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Migration Networks and the Processes of Community Transformation Pacific Seaboard: Arvin, California and Woodburn, Oregon CUMBRE “Understanding Immigration.

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Presentation on theme: "Migration Networks and the Processes of Community Transformation Pacific Seaboard: Arvin, California and Woodburn, Oregon CUMBRE “Understanding Immigration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Migration Networks and the Processes of Community Transformation Pacific Seaboard: Arvin, California and Woodburn, Oregon CUMBRE “Understanding Immigration and the Changing Communities of the Americas” University of Nebraska, Omaha April, 2007 Labor Camp to Main Street Panel Edward Kissam Senior Researcher Aguirre Division, JBS International

2 Transnational Migration Network Linkages and Community Transformation  Our New Pluralism project conducted case studies of 6 rural communities in the U.S. and how immigration is transforming them. Field research took place 2001-2003.  There is a good deal of research on network- mediated linkages between migrant-sending and migrant-receiving communities, there is less on diversity within migrant-receiving communities  Two axes are needed for visualizing diversity among migrant-receiving communities: “vertical” (temporal) and “horizontal” (cross-sectional)

3 A Continuum of Waves of Migration  From 1990-2000, 19 “new settlement” states (all of them rural) experienced an average 159% growth in immigrant population; another 3 rural states fell into the 90-100% growth range. The social landscape of rural America is changing dramatically.  But migration from rural Mexico to the rural U.S. is not new. The Bracero program was important—but so were other migrant streams—via Texas and via “direct” migration circuits  The roots of the contemporary transformation of rural American agricultural communities date back more than half a century--to the earliest days of modern large-scale agribusiness from the 1920’s onward

4 Drawn by Agribusiness, Mexicanos, Okies Converged in Arvin, California  Arvin was founded 1908, with 90 acres of walnut. By 1921, DiGiorgio expanded to 6,000+ acres of plums and grapes  By 1936, a few families of Mexicanos, recruited by local troqueros, from 1942 onward, Braceros, by 1944, 8% of heads of household were of Mexican origin. Sunset Camp built in 1938 for influx of Okies  From 1961 onward, Tejanos settled out of the “long-haul migrant circuit” throughout the U.S.—including Arvin  From the early 1980’s, Oaxaquenos from Sinaloa and Baja California began settling  In 2002-2003, 80% of HH are Mexicanos, another 9% 2 nd or 3 rd generation--Mexican-Americans

5 At the End of the Oregon Trail: Woodburn’s Small Farmers  In the 1920’s Woodburn had “100 or so” households of small farmers—”times were tough”, “120 acres was considered large”  By the 1950’s Woodburn was “Berry Capital of the World” and by 1957 Tejanos were settling out of the long-haul migrant circuit (which had included hops and apples in WA) as well as strawberries and cane berries in Oregon  Russian “Old Believers” arrived in the 1960’s and 1970’s (via China, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Turkey) and moved rapidly into farm labor contracting, joining Tejano troqueros.  In the 1970’s Tankersley began recruiting Mixtecos in Juxtlahuaca and Tlaxiaco area and by 1988, they began settling out in Woodburn and the Willamette Valley.  In 2000, Woodburn “discovered” it was a minority-majority community and began to grapple seriously with different dimensions of diversity (age, income, ethnicity, language)

6 Incorrect Mental Models of “Community” Hinder Sound Rural Social Policy  In Arvin, Woodburn, and many other rural U.S. communities, “community” is a standing wave, a nexus where different groups converge and interact. Change is constant  These newly pluralistic communities are nodes in transnational migration networks. Reference to “community transformation” is not an exaggeration.  What were small farming hamlets during the Depression became communities with many Mexican and Mexican- Americans at the end of WW II. More than 90% of Arvin’s and Woodburn’s current residents are of Mexican origin.  We need to think and talk of mutual adaptation, co-evolution, and community development—not assimilation.

7 Quasi-Racial Analyses of Diversity Obscure Crucial Realities of Community Dynamics  Historical conflicts between mestizo and indigenous populations  Emergence of pan-indigenous identity—in Baja California and throughout the Pacific Seaboard  A broad spectrum of Mexican-American identities in terms of biculturalism--attitudes and interactions vis-a-vis Mexicanos  Socioeconomic diversity among Mexican immigrants— especially between migrants from rural or urban areas  Extended family/migration network affiliation and resources of “bonding” social capital and experiences settling in a community  Workplace context, neighborhood context, “civic recruitment” networks, experience with community institutions and consequent accumulation of “bridging” social capital

8 Implications of Community Diversity  Access to “bonding” social capital inherent in family and village networks varies according to migration network affiliation and each network’s maturity and control of the local social universe (jobs, information, housing)  Access to village/migration social networks’ resources is always imperfect. Mutual reciprocity seems to be quite a “weak force” in the social universe—either because networks do not have enough resources to share (as Menjivar found in San Francisco) or because individuals from earlier cohorts of immigrants (e.g. farm labor contractors) assert their independence from them.  The skills to develop “bridging” social capital are crucial in communities such as Arvin where multiple migration networks converge. Tensions between competing networks (e.g. Mixtecos and Guanajuatenses) and immigrant cohorts (settlers and sojourners) hinder immigrants’ conversion of social capital into “civic capital” or “political capital”.

9 Arvin Mexican Migration Networks Today  23% of HH’s—Yuriria-Xoconoxtle, Rancho del Tigre, Rancho Palo Alto area, other Guanajuatenses 13%: more than 1/3 of community  15% of HH’s—Jalisco (urban and rural)  14% of HH’s—Baja California and Sinaloa  13% of HH’s—Michoacan  5+% of HH’s—Tejano networks  5% of HH’s—other Chicano networks (incl. urban flight from LA)  5% of HH’s Oaxaca  Seven other Mexican sending states with <5% each

10 Woodburn Mexican Migration Networks Today  24% of HH’s-Oaxaquenos (Sta. Maria Tindu, San Juan Mixtepec, San Mateo Tunuche, Sta. Maria Caxtlahuaca)  19% of HH’s-Michoacanos (San Jeronimo, Quiroga, Cupicuaro, Morelia, various smaller ranchos)  13% Guanajuato (Penjamo, Leon, Silao, Guanajuato, Romita)  6% Guerrero (Coyuca, Acapulco, Tecpan de Galeana, Ometepec)  5% Edo. De Morelos, 5% Mexico, D.F., 5% Jalisco, 5% Veracruz  Puebla, Tlaxcala, Edo. De Mexico, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Durango, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Colima, Tamaulipas (3% or less)  ~5% Tejanos, Oregon-born Mexican-Americans *as % of immigrants only

11 Origin and Immigration Status of Arvin Heads of Households, Overall Population, and Minors: 2003 Citizenship/ Immigration Status % of HH Heads (N=160) % of All Persons in HHs (N=673) % of Minors 0-18 years of age (N=287) U.S.-Born18%33%68% US-born—non-immigrant family9%7%4% US-born--2 nd –3 rd gen. immigrant9%26%64% Foreign-Born82%66%32% Naturalized Citizen10%5%1% Legal Permanent Resident42%27%11% PRUCOL/Qualified4%5%7% Unauthorized26%22%13%. Arvin Snapshot: Past, Present, Future

12 Origin and Immigration Status: Woodburn Heads of Households, Overall Population, and Minors: 2003 Citizenship/Immigration Status% of Heads of Household (N=128) % of All Persons in Households (N=524) % of Minors 0-18 years of age (N=256) U.S.-Born38%49%72% US-born—non-immigrant family32%16%6% US-born--2 nd –3 rd gen. immigrant6%33%66% Foreign-Born62%51%29% Naturalized Citizen5%2%--- Legal Permanent Resident26%21%9% PRUCOL/Qualified--- Unauthorized31%28%20% Woodburn Snapshot: Past, Present, Future

13 Federal Immigration Policy Continues To Be A Serious Problem for Rural Towns  One-quarter of households are “mixed status” (24% in Arvin, 27% in Woodburn). That is, they include both unauthorized and legal or citizen household members. These families experience serious tensions due to constant jeopardy and inequities in access to crucial services  In one out of ten households (11% in Arvin, 8% in Woodburn) all family members are of unauthorized immigration status. There is only a flimsy “safety net” in the event they have family crises or need help from others.  In Arvin, one out of eight (13%) and in Woodburn, one out of five (20%) future heads of household—the children and youth 18 or younger---are of unauthorized immigration status. Yet these Generation 1.5 immigrant children will be called upon to play a crucial role using their bilingual/bicultural skills to work in the pluralistic context of Arvin civic life. Although Tejanos are a small sub-group in both towns, they have played a crucial role in civic life in both.

14 New Pluralism Study Implications for Local Responses to Change  Due to multiple competing migration/social networks and to divisions between immigrant cohorts which arise in the course of living in the U.S. “bonding” social capital inherent in migration/social networks is not easily or immediately translated into “civic capital”.  However, immigrants and native-born residents of rural communities can find common ground and work collaboratively to improve community life. In Arvin and Woodburn the school system have made very positive contributions in this arena. In Woodburn, municipal government’s leadership has been exemplary.  But nowhere do we see little evidence of comprehensive response or any single model of “best practice”. Each community has distinct priorities and relies on a unique mix of local resources. Information- sharing across communities has great promise.  Stores of human, social, cultural, and civic capital are crucial resources in rural, economically disadvantaged communities. A meta-policy goal (locally and nationally) must be to assure these resources can be drawn upon for positive community change.

15 But…Federal Immigration Policy Dialogue and Legal Framework Need To Change  Rural communities face many real-world challenges in responding to the “new pluralism”. Current federal immigration policy is dysfunctional in not addressing these communities’ actual needs—to bring residents together to address common concerns, not divide them.  A crucial first step is to abandon policy dialogue around analysis of immigrant and native-born “populations”. Rural community residents work, live, and raise children together.  New social and economic policies and adequate federal funding are needed to overcome language barriers, offer lifelong learning opportunities, diversify local economies, stem out-migration of “the best and the brightest”, negotiate cultural tensions, and promote civic participation.

16 Immediate Legislative/Regulatory Implications  Effective immigration policy reform requires provisions for “a pathway to citizenship”. AgJobs and STRIVE have crucial permissive (legalization) and proactive (ESL and civics classes) provisions. Further initiatives will be needed to reform the naturalization process so citizenship is not conditioned on education/language-learning ability.  Efficient and equitable immigration policy reform requires family unity provisions—a shortcoming of IRCA was that it didn’t. Guest worker programs violate basic human rights to live as families and will inevitably fail due to the arrogant assumption that basic human social behavior can be regulated/legislated.  Federally-funded initiatives to facilitate and promote civic and political engagement among immigrants and native-born U.S. residents alike are a crucial investment in the future of an increasingly pluralistic nation.  Rural communities present special opportunities to articulate and test new strategies for immigrant social and civic integration—because immigration is transforming them so rapidly and because many now have the experience to begin developing the concrete, fine-grained, day-to-day strategies needed to transform social capital into civic capital and bring diverse community residents together.


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