This article explores the history of Chinese migrants in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands and the contemporary Chinese cultural imprint in the landscape of Mexicali, Mexico. A narrative of the experiences of Chinese migrants in the initial founding of Mexicali in the early twentieth century is constructed through historical sources and photographs, while the contemporary extent of Chinese-themed businesses and other cultural spaces in Mexicali’s Chinatown district is presented in a map based on fieldwork conducted in 2011. Chinese migrants faced a number of challenges in Mexicali and the larger Mexico-U.S. borderland region largely resulting from the policies of exclusion and inclusion that circumscribed their movements. The historical experience of Chinese migrants in building the economy of Mexicali and the larger Mexico-U.S. borderland region is therefore especially pertinent in understanding the processes and policies that “harden” the Mexico-U.S. boundary today.


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pp. 62-79
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