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Making the Chinese MexicanGlobal Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands$
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Grace Delgado

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778145

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778145.001.0001

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Myriad Patbways and Common Bonds

Myriad Patbways and Common Bonds

(p.130) 5 Myriad Patbways and Common Bonds
Making the Chinese Mexican
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines how Chinese in southern Arizona dealt with the reinscription of nativism. Whereas mestizaje and Sinophobia shaped the Mexican nationalist imagery in opposition to Sonoran Chinese, numerical immigration quotas, specifically the National Origins Act of 1924, created and privileged “whiteness” as a race category and as a criterion for legal entry into the United States. With the near exclusion of all Asians from U.S. shores and the virtual closure of the U.S. southern border to unrestricted crossing, relations between Chinese and Mexican fronterizos grew strained. Differences in legal status, political power, and resources began to distinguish Chinese from Mexicans even as each group had become, in the words of historian Mae Ngai, “impossible subjects,” a people whose presence in the United States was a political reality and economic necessity but whose legal membership in the nation was unattainable. In the absence of citizenship through naturalization and in the face of harsher immigration laws, southern Arizona Chinese recast the boundaries of community and family life toward Chinese-based social networks.

Keywords:   Chinese migrants, southern Arizona, nativism, immigration quotas, National Origins Act, social networks, immigration laws, citizenship

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