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Mexicanos in Oregon

Their Stories, Their Lives

Erlinda V. Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza

Publication Year: 2010

Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives sheds new light on why migrants come to Oregon, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.

Although Oregon has had a settled Mexican-origin population since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of Latinos residing in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system and in agricultural and service occupations.

Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary sources, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, and drawing from multiple disciplines, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflects the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the mexicano experience in Oregon.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

illustrations

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pp. 6-7

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Acknowledgements

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p. 8-8

We are grateful to the many people who have contributed to this project. First on our list are the dozens of individuals who generously gave of their time to share their stories with us. Without their collaboration this book would not have been possible, and to them we say a humble mil gracias. Numerous students pitched in along the way, some interviewing and providing technical assistance, some transcribing, some chasing down sources, and some helping us make contacts: ...

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Introduction: About the Authors

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pp. 9-22

This book is the culmination of personal journeys for each of us. One of us is a sixth-generation U.S. citizen, whose ancestors did not migrate to this country, but who became citizens by virtue of the annexation of almost half of Mexico’s territory to the United States in 1848; the other is a first-generation immigrant from Argentina. Below we tell our stories and how ...

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Chapter 1: South to North: An Overview of Early Mexican Migration to the United States and Oregon

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pp. 23-52

The completion of a transcontinental railroad linked the two coasts of the United States and played a major role in integrating the Southwest into the nation’s industrial economy. In the 1880s, the Southwestern United States entered an intensive phase of economic expansion. The creation of markets for western fruits and vegetables by the transcontinental railroad, ...

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Chapter 2: Sojourners and Settlers: Tejanos and Mexicanos in Oregon in the Mid-Twentieth Century

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pp. 53-92

In the 1950s, the Bracero Program and its attendant albatross, illegal immigration, continued to come under severe scrutiny from various fronts. The press played an especially important role in shaping negative public opinion regarding the “invasion of illegal hordes streaming in from Mexico” Mounting pressure regarding illegal immigration led Congress, in 1952, ...

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Testimonio by Celedonio "Sonny" Montes

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pp. 93-94

This testimonio comes from excerpts of an interview with Celedonio “Sonny” Montes in his office in 2004. At that time he was working for the Portland Public School District. The interview was conducted in English with smatterings of Spanish by Gonzales-Berry, and excerpts were selected, transcribed, and arranged by the authors. ...

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Testimonio by Maggie Garcia

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pp. 95-96

This testimonio comes from excerpts from an interview conducted by Gonzales-Berry in 2004. At that time, Ms. Garc

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Testimonio by Lorenzo Rubio

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pp. 97-102

This testimonio is composed from excerpts of an interview conducted by Mendoza and Gonzales-Berry in 2009 at Lorenzo Rubio’s office at the Hillsboro Sheriff’s Department where Rubio is a crime prevention officer. The interview was conducted in English with smatterings of Spanish. The excerpts were selected, transcribed, and arranged by the authors. ...

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Chapter 3: Unintended Consequences: Mexican Immigration to Oregon after 1986 Immigration Reform and NAFTA

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pp. 103-131

There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the contemporary phenomenon of immigration. We believe that, in order to understand why the numbers of mexicano immigrants to Oregon increased dramatically between 1990 and 2007, it is essential to understand the larger forces that have created an undocumented international labor force that finds its ...

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Testimonio by Lucio

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pp. 132-133

Lucio was interviewed by San Juana Acosta in Hood River, Oregon, in 2003. Excerpts were taken from that interview and transcribed, translated, and arranged by the authors to form a testimony that sheds light on the life of an educated immigrant who is forced to take a position for which he would be overqualified in his native country - yet he finds reasons to be thankful. ....

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Testimonio by Mario Maga

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pp. 134-136

Mario Maga

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Testimonio by Jos

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pp. 137-139

This testimonio was written by Jos

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Chapter 4: New Migrations: Mexican Workers and Their Families Since the 1990s

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pp. 140-172

Oregon’s Latino population grew by 70 percent between the 1980 and 1990 decennial censuses, and by more than 140 percent between the 1990 and 2000 censuses. It went from representing 4 percent of the state’s total population to 8 percent in just ten years. This moved Oregon’s national ranking among ...

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Testimonio by Esteban

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pp. 173-174

This testimonio is composed from excerpts of an interview conducted by Mendoza in 2008 in Esteban’s home in Harrisburg, which he shares with his wife and two children. Esteban agreed to be interviewed late at night, while his children were in bed and his wife was baby-sitting for a Mexican neighbor who works the night shift at a fast food restaurant in town. The interview was ...

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Chapter 5: The Changing Faces of Migration: Immigration, Gender, and Family Dynamics

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pp. 175-202

Mexican immigrants are much more likely to settle permanently in Oregon today than they were in the past, at least in part because the most recent immigrant influx includes an increased number of women (Fry 2006). The arrival of women, who are more likely to stay, has a significant impact on immigrant communities because women have a major role in the formation of ...

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Testimonio by Loyola

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pp. 203-205

This testimonio is composed from excerpts of an interview conducted by Gonzales-Berry in 2004 in Loyola’s home in Woodburn which she shares with her two children, both of whom were away at college. Loyola was not working at the time because of a chronic illness, and she relied on her children for support. The interview was conducted in Spanish, and excerpts were selected, ...

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Testimonio by Maria Damaris

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pp. 206-207

This testimonio is composed from excerpts of an hour-long interview conducted at the offices of PCUN where Mar

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Testimonio by Marco Antonio Chavez

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pp. 208-209

This testimonio is composed from excerpts of an interview conducted by Jos

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Chapter 6: One-and-a-Half Generation Mexicano Youth: Their Journey to Bicultural Integration

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pp. 210-234

In the previous chapter we explored the numerous challenges immigrant families face in adapting to their new environment. The pressure on children to learn new cultural values and ways of being are often at odds with those of parents who do not speak English and who have limited contacts with members and institutions of the host culture. These parents ...

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Testimonio by Edith Quiroz Molina

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pp. 235-237

This testimonio consists of excerpts taken from an essay commissioned by the authors for a book on 1.5 and second generation immigrants. When she wrote this, Edith was directing a bilingual employment agency she and her husband founded in Portland after their graduation from Oregon State University. The excerpts were selected and arranged by the authors. ...

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Testimonio by Ricardo Larios

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pp. 238-242

This testimonio is the product of an essay commissioned by the authors for a book on 1.5 and second generation immigrants. Ricardo had just recently graduated from Oregon State University when he wrote the piece and was studying for his Masters degree at Willamette University in Salem, where he currently is a public school teacher. The essay appears as written by Ricardo. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 243-253

In the early 2000s the statistical trends that described Oregon’s population growth confirmed the clearly visible presence of Mexican workers and their families in workplaces, at the shopping malls, in the public schools, and around the playgrounds in the city parks. Those statistics moved the state to the top fifteen among states that have become “new immigrant destinations.” ...

Works Cited

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pp. 254-274

Index

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pp. 275-289


E-ISBN-13: 9780870716195
E-ISBN-10: 0870716190
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870715846
Print-ISBN-10: 0870715844

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: B&W photos
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Mexican Americans -- Oregon -- History.
  • Mexican Americans -- Oregon -- Social conditions.
  • Mexican Americans -- Cultural assimilation -- Oregon.
  • Oregon -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Oregon -- Race relations.
  • Oregon -- Politics and government.
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