The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of the relationship between immigration and poverty in the eight-state region that comprises the 'Northwest Area,' and to make recommendations for poverty alleviation. The states are Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.
This paper presents an overview of the relationship between immigration and poverty in the Northwest Area and makes recommendations for poverty alleviation. The author draws on secondary sources and shows that the influx of foreign-born residents in rural areas contributed to labor force growth, rejuvenated local economies, strengthened tax bases, and reversed declining population and school enrollments. Despite these economic influences, many foreign-born workers did not benefit. High concentrations of immigrants in small towns and high rates of poverty among first and subsequent generations of Latinos have led to stresses on local services and schools. Immigrants face additional barriers for upward socioeconomic mobility, including greater educational disparities with native residents, weakened labor unions, and the segmentation of jobs into those requiring high-skilled workers and those requiring low-skilled workers. The author recommends the following policies: reinstatement of safety nets of eligibility for social benefits for non-citizens that were removed under state and federal welfare reform, support for major school and workplace education reforms, attention to workers’ rights, strengthening rural schools and improving Latino graduation rates, and increasing the number of trained interpreters and community advocates, bilingual education programs in schools, and language accessible welfare-to-work and job training programs.
Margaret A. Villanueva
This study of 100 Latina immigrants and 58 social service providers in four central Minnesota towns contributes to the growing literature on Latinos in Minnesota by providing a demographic profile of Latina immigrants in greater Minnesota and offering insights into their social needs and the barriers to obtaining social services. It also identifies assets or skills of Latinas as well as communication issues relevant to their interactions with service providers in the public service and non-profit arenas. The report’s focus on Latinas helps to close a gap in the emerging literature that ignores the gender-specific experiences and assets of Latinas. Another main goal of research is to present data that may inform future public service procedures, policies and practices through improved communications.
This paper attempts to problematize the black-white paradigm (the binary paradigm) in ways that demonstrate how it falls short of capturing important aspects of Latino communities. Considering several ways in which the binary paradigm is manifested and perpetuated, the paper argues that the paradigm does not reflect racial reality and how its pervasive use is potentially and, perhaps intentionally, used as a source to suppress coalitions that can work against white supremacy. The paper finds that, though there are still clear divisions between certain segments of whites and African Americans in the United States, much has changed since W.E.B. DuBois prophesied that the problem of the 20th Century is that of “the color-line,” including our understanding of race. Race and racism, in their present manifestations, are far too complex to analyze and comprehend through a paradigm that posits a singular color line. Instead, drastically changing demographics are producing a social revolution wherein secular traditions of doing business, forming alliances, defining family and community, and in generating public choices and policies, will be transformed. Thus, the coming future poses a critical juncture for the nation to convert the current challenges of creating a multidimensional national identity that reflects our racial reality into future opportunities.
The purpose of this article is to describe the five success factors that ten low-income, urban Puerto Rican high school students attributed to their high academic achievement. These success factors are: 1) the acquisition of social capital and academic motivation through religiosity and participation in school and community-based extracurricular activities; 2) student affirmation of Puerto Rican identity; 3) the influence of mothers; 4) the potential for caring teachers to influence high academic achievement; and 5) membership in multicultural/multilingual peer networks. Additionally, these success factors and their implications for Latina/o education are discussed. Many of the students in the study credit their high academic achievement to their involvement with a Catholic or Pentecostal-based religious institution and/or other kinds of extracurricular activities. These activities also furthered the establishment of community/social networks that facilitated their access to resources like homework help and mentorship. All the high achieving students in this study strongly affirmed their Puerto Rican identity by expressing they were proud to be “Boricua” or “Puertorriqueña/o,” and that their peers also viewed them as being Puerto Rican. This ethnic affirmation challenges the belief held by some researchers who contend that being a good student from an involuntary migrant group is ultimately perceived by other students of color as “acting White.”
Carlos Ponce & Brendon Comer
Some health researchers use the concept of acculturation to try to explain health behaviors or illnesses prevalent among Hispanic people. In this research “Hispanic culture” has often been represented as being associated with inadequate health beliefs and behaviors and poor health. In much of this research, Hispanic culture is viewed as hindering healthy practices. At the same time, other acculturation studies find that Hispanic culture provides health-enhancing elements, such as less permissive sexual behavior, better birth outcomes, or less smoking and substance use. The effect of Hispanic culture on individual health could prove to be an important social element to scrutinize. But we believe that acculturation studies are seriously limited by several basic conceptual and methodological problems that need to be addressed before such knowledge can be achieved.
Katherine Fennelly &Helga Leitner
Minnesota has often been characterized as a largely “White” state, with little diversity, populated by persons of European ancestry--an image that is not wholly undeserved. During the past decade, however, Minnesota has experienced a rapid increase in foreign-born residents of largely non-European ancestry that has received much attention in the print and broadcast media. In this paper, the authors argue that the diversification of rural Minnesota is largely the result of the restructuring of the food processing industry, and the subsequent recruitment of low wage laborers. They begin with a brief discussion of demographic changes in the state as a whole, and in rural Minnesota. This is followed by an analysis of the relationship between the location of food processing industries and the diversity of the population, using different measures of diversity. They conclude with a discussion of the benefits and challenges that “new diversity” poses for rural communities.
This study explored how young Chicano fathers perceived fatherhood, constructed the meaning of fatherwork, and how fatherwork was influenced by structural and cultural forces. This paper relies on grounded theory techniques and in-depth interviews of thirteen informants who work with Latino families and children. The author found that not all teen fathers were negligible in their children’s lives -- some contributed meaningfully and dutifully to their children’s lives. Fatherhood for these young men was shaped by their perceptions of fatherhood, which in turn influenced their fatherwork. Mothers influenced their sons’ new role as fathers, especially in cases where their sons had no meaningful and/or positive relationships with their own fathers. Finally, fathers had a desire to be involved in their children’s lives in meaningful ways and made many important and valuable contributions to the lives of their children and families. Those contributions were best understood within cultural and structural contexts. Some of the stories in this study represent extreme circumstances marked by poverty, crime, violence, drug abuse, and lack of educational, health, and employment resources. These conditions have not been endemic to Chicano or Latino communities, but have become increasingly part of the landscape of urban centers that have been hardest hit by the restructuring of the Midwest’s economy.
The purpose of this article is threefold: 1) to describe the history and mission of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Alternative High School (PACHS) in Chicago; 2) to highlight students’ voices and their descriptions of the “school as sanctuary” concept; and 3) to describe teachers’ experiences of maintaining the high school as a sanctuary for its students. The study employs analysis of school-related historical and curricular documents and semi-structured one-on-one interviews with eight participants who were involved with the school as students, alumnus or teachers. Although the school was initially founded as a site of Puerto Rican pedagogical resistance, it now fulfills the affective and cultural needs of its many Puerto Rican, Mexican and African-American students. All students interviewed, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, expressed the school-as-sanctuary concept through four characteristics they felt were important concerning their PACHS experiences. First, teachers established caring relations with students by offering them mentorship, counseling and holding them to high academic expectations. In turn, students reciprocated this care by stating their desire to give back to their communities. Second, the high school’s familial-type environment was important to the students because it provided them more opportunities to form academic and personal support networks with peers, which contributed to their “sense of belonging” in school. Third, students were appreciative of the high school’s gang-free safe space. Fourth, the high school’s curriculum was structured to encourage students to explore, discover, celebrate and affirm their respective racial and ethnic realities within and outside school.
This paper contributes to the emerging community view of the farm labor problem by examining the economic impact of migrant seasonal farmworkers (MSFW) to the labor market on the rural areas of Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties in southeastern Michigan. It provides a model of farm labor as an economic development event to measure the economic impacts on rural areas from the presence of MSFWs. MSFW-dependent agriculture in southeastern Michigan is no longer just sugar-beet production; it is quite diverse and demands for MSFWs cut across a large variety of field operations. Thirty-nine of the forty-six labor-intensive crops grown in the state are grown in Michigan’s southeastern region. Interest in foreign workers is growing and the H-2A program is slowly beginning to take hold in Michigan.
Ann V. Millard, Isidore Flores, Nancy Ojeda-Macias, Laurie Medina, Lawrence Olsen, Sandy Perry
A survey of residents of farm labor camps in Michigan shows that they bring different kinds of knowledge to bear on issues of pesticide safety. A survey of 188 migrant agricultural workers shows that those who are the most knowledgeable are specialists in farm work, favor Spanish over English, and participate in out-of-state migration to jobs in Florida and Texas. Those who know less about pesticide safety had worked outside agriculture as well as on farms in Michigan. Education and gender were not related to knowledge of pesticide safety, but they were dimensions of variation in different parts of the migrant stream. Statistical analysis and ethnographic information suggest that both formal and practical knowledge create the differences among workers in their levels of knowledge of pesticide safety.
Marvi S. Lacar
America’s agribusiness employs 1.6 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers who toil for low wages under high risk conditions. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers face high health risks due to labor, geographic, economic, as well as cultural, and sociological factors. For these reasons, many migrant workers rely on federal, state, and community agencies not only for medical and health-related assistance, but also for benefits necessary for their maintenance in daily affairs. However, recent welfare reforms (passed by the 104th Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996) placed new restrictions on the types of benefits available to both legal and undocumented immigrants. Since a significant percentage of migrant workers are not United States citizens, the new law affects many of them. Parts I and II of this paper include an overview of the Title IV provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 and their implications for immigrants’ access to federal and state benefits, specifically health care access among migrant farmworkers. Part III provides empirical data, testimony and observations to illustrate the socio-economic background of farmworkers in five Southwest Michigan camps and an assessment of the Act’s impact on them.
Vivian D. Roeder & Ann Millard
This study investigates Latino farmworkers in Michigan in regard to “occupational cycles,” defined as changes in types of jobs during the year. Data for this study came from a survey of 350 residents of farm labor camps in 12 counties in Michigan. Of labor camp residents, 99% were Latinos (mostly Mexican Americans) and 67% wintered in regions to the south, mostly Texas and Florida. Nearly all women and two-thirds of men lived with family members in households in the labor camps. Statistical tests included cluster analysis and tests of difference of means and proportions including partitioning of chi square and a post hoc test for chi square equality of proportion. Over one-third of study participants had nonagricultural jobs during the preceding year. An unexpectedly high percentage of women had off-farm jobs (42%). The percentage did not differ statistically from that of men (35%). All the jobs were low-paying, but the status of women’s off-farm jobs was higher than that of men’s. Women with off-farm jobs had worked in significantly more states than other women, typically including Texas rather than Florida, in contrast to men with nonagricultural jobs, who tended to have worked in Florida. Education was not related to women’s employment patterns although men with off-farm jobs had significantly more education than others. These findings show that workers in the migrant streams reaching the Midwest are more diverse in employment than expected, and that this complexity characterizes women working in the nonfarm sector as well as men. Furthermore, the position of women migrant workers in generating income for their households is more important than expected.
Roberto M. De Anda
This study compares the causes and consequences of employment instability among Mexican-origin women, White women, and White men. Data for the analysis comes from the work experience supplement in the March 1995 file of the Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement documents the respondent’s year-long labor force activity. Respondents who had an interruption in employment, or involuntarily worked part-time during the entire year, are said to have experienced employment instability. Using logistic regression, results show that Mexican-origin women with low levels of schooling, immigrants, and those employed in the periphery services sector are highly vulnerable to employment instability. Earnings determination models revealed that employment instability exerts a heavier penalty on Mexican-origin women, compared to their White counterparts, net of human capital endowments, and economic sector location.
Rudy Hernandez, Marcelo Siles, and Refugio I. Rochin
This paper aims at understanding Latino youth challenges and concentrates on: 1) an assessment of the demographic transformation which highlights the importance of studying the Latino population in general; 2) an examination of the role of Latino youth in the changing national context; 3) an overview of Latino youth in terms of the official definition of who they are and a discussion of the growing debate over Latino identity and Hispanicity; and 4) an examination of Latino diversity and unity. The authors also discuss the reasons why national policies like immigration and welfare reform heighten awareness of Latinos. They also examine some troubling socioeconomic indicators that challenge Latinos as a whole, such as problems with low income, education, unemployment, deviance, juvenile crime, etc. They found that Latino youth are not achieving the type of education that prepares them for better paying, high skill, professional jobs. They are facing problems of poverty, family dysfunction, and deviant behavior, at least on par with other ethnic groups or even to a greater degree. They also found that despite these concerns, most Latino youth possess the skills ideally suited for a global world, namely the skills of being bilingual, multicultural, and acute awareness of social changes within local communities. The authors argue that Latino youth represent a critical part of this nation’s future leaders and workers and are increasingly needed by an aging population in a global world of more trade and international competition. They call for a full-scale blueprint investment in Latino youth and their future.
Robert P. Moreno
This study examines the teaching behaviors of Mexican American mothers using an “everyday” and “school related” tasks. The study focuses on 1) What are the differences in teaching behaviors among Mexican Americans across tasks, 2) instructional changes over time, 3) changes in teaching behavior relating to children’s performance and the influence of maternal education on instruction. The sample consisted of 37 Mexican American mother-child dyads. The children’s mean age was 50.8 months (SD= 6.1). The results indicate that Mexican American mothers alter their instruction across time and according to the task at hand. Under everyday conditions, the mothers’ relied primarily on the use of various verbal utterances such as commands, labeling, directives and verbal corrections to guide and maneuver children’s activity. Under the school task condition, the mothers relied on the use of non-verbal behaviors, particularly visual cues and physical corrections. The mothers also instructed their children in a “complimentary” fashion, altering their general strategy with respect to the demand on the child. Regardless of the task, however, mothers tended to follow an overall instructional pattern that is consistent with that proposed by a Vygotskian framework. Finally, the study found the mothers’ education level was associated with her teaching behaviors under the everyday task, but not the school task.
Victor Garcia & Laura G. Martinez
This working paper addresses the unprecedented growth of the foreign and U.S.-born Mexican-descent population in non-metropolitan and agricultural areas in the United States. It is organized into four sections. This first part of the paper is a general discussion of immigration from Guanajuato, Mexico, to these areas of the country. The concentration of Mexicans in non-metropolitan and agricultural areas is examined in the second section. The third part describes examples of this concentration in two communities in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the fourth and last section, it is suggested that peasants from Guanajuato and other compatriots not only immigrate to these areas, many migrate in order to continue practicing subsistence agriculture in their homeland. Migration allows them to pursue this important traditional economic activity.
Margaret Villanueva, Brian Erdman, & Larry Howlett
In the mid-1990s, the congressional Republican majority and Gov. Pete Wilson of California placed the blame for a falling standard of living on Latino immigrants, urban African-Americans, and so-called “welfare abuse.” Although a booming economy and low unemployment rates lessened the political pressure to blame immigrants and the working poor for social problems, it remains unlikely that the benefits of economic expansion will accrue to lower-income households. This working paper examines income, education, and household/family organization from 1980 to 1990, with a special focus on Latinos and African-Americans in Chicago and Kansas City. It suggests areas for further research when comparing how ethnic groups fare in “World Cities” such as Chicago in relation to smaller, less “globalized” towns and cities in the Midwest. The paper also provides ample bibliographical references regarding Latinos in the Midwest, an increasingly important research area where much work remains undone about past, present, and future Latino communities and neighborhoods. Once the U.S. Census for 2000 has been completed and published, will we find that a strong economy and “welfare reform” has improved conditions for African-Americans and Latinos? The authors argue that a better understanding of the insertion of each group into its specific urban socioeconomic context is crucial to developing collaborative strategies and policies to unite, rather than divide, the African-American and Latino communities of Midwestern cities.
This article compares the responses to globalization by a Latina entrepreneur and a Latina labor advocate in the border city of El Paso, Texas. The two cases illustrate contrasting, yet inevitably related responses to the polarization generated by the ongoing process of international economic integration. As the local economy of that city becomes more immediately linked to global markets, business opportunities for new entrepreneurs coincide with massive displacement of garment workers, most of whom are Latinas. This article, beyond rigid ideological demarcations or automatic denunciations, uses ethnographic descriptions to contextualize the two involvements in reference to the sweeping magnitude of ongoing changes. The changes concern new economic parameters, suggesting class and gender reformulations as well as new avenues for local interventions.
Robert P. Moreno & Jose A. Lopez
The present study examined Latina mothers' acculturation and education levels with respect to various sociocultural, personal, and contextual factors related to mothers' level of parental involvement. The sample consisted of 158 Latina mothers, who were the primary care providers of their first grade children. The results indicated that although less acculturated Latinas reported less knowledge about school activities and more barriers to involvement, they also report high levels of perceived efficacy relevant to parental involvement, higher educational expectations, and greater spousal support. The findings highlight the importance of examining the within-groups differences related to Latino populations and questions prevalent assumptions regarding the role of acculturation with regard to parental involvement.
Carol Fimmen, Burton Witthuhn, Jeff Crump, Michael Brunn, Gloria Delaney-Barmann, Debi Riggins, María Gutierrez, Dan Schabilion, Britta Waters
This paper examines the demographic pattern of Hispanic migration to Illinois, the forces which encouraged this migration and population growth, and the impact it has on societal institutions. It first presents demographic data on population and growth, educational attainment and dropout rates, economic patterns, and population and diversity in Illinois. It then considers a case study of Hispanic population growth and its impact on local institutions in one rural Illinois town. Several observations are drawn from this examination of Hispanic demographic change in Illinois. Without a strong attractive force, people are unlikely to move and resettle. The smaller the community and the larger the potential of new employment bases, the greater will be the disruption of new settlers. On the other hand, the more unsettling the impact of new settlers might be, the greater will be their positive economic impact in the community. The analysis takes on a special emphasis when the persons recruited to meet an employment need are easily identified as non-native to a community. Difference has always been an ally of fear. Thus, skin color, facial characteristics, stature, language, or any other easily identifiable difference can be a source of rejection. Negative community interaction will occur where person-to-person contact is unavoidable. On the other hand, every community will have individuals willing to reach out to welcome strangers. No single institution or entity can, by itself, bring about the integration of an alien populace into a small town. It takes the efforts of many individuals and organizational structures.
This paper analyzes the way nationalism, citizenship, and the Puerto Rican diaspora intersect with delinquency and violence, converging upon the “I” that is constructed autobiographically in Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets. This paper also focuses on the history of the collective, or the attempts to collectivize, anthologize, and categorize the diverse opus that is Puerto Rican literature. In doing so the author sheds light on the way in which attempts at individual “self-representation” via autobiography are necessarily implicated in the way non-white ethnic outgroups are constructed and represented in dominant culture, by and through the nation.
This study investigated the influence that family and community cultures have on the teaching and learning of science in an after-school program. The Family Science Project provided an environment for third and fourth grade children to learn science with their parents, other adults, and middle school students. Sessions were held once a week for about one and half hours for 6-8 weeks in Fall and Spring semesters (1992-94.) The middle-school students, called the “Junior Scientists,” assisted elementary children and at the same time learned science with them and with the adults. The 20 participants were interviewed at the beginning of the program and at the end of one year. The researcher observed all the Family Science sessions and took descriptive field notes. Students’ and parents’ logs were also collected. Results indicated that the self-esteem of children as well as their parents had gone up. The assistance given by the “Junior Scientists,” and the opportunity to wear white lab coats provided a conducive environment for younger children to learn science and gain a positive image of themselves as “scientists.” The interaction with the younger children helped the “Junior Scientists” develop a positive attitude toward science and meaningful science skills. The parents, who had poor images of themselves as scientists, were able to build up confidence and to develop positive images. They also believed that this intervention helped to direct their children to being more attentive in their science and math classes. The Family Science Project in Lansing was presented in two sessions, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening on the same day (Thursday) of the week for the convenience of the parents and children.
Aurora L. Morales
In the process of writing, I chose to make myself visible as a historian with an agenda, but also as a subject of this history, and one of the traumatized seeking to recover herself. My own work became less about creating a reconstructed historical record and more about my own relationship to history, my questions and challenges, my mapping of ignorance and contradiction, my anger, sorrow and exhilaration. To testify, through my personal responses to them, to how the official and renegade stories of the past impact Puerto Rican women. To explore by sharing how I had done so in my own life, the ways that recaptured history could be used as a tool of recovery from a multitude of blows. In writing Remedios, I made myself the site of experimentation, and engaged in a process of decolonizing my own relationship to history as one model of what was possible. As I did so, I evolved a set of understandings or instructions to myself about how to do this kind of work, a kind of curandera's handbook of historical practice. The rest of this essay is that handbook.
This report profiles farm-labor use patterns in Michigan and the benefits of farm labor to Michigan agriculture and rural areas. It also profiles the migrant and seasonal farmworker population in the state, identifies pressing issues and problems, and suggests ways to stabilize the agricultural labor market. The report finds that in 1997, 96,000 hired and contract farmworkers were hired on 40% of all of Michigan’s 46,000 farms. Farmworker employment is concentrated in the larger farms and in the southwestern part of the state. The overwhelming majority of farmworkers are of Mexican origin. Michigan’s hired farmworkers did better than other farmworkers in the country, but still reported weekly earnings equal to 69% the earnings of U.S. wage and salary workers. Migrant farmworkers had weekly earnings equal to 57% that of wage and salary workers. Housing and health continue to be major concerns of the migrant and seasonal farmworker populations. Other concerns include immigration issues, discrimination, wage complaints, employment disputes, access to service programs, and others. As is the case nationally, Michigan’s agricultural labor market trends point to an oversupply of agricultural labor, with a larger proportion of undocumented workers. The report concludes with recommendations for stabilizing this workforce, including: 1) Extending the same protections afforded all working people under existing state labor laws and regulations; 2) Enforcing state labor laws more effectively and improving farmworker access to the justice system; and 3) Promoting better wages, benefits, and working and housing conditions to attract and stabilize the agricultural labor force.