be painful memories.
Despite increasing efforts to provide culturally competent palliative care, there is still need for improvement. Providing opportunities for changing HCPs’ beliefs and behaviors is essential to developing cultural competence.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States (U.S.), Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the U.S. in a prearranged business activity for a U.S. or foreign employer. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.
How Can Professionals from Mexico and Canada Work in the U.S.?
Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:
* Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
* Profession is on the NAFTA list;
* Position in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional;
* Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer (see documentation required). Self employment is not permitted;
* Professional Canadian or Mexican citizen has the qualifications of the profession.
Note: The application requirements for citizens of Canada and Mexico, shown below are different.
Requirements for Canadian Citizens
Canadian citizens usually do not need a visa as a NAFTA Professional, although a visa can be issued to qualified TN visa applicants upon request. A Canadian citizen without a TN visa can apply at a U.S. port of entry. Learn about requirements and more on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Canadian citizens can also review information regarding TN visas through U.S. Embassy Ottawa’s website.
When Does a Canadian NAFTA Professional Need a Visa? A Canadian residing in another country with a non-Canadian spouse and child would need a visa to enable the spouse and child to be able to apply for a visa to accompany or join the NAFTA Professional, as a TD visa holder. Canadians applying for a visa will follow the same documentation requirements as shown in the sections Mexican Citizens, Applying for a TN Visa, and Required Documentation.
Requirements for Mexican Citizens
Mexican citizens require a visa to request admission to the U.S. (A USCIS approved petition is not required.)
Applying for a TN Visa
NAFTA applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a NAFTA Professional Worker (TN) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Applicants may apply at consular sections around the world for a NAFTA professional (TN) visa. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 to 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Making your appointment for an interview is the first step in the visa application process. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on our website at Visa Wait Times, and on most U.S. Embassy or Consulate websites. Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa to find out how to schedule an interview appointment, pay the fees and any other instructions.
During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.
Each applicant for a TN visa must adhere to the procedure as explained below:
* Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit our DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
* A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
* One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements. A photograph is not required if you are applying in Mexico.
* Letter of Employment in the U.S. Additionally, the applicant’s employer in the U.S. must provide an employment letter that includes the following:
o The letter must indicate that the position in question in the U.S. requires the employment of a person in a professional capacity, consistent with the NAFTA Chapter 16, Annex 1603, Appendix 1603.d.1.
o The applicant must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Consular Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. Part-time employment is permitted. Self-employment is not permitted. An employment letter or contract providing a detailed description of the business activities may be provided from the U.S. or foreign employer, and should state the following:
o Activity in which the applicant shall be engaged and purpose of entry;
o Anticipated length of stay;
o Educational qualifications or appropriate credentials demonstrating professional status;
o Evidence of compliance with DHS regulations, and/or state laws; and
o Arrangements for pay.
o Although not required, proof of licensure to practice a given profession in the U.S. may be offered along with a job offer letter, or other documentation in support of a TN visa application.
What are the Required Visa Fees?
* Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee – For current fees for Department of State government services select Fees. You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
* Visa issuance fee – Additionally, if the visa is issued, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
Applicants must show their intended stay is temporary, without the intent to establish permanent residence. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they have the following:
* Education: The applicant’s employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has the alternative credentials set forth in NAFTA agreement, chapter 16 appendix 1603.d.1. Evidence of professional qualifications may be in the form of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received from an educational institution outside the U.S., Canada, or Mexico must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign documentation.
* Work Experience: Documentation proving to the applicant’s experience should be in the form of letters from former employers. If the applicant was self-employed, business records should be submitted proving that self-employment.
Is Licensure Required?
Requirements for NAFTA professional do not include licensure. Licensure to practice a given profession in the U.S. is a post-entry requirement subject to enforcement by the appropriate state or other sub-federal authority.
Spouses and Children
Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join NAFTA Professionals (TN visa holders) may receive a TD visa. Applicants must demonstrate a bona fide spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal TN visa holder. Dependents do not have to be citizens of Mexico or Canada. Spouses and children cannot work while in the U.S. They are permitted to study.
* Canadian citizen spouses and children do not need visas, but review the CBP website for the port of entry requirements:
* Spouse and children are not Canadian citizens – They must get a TD nonimmigrant visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. They should review U.S. Embassy or Consulate website how to apply information.
* Mexican citizen spouses and children must apply for TD nonimmigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate,
* Spouses or children following to join must show a valid I-94, thereby providing proof that the principal TN visa holder is maintaining his/her TN visa status.
Period of Stay and Extension of Stay
Review the USCIS website for NAFTA period of stay information. Canadian or Mexican citizens admitted as a NAFTA Professional may apply to USCIS for extension of stay.
NAFTA Professional Job Series List
For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, see the NAFTA webpage, Appendix 1603.D.1 With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is required, experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative criteria to a bachelor’s degree is listed. For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree.
* No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore final travel plans or the purchase of nonrefundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.
* Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visitor visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the U.S.
Misrepresentation of a Material Facts, or Fraud
Attempting to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the U.S. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas, provides important information about ineligibilities.
Certain activities can make you ineligible for a U.S. visa. The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, lists classes of persons who are ineligible under U.S. law to receive visas. In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a visitor, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved. Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas provides important information about ineligibilities, by reviewing sections of the law taken from the immigration and Nationality Act.
If the consular officer should find it necessary to deny the issuance of a TN visa, the applicant may apply again if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal. For additional information, select Denials to learn more.
Entering the U.S. – Port of Entry
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. The visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a port-of-entry in the U.S., such as an international airport, a seaport or a land border crossing, and request permission to enter the U.S. CBP, U.S. immigration inspector will permit or deny admission to the U.S., and determine your length of stay in the U.S., on any particular visit. Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted, is validated by the immigration official. Form I-94, which documents your authorized stay in the U.S., is very important to keep in your passport. Additionally, as a Mexican citizen seeking entry as a NAFTA professional, you must present evidence of professional employment to satisfy the Immigration Officer of your plans to be employed in prearranged business activities for a U.S. employer(s) or entity(ies) at a professional level. To find out more detailed information about admissions and entry in the U.S., select Admissions to go to the CBP website.
Staying Beyond Your Authorized Stay in the U.S. and Being Out of Status
* It is important that you depart the U.S. on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the U.S. on any given trip, based on the specified end date on your Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94. Failure to depart the U.S. will cause you to be out-of-status. Staying beyond the period of time authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and being out-of-status in the U.S. is a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and may cause you to be ineligible for a visa in the future for return travel to the U.S. Select Classes of Aliens Ineligible to Receive Visas to learn more.
* Staying unlawfully in the U.S. beyond the date CBP officials have authorized, even by one day, results in your visa being automatically voided, in accordance with INA 222(g). Under this provision of immigration law, if you overstay on your nonimmigrant authorized stay in the U.S. your visa will be automatically voided. In this situation, you are required to reapply for a new nonimmigrant visa, generally in your country of nationality.
How Do I Extend My Stay?
Visitors who wish to stay beyond the date indicated on their Form I-94 are required to have approval by USCIS. See Extend Your Stay on the USCIS website.
How Do I Change My Status?
Some nonimmigrant visa holders, while present in the U.S., are able to file a request which must be approved by USCIS to change to another nonimmigrant category. See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website.
Important Note: Filing a request with USCIS for approval of change of status before your authorized stay expires, while you remain in the U.S., does not by itself require the visa holder to apply for a new visa. However, if you cannot remain in the U.S. while USCIS processes your change of status request, you will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Further Visa Inquiries
* Questions on visa application procedures and visa ineligibilities should be made to the American consular office abroad by the applicant. Before submitting your inquiry, we request that you carefully review this web site and also the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website abroad. Very often you will find the information you need.
* If your inquiry concerns a visa case in progress overseas, you should first contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling your case for status information. Select U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and you can choose the Embassy or Consulate website you need to contact.
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December 23, 2010
jperez2002 My musings Christian, DREAM Act, college admissions, immigration, Mennonite Central Committee, Reform, enculturation, Lynne Hybels Leave a comment
Lynne Hybels a prominent evangelical Christian woman posted on her blog the following post in regards to the DREAM Act. I am active support of this legislation as I have come into contact with many high school and college students that live in the shadows. In response to her blog I made the following comments in the hopes that reader of her blog would be better informed about what is at stake for many students in the US that have been education in our system, but when it comes to college they have been shut out. Below you will find her post and my comments.
Lynne Hybels: Like many of my friends, I am profoundly disappointed by Saturday’s defeat of the DREAM Act by just a few votes in the Senate. I have to confess this is the first time I have actually called the offices of politicians to ask for their vote on a particular piece of legislation. I had really hoped that Senator Kirk would change his mind and vote Yes. I’m grateful to Senator Dick Durbin for sponsoring and championing this bill, and to Representative Melissa Bean for voting Yes and helping to pass the bill in the House of Representatives last week.
I want to say to the many God-loving, hard-working young people—some in my church—whose hopes were dashed by the failure of the DREAM Act that you will not be forgotten. Your dreams will not be ignored. Your value and dignity depend not on the affirmation of any government, but on the affirmation of the God who created and loves you. Your friends will continue to work on your behalf.
My comments: Being a college administrator and one who has spoken extensively with high school and college students who are undocumented, the defeat of this bill was devastating not only for me but the students I work with. This has been shared before, but for some of the students that have a desire to pursue college degree do not discover their immigration status until they begin to apply for financial aid. I have had high school college counselors share with me their experiences in advising students who discover their status during the financial aid process. I would encourage all of you to watch “Papers.” Is the DREAM Act perfect? No, but it is a start and there are several laws that have far worse loopholes than the ones listed above. I believe that this is a moral issue for us as believers. If a Republican congress wants to work on new legislation I encourage them to do so.
In regards to immigrants being enculturated, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform reports that within 10 years of arrival more than 75 percent of immigrants speak English well. Having parents myself who immigrated to this country from Mexico and watching them obtain US citizenship I would say if there was a path to legal residence, most immigrants would take it and be productive citizens of our country. I would also encourage all of you to get to know immigrants in your communities. You will be surprised by their resiliency and determination to succeed in spite of their circumstances. The Mennonite Central Committee which has put together excellent resources on immigration.
Location: Plano, Texas, United States
Mexican American Political Activism At Mid-Century
I am a coauthor of an updated version of the college American history textbook, currently titled “American Dreams & Reality: A Retelling of the American Story.” Below I describe the civil rights struggles of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants during the time from 1945 to 1960.
From 1941-1945, close to 500,000 Mexican Americans served in the United States military out of a Hispanic population of about 2.7 million. In Los Angeles, Hispanics accounted for one-tenth of the total population but comprised one-fifth of the metropolis’ wartime casualties. Hispanics made up 25 percent of the victims of the “Bataan Death March” (in which the Japanese beat, shot and marched to death captured British and American prisoners of war in the Philippines), and Mexicans and Mexican Americans earned more medals of honor than any other demographic group.
The Mexican population in the United States increased dramatically during the post-World War II period, with Mexican immigrants increasing from 5.9 percent of all newcomers to 11.9 percent at the end of the 1950s. Part of this increase resulted from the bracero program, in which American landowners imported Mexicans as low-paid agricultural workers. The number of braceros brought in from Mexico jumped from about 35,000 in 1949 to 107,000 in 1960. In 1956, the bracero program peaked with more than 445,000 Mexicans working on American farms that year. Many braceros remained in the United States after their year-long contracts expired, joining a growing number of Mexicans who fled poverty in their country by crossing the American border.
Responding to Anglo concerns about the rising number of so-called “wetbacks” – the insulting term used for Mexican immigrants who supposedly crossed the border by swimming across the Rio Grande River – the federal government launched a crackdown on undocumented workers, “Operation Wetback,” in 1950. During the next five years, the government seized and deported nearly four million people whom authorities claimed were illegal immigrants, with Mexican American legal residents sometimes included in the sweeps. Immigration would heavily politicize the Mexican American community after the war, and many Hispanic political organizations battled to improve working conditions for migrant workers and to fight what they saw as harassment of the Mexican American community, including repeated FBI investigations of Hispanic labor unions which Anglo law enforcement insisted were communist fronts.
As with African Americans, Mexican American veterans of World War II returned from a war against racist fascist regimes impatient with the intolerance they still encountered at home. Passage of the G.I. Bill meant that more Mexican Americans attended college than ever before, and with increased enrollment at colleges and universities came rising expectations for a better life. The percentage of Hispanics living in towns and cities as opposed to rural areas dramatically increased after the war, reaching 65 percent in 1950, which facilitated political activism. Hispanic veterans in particular played a major role in the two primary Latino civil rights organizations of the post-war years: the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the American GI Forum. Well-educated, often prosperous and urban Mexican American elites formed LULAC in Texas in the late 1920s. LULAC’s founders saw assimilation with the Anglo majority as a path toward winning acceptance in American society. They embraced a “Mexican American” identity that combined respect for Mexican traditions and pride in American citizenship. A major focus was “Americanizing” Mexican Americans and recent Mexican immigrants who still spoke Spanish.
“LULAC symbolized the rise of the Mexican middle class,” according to historian Rodolfo Acuña. “As in the past, the organization did not really serve the interests of the poor, but, rather, reflected the philosophy of the middle class, who wanted assimilation . . . To achieve its goal, the middle-class leadership demanded constitutional and human rights for all Mexicans . . . They demanded equality as North Americans; their major goals remained equal access to education and other public and private institutions, and the enactment of state laws to end discrimination against Mexicans.”
The Anglo response to Mexican Americans and immigrants in states like Texas and New Mexico varied widely, with discrimination more common and harsher in places with large Spanish-speaking populations. In such communities, authorities denied Mexican Americans access to public parks and swimming pools, and restaurants either would not serve Mexican American and Mexican patrons or would force them to take their food through a back window and eat outside. Though no formal law segregated Mexican and Mexican American children from Anglos in Texas schools, in districts with large Latino populations, school officials routinely assigned Hispanic children to separate, crowded and poorly funded schools.
In New Mexico, teachers taught Mexican school children in Spanish, which LULAC saw as a deliberate attempt to block these pupils from economic success in an English-speaking country. Mexican children fared poorly in Anglo-run school districts. Hispanic students rarely finished their public school education with a high school diploma. Many non-native speakers of English ended up assigned to remedial classes. In San Antonio in 1920, 11,000 students attended the district’s elementary schools, but there were only 250 high school graduates. In 1928, only 250 Mexican students attended colleges and universities in the entire state of Texas.
To address the high drop-out problem in the Mexican American community, in 1956 LULAC President Felix Tijerina established “The Little School of the 400” program designed to teach Spanish-speaking preschool children a 400-word vocabulary of basic English words before they began first grade. Like the NAACP, from the late 1920s through the post-World War II years LULAC helped members file lawsuits against informal school segregation in the public schools and to open access to higher education for the Mexican and Mexican American community.
In 1946, a U.S. District court in Southern California ruled, in Méndez v. Westminster School District, that segregating Mexican school children violated their constitutional rights, a decision later upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The dismantling of segregation in Texas began with the 1948 Delgado v. Bastrop ISD U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned school boards from placing Mexican-American students in different schools than Anglo children. These cases established a precedent for the Brown decision. In the 1957 Hernandez v. Driscoll CISD case, the court ruled that a Texas district’s practice of holding back Mexican American children in grades one and two for four years served as a form of discrimination.
Dr. Hector Garcia formed the American GI Forum (AGIF) in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1948 to serve Mexican American veterans who frequently did not receive Veterans Administration benefits on time. Shut out by the Anglo-run American Legion, Garcia and others decided to form their own veterans’ group. The AGIF grabbed national headlines in 1949 when it led protests against a Three Rivers, Texas, funeral home that denied the use of a chapel to the family of Army Private Felix Longoria, who died in combat in World War II. The AGIF launched an intense lobbying campaign. Lyndon Johnson, at the time a U.S. senator from Texas, successfully persuaded authorities to grant a full funeral service for Longoria at Arlington National Cemetery. Angered by the treatment of Longoria, Mexican American veterans across the country flocked to the GI Forum and by the end of 1949, there were 100 AGIF chapters in 23 states across the country. With its ladies’ auxiliary, entire families could participate in GI Forum events, a key to its success.
The LULAC and AGIF leadership tended to be conservative, and through the 1950s often presented Mexican Americans as a white ethnic group with a distinct cultural identity but American loyalties. As such, the leaders of these groups distanced themselves from the African American civil rights movement, were often critical of black civil rights protests, and sometimes even used racist terms to describe African American leaders. Nevertheless, Mexican American politicians like Henry B. Gonzalez of Texas threw his support behind the NAACP and black desegregation efforts. The Chicano movement of the late 1960s would bring increased efforts to unite blacks and browns in a common battle against racism.
Michael Phillips is the author of “White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001” published in 2006, and “The House Will Come To Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics,” co-written with Patrick Cox and published in 2010 by The University of Texas Press