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Waiting On Washington: Central American Workers in the Nation's Capital

Terry Repak

Publication Year: 1995

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii

List of Tables and Maps

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi

Without the help and support of many people, this project would never have come to fruition. In particular, Maria Patricia Fernandez-Kelly provided inspiration, encouragement throughout, and practical advice for securing research grants. Peggy Barlett and Walter Adamson gave timely comments and...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-22

Washington, D.C., is the seat of government, where laws are crafted to define which citizens of foreign countries are allowed to live and work in the United States. The city is also headquarters for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and other enforcement agencies that were established to...

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2. Portrait of a Central American Sending Country

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pp. 23-48

Despite a long tradition of migration within and between the Central American countries, the recent pattern in which men and women migrate to more distant countries (such as the United States) is a relatively new phenomenon. The smallest...

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3. Portrait of a U.S. Receiving City

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pp. 49-72

Only in recent decades, as increasing numbers of Central Americans were leaving their countries because of internal wars, human rights abuses, and economic hardship, has Washington, D.C., become a magnet for international migrants. The nation's capital held few attractions for immigrants in the...

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4. Labor Recruitment in the Nation's Capital

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pp. 73-92

Lucia Herrera treasured her job as a housekeeper with a family from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) when they were stationed in San Salvador in the late 1950s. Their home provided a refuge for the single mother, since Lucia and her daughter were then still living in her parents'...

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5. Working Women and Men in Washington's Labor Market

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pp. 93-124

Early on in their sojourn in the United States, Central American women are forced to come to grips with the realization that they will confront more obstructions in the labor market than their husbands, brothers, and partners do. The vignette...

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6. Manipulating New Immigration Laws

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pp. 125-158

Once new immigrants successfully negotiate the border crossing and gain entry into the United States, the process of settling into a strange city, securing passable documents, and finding jobs ensues. Undocumented Central Americans hardly cower in fear of detention and deportation every time they venture ...

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7. New Roles in a New Landscape

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pp. 159-176

The entire process of migration incites dramatic transformations in women's and men's attitudes about their work, their gender roles, and relationships within the family. Wage work in the United States is simply one change-inducing element in a broader social-cultural context where women find...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 177-196

Somehow within a single generation, Washington, D.C., managed to attract entire villages, households, and extended families from EI Salvador and other Central American countries, to the point that it could claim the second largest Salvadoran...

Appendix: Methodology

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pp. 197-202


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pp. 203-224


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pp. 225-238


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pp. 239-243

E-ISBN-13: 9781439903858

Publication Year: 1995