Migration to the United States

Timothy J. Henderson

in Latin American Studies

ISBN: 9780199766581
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Migration to the United States

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The literature on Latin American migration to the United States is vast, and a bibliography of this sort must necessarily be highly selective. The literature includes studies by sociologists, economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and surprisingly few historians. Immigration, of course, directly involves issues of public policy, and much of the literature on the topic was produced with a view toward influencing that policy. Such literature tends to be of an ephemeral character. A review of that literature might provide useful snapshots of particular policy issues at given points in history, but preference has been given here to works of real substance that contain a strong historical dimension. Immigration is, of course, a perennial “hot button” issue that has attracted, and continues to attract, its share of polemics that seek more to alarm than to enlighten. Readers who wish to learn about such works can consult studies of nativism that are listed here. Readers will no doubt notice the preponderance of works about Mexican migration to the United States. That is because Mexicans make up by far the largest percentage of Latin American migrants to the United States—an estimated 94 percent. The Border Patrol has long been in the habit of dividing immigrants into two categories: Mexicans and “Other than Mexicans” (OTMs). It should hardly be surprising, then, that the lion’s share of the literature on the topic of Latin American migration to the United States focuses on Mexican migration. Another, much smaller, body of literature deals with migration from Central American and/or the Caribbean. Migration from South America to the United States has been too insignificant to attract much scholarly attention. The literature on migration from Central America and Cuba presents special challenges because there is an important distinction to be made between those who migrate for economic reasons and those who migrate for political reasons.

Article.  9754 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies ; History of the Americas

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