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Immigration and Techniques of Governance in Mexico and the United States: Recalibrating National Narratives through Comparative Immigration Histories


Immigration histories typically endeavor to describe and hold a nation–state accountable not only for the laws and policies by which it admits some immigrants, but also for those by which it refuses, excludes, or deports other immigrants. This article explores immigration to Mexico and to the United States with attention to its implications for the status of persons, and also for the conventional historical narratives in each country. The article focuses on three techniques of governance that each country has engaged in regard to immigration. These techniques include: 1) the assignment of nationality as a singular attribute of personhood; 2) the use of demonstrable and documentable characteristics as criteria of admission; and 3) centralized registration procedures to monitor and control the immigrant population. The techniques are analyzed together because of their concurrent emergence in each country during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The techniques are also complementary. They form a set that, although not unique to the United States and Mexico, nevertheless illustrates parallels and an interplay between the two countries, and, more broadly, illustrates how immigration presents a common predicament across different times, places, and forms of government.

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1. Bolton Herbert Eugene, “The Epic of Greater America,” American Historical Review XXXVIII: 448–74, reprinted in Hanke Lewis, Do the Americas Have a Common History?: A Critique of the Bolton Theory (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964), 68.

2. Examples of immigration histories that yield conclusions about the moral, political, and cultural character of democracy, sovereignty, or pluralism include: Jacobson David, Immigration Across Borders: Immigration and the Decline of Citizenship (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997); King Desmond, Making Americans: Immigration, Race, and the Origins of the Diverse Democracy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Ngai Mae M., Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); and the classic 1924 text by Kallen Horace M., Culture and Democracy in the United States (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1998).

3. Fahrmeir Andreas, Faron Olivier, and Weil Patrick, Migration Control in the North Atlantic World: The Evolution of State Practices in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution to the Inter-War Period (New York: Berghahn Books, 2003). The authors thank an anonymous reviewer for the observation and the metaphor of “parallel play” (from children's behavior) versus interplay in the evidence this article presents.

4. Renan Ernst, “What is a Nation?” in Becoming National: A Reader, ed. Eley Geoff and Suny Ronald Grigor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 45.

5. Bolton, 68.

6. Scholars in other disciplines have made similar observations, perhaps most notably anthropologist Eric R. Wolf whose vision of humankind as a “totality of interconnected processes” challenges social scientists to think beyond the nation as the basic framing of their inquiries. Wolf Eric R., Europe and the People Without History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 14. See also: Truett Samuel and Young Elliott, eds., Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 123.

7. Gabaccia Donna, “Is Everywhere Nowhere? Nomads, Nations, and the Immigrant Paradigm of the United States History,” The Journal of American History 86 (1999): 1116. See also Wimmer Andreas and Schiller Nina Glick, “Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-building, migration, and the social sciences,” Global Networks 2 (2002): 301.

8. Gabaccia, “Is Everywhere Nowhere?” 1123.

9. Gilderhus Mark T., “U.S.-Latin American Relations, 1898–1941: A Historiographical Review,” in A Companion to American Foreign Relations, ed. Schulzinger Robert D. (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2003, 2006), 134–48.

10. Katz Friedrich, The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, the United States, and the Mexican Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), x. For Katz, the Mexican case is compelling among other national histories throughout the Americas because “only in Mexico…was a violent revolution necessary to obtain the incorporation of middle class into the political process.” Katz, The Secret War in Mexico, 5. His and other accounts of the Mexican Revolution (or Civil War) provide an important historical backdrop to understanding how diplomatic and borderland histories informed immigration and nationality laws in Mexico and the United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. Hall Linda B. and Coerver Don M., Revolution on the Border: The United States and Mexico, 1910–1920 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988); Gilderhus Mark T., Diplomacy and Revolution: U.S.-Mexican Relations Under Wilson and Carranza (Tucson, University of Arizona Press, 1977); and Mark T. Gilderhus, “US-Latin American Relations.”

11. Fitzgerald David, A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages Its Migration (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009); González Gilbert G., Mexican Consults and Labor Organizing: Imperial Politics in the American Southwest (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999); Jaime R. Aguila, “Protecting ‘México de afuera’: Mexican Emigration Policy, 1876–1928 (Ph.D. diss., Arizona State University, 2000); and Cardoso Lawrence A., Mexican Emigration to the United States 1897–1931: Socio-Economic Patterns (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1980). Other scholars such as Mae Ngai have also addressed this labor migration, which she terms “imported colonialism.” Ngai, Impossible Subjects, 129.

12. Scholars interested in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are, however, bringing new attention to the southern Mexican border shared with Guatemala and thereby altering the singular focus on Mexican emigration to the United States with a complementary focus on Mexico as a recipient country. For example, see Laura Ivette Gonzales Cortés' thesis, “Los refugiados guatemaltecos en México y las alternativas al problema,” (Thesis, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,1998).

In recent decades, many Salvadorans have traveled to Mexican border towns to cross into the United States, whereas many Guatemalan immigrants have sought refuge in Chiapas. In 1990, an estimated 356,400 refugees were living in Mexico. The National Geographic film “Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary” (2004), in following the arduous journey of Central Americans traveling through Mexico, illustrates the challenges of seeking refuge in Mexico and the arbitrary attempts by Mexican officials to enforce immigration laws. In June 2006, Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Gerónimo Gutiérrez acknowledged that Mexican immigration laws were “tougher than those being contemplated by the United States.” This comment reflects the dilemma facing Mexican authorities about how to handle the estimated 1.5 million undocumented people crossing the southern Mexican border in the state of Chiapas. These undocumented immigrants include Guatemalans who are perceived as willing to do the jobs that “Mexicans departing for the north no longer want.” Ginger Thompson, “Mexico Worries About Its Own Southern Border,” The New York Times, June 18, 2006, 1.

13. Weber David J., ed., Foreigners in their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973, 2003); Reséndez Andrés, Changing National Identities at the Frontier, Texas and New Mexico, 1800-1850 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Truett and Young, Continental Crossroads; Rachel C. St. John, “Line in the Sand: The Desert Border Between the United States and Mexico, 1848–1934,” (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 2005); Adelman Jeremy and Aron Stephen, “From Borderlands to Borders: Empires: Nation-States, and the Peoples in Between in North American History,” The American Historical Review 14 (1999): 814–41; Hall Linda B. and Coerver Don M., Revolution on the Border: The United States and Mexico, 1910–1920 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988); Gutiérrez Ramón and Young Elliott, “Transnationalizing Borderlands History,” Western Historical Quarterly 41 (2010): 2753; Martínez Oscar J., ed., U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Wilmington: A Scholarly Resources Inc., 1996).

14. Mexican examples include: Reforma constitucional sobre no pérdida de la nacionalidad mexicana (Mexico City: Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, 1999); and Compilación histórica de la legislación migratoria en México, 1821–2002 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Migración, 2002). United States examples include, among others: Calavita Kitty, U.S. Immigration Law and Control of Labor: 1820–1924 (Orlando: Academic Press, 1984); and Calavita Kitty, Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.N.S. (New York: Routledge, 1992).

15. Lee Erika, At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration During the Exclusion Era, 1882–1943 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 2003), 158. See also Salyer Lucy E., Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 129.

16. Contemporary examples include Bonnie Honig's analysis of founding myths and their central figures, and Michael Walzer or Martha Nussbaum's use of evidence from immigration to understand the conditions of possibility for political tolerance of cultural differences. Honig Bonnie, Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); Walzer Michael, On Toleration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997); Nussbaum Martha C., “Kant and Stoic Cosmopolitanism,” Journal of Political Philosophy 5 (1997): 125.

With specific attention to the United States, historian Mae Ngai offers a critique of democratic sovereignty. Through her analysis of continued migrations and tacit acceptance of undocumented immigrants in the United States, she arrives at the characterization of some immigrants as “impossible subjects.” Mae Ngai writes: “Americans want to believe that immigration to the United States proves the universality of the nation's liberal democratic principles; we resist examining the role that American world power has played in the global structures of migration. We like to believe that our immigration policy is generous, but we also resent the demands made upon us by others and we think we owe outsiders nothing.” Ngai, Impossible Subjects, 11.

17. For an overview, see King, Making Americans: Immigration, Race, and the Origins of the Diverse Democracy. Works by Mae Ngai, Erika Lee, Lucy Salyer, Alan Kraut, Neil Foley, George Sánchez and others illustrate the contemporary body of scholarship about ethnic and racial immigrant groups in the United States.

18. The Archivo Migratorio del Instituto National de Migración, a central government archive of Mexican migration record, began a comprehensive digitalization and records management project in 2003; records span to recent decades and are being processed in accordance with privacy and security interests. Archivo Migratorio Central del INM: Futuro con pasado y presente (Mexico City: Secretaría de Gobernación, Instituto Nacional de Migración, 2007), (accessed November 19, 2010).

By contrast to the immigration resources of the Archivo Migratorio in Mexico, emigration resources are more widely available. Scholars such as Jaime Aguila have studied Mexican emigration and emigration policy in detail and, as he points out with regard to the potential for historiography, “the Mexican government viewed emigration within international context,” and “consular personnel envisioned that [societies of emigrants abroad] would become a formal conduit between emigrants and the consulates, as well as a tool to promote Mexican nationalism among expatriate communities.” Jaime Aguila, Diplomatic History, 31 (2) (April 2007), 211, and 218, n44.

19. de Halabe Liz Hamui, coordinator, Los judíos de Alepo en México (Mexico City: Maguén David, 1989); Corinne Azen Krause, “The Jews in Mexico: A History with Special Emphasis on the Period from 1850 to 1930” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1970); Kenny Michael, Virginia García A., Carmen Icazuriaga M., Clara Elena Suárez A., and Gloria Artís E., Inmigrantes y refugiados españoles en México (siglo XX) (Mexico: Ediciones de la casa chata, 1979); Lida Clara E., Inmigración y exilio: Reflexiones sobre el caso español (Mexico: Siglo veintiuno editores, 1997); María Teresa Huerta, “Penetración comercial francesa en México en la primera mitad del siglo XIX,” in Los inmigrantes en el mundo de los negocios, coordinated by Rosa María Meyer and Delia Salazar (Mexico: Plaza y cales editores, 2003); Topik Steven C., “When Mexico Had the Blues: A Transatlantic Tale of Bonds, Bankers, and Nationalists, 1862–1910,” The American Historical Review 105 (2000): 714–38; Buchenau Jürgen, Tools of Progress: A German Merchant Family in Mexico City, 1865-Present (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004); and Mentz Brígida con, Radkau Verena, Scharrer Beatriz, and Turner Guillermo, Los pioneros del imperialismo alemán en México (Mexico: Ediciones de la casa chata, 1982); Zilli José B. Mánica, Italianos en México (Xalapa: Ediciones San José, 1981). For studies on Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arab, Palestinian, Philippine, and Indian immigrant groups in Mexico, see Mishima María Elena Ota, ed., Destino México: Un estudio de las migraciones asiáticas a México, siglos XIX y XX (Mexico City: Colegio de México, 1997).

20. Anaya Delia Salazar, La población extranjera en México (1895–1990): Un recuento con base en los Censos Generales de Población (Mexico City: Insituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1996), 99. For a United States case, Irene Bloemraad documents that the foreign-born population as of 1890 comprised roughly fifteen percent of the United States population and declined to about nine percent by 1940. Bloemraad Irene, Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), Figure 1, 27.

21. Although smaller both in number and in proportion to the national population than their counterparts in the United States, immigrants to Mexico and their children have tended to wield disproportionately significant power in Mexican politics and the Mexican economy. See Alfaro-Velcamp TheresaImmigrant Positioning in Twentieth-Century Mexico: Middle Easterners, Foreign Citizens, and Multiculturalism,” Hispanic American Historical Review 86 (2006): 6191.

22. General Census of Population and Housing of Mexico XII (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estadísta, Geografía, e Informática, 2000), cited in Croucher Sheila, The Other Side of the Fence: American Migrants in Mexico (Austin:University of Texas Press, 2009), 6.

23. Edmunds R. David, Hoxie Frederick E., and Salisbury Neal, The People: A History of Native America (Boston:Houghton-Mifflin, 2007). The authors thank FlorenceMae Waldron for bringing this source to their attention.

24. Vincent Joan, Anthropology and Politics: Visions, Traditions, and Trends (Tucson:University of Arizona Press, 1990), 40. For a complementary discussion of Mexico's “Far North” and how its territories and peoples were imagined in Mexican politics, see Reséndez Andrés, Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 1800–1850 (New York:Cambridge University Press, 2004), 1555.

25. Great Register, San Diego County, CA, August 1879 (San Diego: San Diego Historical Society, 1879). The population of California in 1850, two years after the Mexican–American War, is estimated at 92,597 inhabitants including both Mexican Californios and United States settlers. Gray Paul Bryan, Forster vs. Pico: The Struggle for the Rancho Santa Margarita (Spokane:Arthur H. Clark Co., 1998), 56. See also Treaty with the Republic of Mexico (February 2, 1848), U.S.–Mex., 9 Stat. 922–43 (1848).

26. Fragomen Austin T. Jr. and Bell Steven C., Immigration Fundamentals: A Guide to Law and Practice (New York:Practicing Law Institute, 2001), §1.1. For a critique that distinguishes intentions from effects of quota laws, and restrictionist versus racialist motivations, see Son-Thierry Ly and Patrick Weil, “The antiracist origin of the quota system” The Free Library (March 22, 2010), antiracist origin of the quota system.-a0227181557 (accessed November 27, 2010).

See also Weil Patrick, “Races at the Gate: A Century of Racial Distinctions in American Immigration Policy (1865–1965),” Georgetown Law Review 15 (2001): 625–48; Kang S. Deborah, “Crossing the Line: The INS and the Federal Regulation of the Mexican Border,” in Bridging National Borders in North America (Durham:Duke University Press, 2010), 167198; Stern Alexandra Minna, Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); and Stepan Nancy Leys, “The Hour of Eugenics”: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).

27. Immigration and Nationality Act, Pub. L. No. 82–414, 66 Stat. 987 (1952).

28. Note, however, that as various current, country-specific processing times and numbers of available immigrant visas published monthly in the Visa Bulletin attest, the system retains policies and procedures of categorical restriction and exclusion by nationality. (accessed October 28, 2010).

29. Weil, “Races at the Gates.”

30. Katz, The Secret War in Mexico, x.

31. Jacobson Matthew Frye, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 1998). See also King, Making Americans. See note 62, regarding the Mexican quota law of 1937.

32. Immigration Act of 1891, 26 Stat. 1084, 85 (1909); Diario Oficial de la Federación, December 22, 1908, No. 44, Vol. XCIX, 645–50 (with effective date March 1, 1909), reprinted as Ley de Inmigración de 1909. Compilación histórica (2002), 111 [Hereafter Diario Oficial].

33. See generally, Vázquez Josefina Zoraida and Meyer Lorenzo, The United States and Mexico (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1985).

34. Rodriguez Julia, “South Atlantic Crossings: Fingerprints, Science and the State of the Turn-of-the-Century Argentina,” American Historical Review 109 (2004): 387416, 411.

35. Rodriguez, “South Atlantic Crossings,” 391–92.

36. “Mexican Citizenship of children born in that country of alien parents,” Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Washington. August 9, 1918, RG 85, Immigration and Naturalization Service [hereafter INS], Series A, Part 2.

37. Jerry Garcia, “Japanese Immigration and Community Development in México,” (Ph.D. diss., Washington State University, 1999), Appendix IV, 225.

38. María Elena Ota Mishima, “Características sociales y económicas de los migrantes japoneses en México,” in Destino México, 85, Cuadro 1.

39. Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882, 22 Stat. 58 (1882). Hu-DeHart Evelyn. “Immigrants to a Developing Society: The Chinese in Northern Mexico, 1875–1932,” Journal of Arizona History 21 (1980): 277.

40. Lee Murray K., “The Chinese Fishing Industry of San Diego,” Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Maritime History 35 (2/3) (1999): 613.

41. Zilli, Italianos en México.

42. Navarro Moisés González, Los extranjeros en México y los mexicanos en el extranjero, 1821–1970, Volumen II (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1994), 100.

43. Izquierdo José Jorge Gómez, El movimiento antichino en México (1871–1934): Problemas del racismo y del nacionalismo durante la Revolución Mexicana (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1991), 9092.

44. In 1885, Ignacio Luis Vallarta began drafting the law under the authority of Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Mariscal. Vance John T. and Clagett Helen L., A Guide to the Law and Legal Literature of Mexico (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1945), 191.

45. Ley de extranjería y naturalización (20 de mayo de 1886). Compilación histórica de la legislación migratoria en México 1821–2002 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Migración, 2002), 94 (Art. 1, Section VIII).

46. Ley de extranjería y naturalización (20 de mayo de 1886), 101. This statute parallels the alien land laws popular in United States jurisdictions, including California. Alien Land Act, 1913, Calif. Stats. 1913, p. 206, superceded by CA. Const. Art. 1, § 20 (atended 1974).

47. Ley de extranjería y naturalización (20 de mayo de 1886), Article 3, Section IV, 95.

48. Ley de extranjería y naturalización (20 de mayo de 1886), Chapter 4, Sections 39–40, 100. Also see Augustine-Adams Kif, “Making Mexico: Legal Nationality, Chinese Race, and the 1930s population Census,” Law and History Review (2009): 113–44.

49. Gray, Forster vs. Pico, 76–77.

50. Ibid., 23.

51. United States Constitution, Amendment XIV.

52. Daniels Roger, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life, 2nd ed. (New York:Perennial, 1990, 2002), 270–71.

53. Naturalization Act of June 29, 1906, Pub. L. No. 59–338, 34 Stat. 596 (1906).

54. For an institutional history, see Ngai Mae M., “The Strange Career of the Illegal Alien: Immigration Restriction and Deportation Policy in the United States, 1921–1965,” Law and History Review 21 (2003): 70, n.1

55. See generally, for example, M1613 Naturalization Records, Superior Court, San Diego, CA, Roll 1–14, located at National Archives and Records Administration, Laguna Niguel, CA (hereafter NARA, LN).

56. List of Foreign Sovereignties and Their Rulers, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Department of Commerce and Labor (August 16, 1909), M1613 Naturalization Records, Superior Court, San Diego, CA, Roll 3, NARA, LN. The list names twenty-two foreign sovereignties whose subjects were then ruled by an emperor, sultan, king, queen, or prince, in addition to naming two dozen foreign republics. These sovereigns included, among others, Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia; Nicolas II, Emperor of all the Russias; Muhammed V, Sultan of Turkey; Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands; and Albert, Prince of Monaco.

57. Temporary Quota Act of May 19, 1921, 42 Stat. 5 (1921).

58. Act of May 26, 1924, 43 Stat. 153 (1924).

59. See generally, Keely Charles, “Immigration in the Interwar Period,” in Immigration and U.S. Foreign Policy, eds. Tucker Robert, Keely Charles, and Wrigley Linda (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990), 4450; and Ngai, Impossible Subjects.

60. Immigration and Nationality Act, Pub. L. No. 82–414, 66 Stat. 163 (1952), codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. 101 et. seq. (2009). For a brief summary of federal immigration law, the promulgation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and subsequent amendments and reforms to the Act, see Fragomen and Bell, Immigration Fundamentals.

61. Yankelevich Pablo and Alazraki Chenillo, “La arquitectura de la política de inmigración en México,” in Nación y extranjería: la exclusion racial en las políticas migratorias de Argentina, Brasil, Cuba y México, ed. Yankelevich Pablo (Mexico City:Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2009), 221; and Archivo Migratorio del Instituto National de Migración, exp. 4-350-1935-228B 1 de 3.

62. James B. Stewart, American Consul General, to Secretary of State, November 23, 1937, Document No. 55,609/551, Record Group 85, INS, Series A: Part 2, Reel 17, 2,1.

63. Ibid., 2–3.

64. Diario Oficial, No. 17, Vol. CV, November 19, 1937, Articulo 1.

65. Loyo Gilberto, La politica demográfica de Mexico (Mexico City: Talleres tipograficos de S. Turanzas del Valle, 1935), 374–75. Diario Oficial, No. 13, Vol. XLIII, July 15, 1927.

66. Hart John Mason, Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 504.

67. To illustrate how the concept of good moral character acquired a technical meaning, consider the case of Francisco H. Rodríguez. In June 1919, Rodríguez, a Mexican-born, 27-year old man, was “excluded for having brought a woman to the United States for an immoral purpose, as having admitted the commission of a crime involving moral turpitude and as being a person likely to become a public charge.” Supervising Inspector to Commissioner-General of Immigration, Washington, D.C., United States Department of Labor, Immigration Service, June 10, 1919, Document No. 54,577–748, RG 85, INS, National Archives, Washington, D.C. [hereafter NARA, DC]. During a Board of Special Inquiry, when asked why he did not marry Cipriana Bejarano, Rodríguez responded “because the laws of Mexico are not so strict as in the United States. A man can live with a woman in Mexico and he will not be punished for it.” Board of Special Inquiry, El Paso, Texas in the Matter of Rodríguez, Francisco, June 5, 1919, Document No. 54,577–748, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC, 2. For more on the significance of designation as a public charge, see Patricia Russell Evans, “‘Likely to Become a Public Charge,’ Immigration in the Backwaters of Administrative Law, 1882–1933,” (Ph.D. diss., The George Washington University, 1987).

68. Zolberg Aristide R., A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America (New York:Russell Sage Foundation, Harvard University Press, 2006), 110–13, 264–65.

69. Kraut Alan M., Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (New York:Basic Books, 1994), 51, 55. Immigration Act of March 3, 1891, 26. Stat. 1084 (1891). See also Neuman Gerald L., Strangers to the Constitution: Immigrants, Borders, and Fundamental Law (Princeton:Princeton University Press, 1996), 31, n126.

70. See Alfaro-Velcamp Theresa, So Far From Allah, So Close to Mexico: Middle Eastern Immigrants in Modern Mexico (Austin:University of Texas Press, 2007).

71. Memorandum as to Efforts Made to Perfect an Agreement with the Railways of Mexico Concerning of Aliens, February 3, 1903, Document No. 51,463, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC.

72. A history of the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, translated officially as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is available on its website at: (accessed November 19, 2010).

73. On June 7, 1906, Thompson wrote Mariscal again highlighting contagious diseases and how the Canadian government was helping in the cause to curb Syrian immigration. He wrote that “the Mexican government has always shown much alacrity in cooperating with the United States with respect to the suppression of common evils . . . I would be sincerely pleased to learn of their adoption, or of any other measures which Your Excellency's government may have the goodness to enact regarding the matter.” Exp. 14-28-79, June 30, 1906, Siglo XX, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, located in Mexico City (hereafter SRE).

74. Exp. 14–28–79, July 3, 1906, Siglo XX, SRE.

75. Thompson acknowledged the proposed measures to stem Syrian immigration in a letter to Mariscal dated August 27, 1906. Through Thompson, however, the United States continued asserting pressure on Mexico regarding its immigration policy. Thompson complained in the letter of how a Syrian with trachoma, John Shahadie Jacob, “secured unlawful entry into the United States from Mexico.” He indicated that another Syrian accompanied Mr. Shahadie, but the other Syrian's whereabouts were unknown. Thompson closed the letter stating, “Should these remedial measures meet with the views of Your Excellency's government, I would be sincerely glad to learn of their adoption.” Exp. 14-28-79, August 26, 1906, Siglo XX, SRE.

76. Memorandum as to Efforts Made to Perfect an Agreement with the Railways of Mexico Concerning of Aliens, February 3, 1903, Document No. 51,463, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC, 3.

77. Acting Commissioner, Ellis Island, New York Harbor, N.Y. to United States Department of Labor, Immigration Service, January 24, 1914. Document No. 53,700-388, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC.

78. Acting Commissioner, Ellis Island, New York Harbor, N.Y. to United States Department of Labor, Immigration Service, January 24, 1914. Document No. 53,700-388, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC.

79. Immigrant Inspector Marcus Braun, Mexico City, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Department of Commerce and Labor, May 7, 1907, Document No. 51,564, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC.

80. The Law of September 22, 1908 is referenced in George H. Winters, American Vice Consul United States Department of State, “Review of Mexican Department of Migration Report Entitled: ‘The Migration Service in Mexico’, and Discussing Mexican Migration To and From the United States,” Document No. 812.5511.87, M274, October 25, 1929, U.S. State Department Records, RG 84, National Archives, College Park, MD.

81. Ibid.

82. Navarro Moisés González, Población y sociedad en México (1900–1970), Tomo II (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1974), 37.

83. Ley de Inmigración de 1909. Compilación histórica (2002), 111.

84. Neuman, Strangers to the Constitution, ch. 1. See also Evans, “‘Likely to Become a Public Charge.’”

85. Fragomen and Bell, Immigration Fundamentals, § 2:8.1; 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(f).

86. Act of June 29, 1906, Pub. L. No. 59–338, § 8, 34 Stat. 599 (1906). See also, Daniels, Coming to America, 278.

87. Diario Oficial, No. 52, Vol. XCVII, August 29, 1927. See also Mónica Palma Mora, “‘Una inmigración bienvenida’. Los ejecutivos de empresas extranjeras en México durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX,” in Los inmigrantes en el mundo de los negocios siglos XIX y XX, coordinated by Rosa María Meyer and Delia Salazar (Mexico City: Conaculta, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2003), 237.

88. Navarro Moisés González, Los extranjeros en México y los mexicanos en el extranjero, 1821–1970, Volumen III (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1994), 4142.

89. The Cárdenas administration stressed Mexican nationalism, social justice, and a very centralized state apparatus that built upon the strength of a single political party. Mexico had become nationalistic and increasingly anti-foreign, and Cárdenas grappled with the question of how to deal with the Spanish Civil War, the rise of General Francisco Franco, and fears of the spread of fascism. Peña Luis Medina, Hacia el nuevo estado México, 1920–1994 (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1994, 2000); Kenny M., Icazuriaga C., Suárez C., Artís G., Inmigrantes y refugiados españoles en México siglo XX, (Mexico City: ediciones de la casa chata 8, 1979), 33; Lida Clara E., Inmigración y exilio: Reflexiones sobre el caso español (Mexico City: Colegio de México and Siglo Ventiuno, 1979); Mörner Magnus with Sims Harold, Adventurers and Proletarians: The story of migrants in Latin America (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985), 93; González Navarro, Población y sociedad, Tomo II, 51.

90. Katz Friedrich, “Mexico, Gilberto Bosques and the Refugees,” The Americas 57 (2000), 78.

91. Ibid., 8.

92. Ibid., 2.

93. Breitman Richard and Kraut Alan M., American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933–1945 (Bloomington:Indiana University Press, 1987), 9 n26.

94. Ibid., 63, 199, 200, 212, 229

95. Ibid., 241–42 n23 (President's Secretary File: Confidential File, State Department, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York).

96. Anderson Benedict, “Census, Museum, Map,” in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York:Verso Press, 2001), 165–85; Scott James C., Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1998); Anderson Margo J., The American Census: A Social History (New Haven:Yale University Press, 1988); and McKeown Adam M., Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalizations of Borders (New York:Columbia University Press, 2008).

97. Yankelevich Pablo, “Nación y extranjería en el México revolucionario,” Cuicuilco Nueva Epoca 11 (31) (mayo–agosto 2004): 105–33.

98. For the list of illnesses, see Moisés González Navarro, Población y Sociedad, Tomo II, 42.

99. John Q. Wood, American Consul in Charge, “New immigration regulations affecting immigrants entering Mexico,” Document No. 812.55/63, M274, October 27, 1922, U.S. State Department Records, RG 84, NARA, College Park, MD.

100. Ibid.

101. Yankelevich and Alazraki, “La arquitectura de la política de inmigración en México,” 211–12.

102. Diario Oficial, No. 13, Vol. XLIII, July 15, 1927.

103. Sims Harold Dana, The Expulsion of Mexico's Spaniards 1821–1836 (Pittsburgh:University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990), 1617.

104. María Elena Ota Mishima, Destino México, 12–13.

105. Ley de Migración de 1930, Compilación histórica, 174.

106. Yankelevich Pablo, “Extranjeros indeseables en México (1911–1940). Una aproximación cuantitativa a la aplicación del artículo 33 constitutional,” Historia Mexicana LIII, 53 (3) (enero–marzo, 2004), 707.

107. Pablo Yankelevich, “Extranjeros indeseables,” Gráfica 8, 729.

108. With respect to the United States, see Mink Gwendolyn, The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917–1942 (Ithaca:Cornell University Press, 1995), 1126.

109. Lissak Rivka Shpak, Pluralism & Progressives: Hull House and the New Immigrants 1890–1919 (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1989).

110. American Vice Consul John S. Littell prepared on behalf of the Departments of the Interior and Labor. May 21, 1934. Document No. 55,875/180, RG 85, INS, NARA, DC, 2.

111. Alien Registration Act of 1940, Pub. L. No. 76-670, 43 Stat. 670 (1940).

112. Letter from Earl G. Harrison, Director of Registration, INS, to Every Alien in the United States of 1940, “The National Registration of Aliens: Instructions for Registration and the Specimen Form, Form AR-1” on file with Mission Indian Agency Central Classified Files, 1920–53, NARA, LN.

113. Letter from Earl G. Harrison (1940).

114. United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service. Specimen Form–Alien Registration, Form AR-1 (1940).

115. Alien Registration Act of 1940, Pub. L No. 76–670, 43 Stat 670 (1940); Letter from Earl Harrison (1940).

116. Act to prohibit the coming of Chinese Persons into the United States, 27 Stat. 25 (1892); Act of March 2, 1929, 45 Stat. 1512 (1929). Ngai, Impossible Subjects, 82.

117. Alien Enemy Act of 1798, 1 Stat. 577 (July 6, 1798), codified at 50 U.S.C. §§ 21–24 (2006).

118. Cooperstein Theodore M., “Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer: Internment of Enemy Aliens in the Present Conflict,” Dartmouth Law Journal 7 (2009): 295306.

119. Presidential Proclamation of April 6, 1917, 40 Stat. 1654 (1917). See also Maria Sakovich, “When the ‘Enemy’ Landed at Angel Island,” The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration 41 (2009): (accessed October 11, 2010).

120. Farnam Julie, US Immigration Laws Under the Threat of Terrorism (New York:Algora Publishing, 2005), 72. American–Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, “ADC Immigration Law Advisory on Registration with INS,” (November 7, 2002).

121. Edward Alden, “Arab ‘Registry’ Upheld: Policy About Immigration, Not Counter-Terrorism,” New America Media (October 7, 2008),_not_counter-terrorism/ (accessed August 24, 2009).

122. Ibid.

123. Hegemony can be defined as “a dominant ideology that has been naturalized and, having contrived a tangible world in its image, does not appear to be ideological at all.” Comaroff John and Comaroff Jean, Ethnography and the Historical Imagination (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), 29.

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Law and History Review
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