Sociology Latino/Latina Studies
by
Zulema Valdez
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 November 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0078

Introduction

The US federal government Office of Management and Budget defines Latinos as a “Hispanic origin” group that includes persons of “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.” According to recent estimates provided by the US Census Bureau, the United States ranks third behind Mexico and Colombia as the country with the largest Latin-American-descent population. At 52.0 million persons, or almost 17 percent of the nation’s total, Latinos and Latinas represent the largest minority group in the United States. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the Latino population will reach roughly 133.0 million, or 30 percent of the US population. The US Hispanic population for 1 July 2050 is estimated to reach 132.8 million, constituting approximately 30 percent of the US population by that date. Among Latino subgroups, Mexicans make up the largest percentage (63 percent), followed by Puerto Ricans (9.2 percent), Cubans (3.5 percent), Salvadorans (3.3 percent), Dominicans (2.8 percent), and other Latino-origin groups (18.2 percent). Latino/Latina studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that is focused on understanding the experiences of diverse Latino national-origin individuals, groups, and communities in the United States. The emergence of Latino/Latina studies coincided with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when a growing interest in understanding racial and ethnic inequality led to the creation of “Chicano studies” departments and programs, dedicated to understanding the unique experiences of Latino national-origin groups in the United States. The field of Latino/Latina studies encompasses research on the panethnic or racial group, Latinos/Latinas or Hispanics, but also includes studies that focus on specific national-origin groups, like Mexican Americans or Cubans. Newer research highlights intersecting identities like race, class, gender, sexuality, legal status, and citizenship, stressing the diversity of the Latino/Latina experience in the United States.

General Overviews

Several works provide a comprehensive account of Latinos in US history, identifying the causes and consequences of Latino migration, settlement, and incorporation. González 2011 provides a comprehensive and exhaustive account of Latino history spanning five centuries. The editors of Suarez-Orozco and Paez 2002 brought together an interdisciplinary team of scholars examining major aspects of the Latino population in the United States including demography, language, health, and politics. Likewise, Romero, et al. 1997 offers an anthology that is critical of the black/white binary approach to race relations and which challenges the monolithic treatment of Latinos, including a deliberate treatment of comparisons across gender. Not surprisingly given the size of the Mexican-origin subgroup, much of the past and present research in Latino/Latina studies focuses on this group exclusively. Grebler, Moore, and Guzman’s classic volume, The Mexican American People (Grebler, et al. 1970), offers a comprehensive picture of the Mexican American people from migration to settlement and incorporation. This volume was recently updated by Telles and Ortiz 2009; these authors conducted a follow-up study of the original respondents’ descendants. Similarly, Acuña 2000 focuses on the Mexican American experience, providing an overview of Chicano history and identity from a social justice perspective. More recent works have highlighted lesser-known and understudied Latino subgroups like the Salvadorans (Menjivar 2000) and the Dominicans (Pessar and Foner 2000).

  • Acuña, Rodolfo. 2000. Occupied America: A history of Chicanos. New York: Longman.

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    Considered by many scholars of Chicano and Chicana studies as the most definitive and comprehensive account of Chicano history.

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    • González, Juan. 2011. Harvest of empire: A history of Latinos in America. New York: Penguin.

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      An essential work that offers a critical examination of the relationship between Latin America and the United States, and how this relationship fostered US foreign policy and set the stage for patterns of Latino migration that continue today.

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      • Grebler, Leo, Joan W. Moore, and Ralph C. Guzman. 1970. The Mexican American people: The nation’s second largest minority. New York: Free Press.

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        An exhaustive investigation of the socioeconomic incorporation experiences of Mexican Americans in the Southwest.

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        • Menjivar, Cecilia. 2000. Fragmented ties: Salvadoran immigrant networks in America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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          Menjivar examines the process of migration and settlement among Salvadorans in the United States, including an examination of how Salvadoran social networks mobilize resources.

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          • Pessar, Patricia R., and Nancy Foner. 2000. A visa for a dream: Dominicans in the United States. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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            Part of The New Immigrant series, this book offers a first look at the integration and incorporation experiences of Dominicans in America.

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            • Romero, Mary, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, and Vilma Ortiz, eds. 1997. Challenging fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino lives in the U.S. An anthology of readings New York: Routledge.

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              This anthology includes theoretically informed research that seeks to dispel the myth that “Latinos” constitute a monolithic cultural group. It includes chapters by leading researchers in the field of Latino and Latina studies.

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              • Suarez-Orozco, Marcelo, and Mariela Paez. 2002. Latinos: Remaking America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                A comprehensive study of the Latino experience in the United States.

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                • Telles, Edward E., and Vilma Ortiz. 2009. Generations of exclusion: Mexican Americans, assimilation, and race. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                  A fascinating follow-up study to Grebler, Moore, and Guzman’s classic work, The Mexican American People, offering new analyses that span thirty-five years of Mexican American integration.

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                  Journals

                  General area sociology journals publish research on Latinos; however, a number of specialty journals have emerged to capitalize on the growing interest on issues related to immigrant, ethnic, and racial groups. Journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Ethnicities, International Migration Review, and Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies publish original work in this area. Others are dedicated exclusively to theory and research on Latinos and Latinas in the United States and internationally, including Atzlan—A Journal of Chicano Studies, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Latin American Perspectives, and Latino Studies.

                  Data Sources

                  Researchers interested in conducting quantitative analyses of the Latino population can draw from many data sources. The Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study and New Immigrant Survey complement national surveys such as the US Decennial Census or the General Social Survey, which collect data on demographic, economic, and social trends, by including unique questions that focus primarily on the second generation, immigrant settlement, and incorporation patterns. National surveys may also provide information on the integration of Latinos compared to other ethnic and racial groups in specific institutions, such as the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which provides a wealth of information on the health status and well-being of American youth, or the National Education Longitudinal Study, which collects data on educational aspirations and achievement outcomes. Other surveys focus specifically on Latinos, such as the Latino National Survey, which collects data on Latinos’ political incorporation, and the Mexican Migration Project, which focuses on the migration and settlement patterns of the Mexican-origin population.

                  Social Class

                  Researchers concerned with understanding Latino inequality and mobility have focused on the intersections among ethnicity, race, and social class. This research has focused on whether Latinos will incorporate into the American mainstream or fall into the underclass and experience downward mobility (Valdez 2006, Waldinger and Feliciano 2004), in keeping with segmented assimilation theory (Portes and Zhou 1993). Recent interest in middle-class mobility has resulted in a number of books that explore middle-class Mexican identity (Jimenez 2009), giving back (Vallejo 2012), incorporation (Aranda 2006), and wealth creation through entrepreneurship (Butler, et al. 2009). This research is primarily concerned with the extent to which Latinos will join the middle class or entrepreneurial class, and whether their mobility trajectory follows a pattern typically associated with that of European-origin immigrants at the turn of the last century or cultivates new patterns of integration and incorporation.

                  • Aranda, Elizabeth M. 2006. Emotional bridges to Puerto Rico: Migration, return migration, and the struggles of incorporation. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

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                    Emotional Bridges traces the incorporation experiences of middle-class Puerto Ricans in the United States and Puerto Rico.

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                    • Butler, John Sibley, Alfonso Morales, and David L. Torres. 2009. An American story: Mexican American entrepreneurship and wealth creation. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue Univ. Press.

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                      This edited volume investigates business and wealth creation among the Mexican American population in the United States.

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                      • Jimenez, Tomas. 2009. Replenished ethnicity: Mexican Americans, immigration, and identity. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                        Jimenez considers how continuing waves of Mexican immigrants arriving in the United States affect later-generation Mexican Americans’ process of socioeconomic integration and ethnic identity.

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                        • Portes, Alejandro, and Min Zhou. 1993. The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 530.1: 74–96.

                          DOI: 10.1177/0002716293530001006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This article introduces segmented assimilation theory, which attempts to explain different trajectories of socioeconomic and cultural incorporation among post-1965 immigrants to the United States. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                          • Valdez, Zulema. 2006. Segmented assimilation among Mexicans in the Southwest. Sociological Quarterly 47.3: 397–424.

                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2006.00051.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This article investigates how immigrants’ length of residence in the United States and nativity affect the earnings and self-employment outcomes of Mexican men and women in the Southwest. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                            • Vallejo, Jody. 2012. Barrios to burbs: The making of the Mexican American middle class. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                              Vallejo examines mobility patterns, “giving back,” ethnic identity formation, and civic participation among middle-class Mexican immigrants and their descendants.

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                              • Waldinger, Roger, and Cynthia Feliciano. 2004. Will the new second generation experience “downward assimilation”? Segmented assimilation reassessed. Ethnic and Racial Studies 27.3: 376–402.

                                DOI: 10.1080/01491987042000189196Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                This article examines whether or not the Mexican-origin population in the United States will experience downward assimilation, a trajectory of segmented assimilation that predicts economic stagnation or decline. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                Panethnicity and Race

                                According to the Office of Management and Budget, the Hispanic/Latino label does not refer to a racial group category but rather indicates individuals who identify as members of a “Hispanic-origin” subgroup (i.e., Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and the like). Correspondingly, early social science research (See the seminal works of Oboler 1995 and Padilla 1985) on Hispanic identity formation tended to define Hispanics as a panethnic rather than racial group. Scholars concerned with American race relations have observed a transformation in how Hispanics/Latinos are identified, by Latinos and non-Latinos alike (Cobas, et al. 2009). Campbell and Rogalin 2006 observes an interaction between Latino and racial identity, whereas Itzigsohn and Dore-Cabral 2000 conclude that ethnic, panethnic, and racial categories are distinctive and competing identities. How Latinos identify influences and is influenced by social, economic, political, and cultural forces. For example, Roth 2012 finds that Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrant groups develop new understandings of their racial identity during the process of incorporation. Tanya Golash-Boza 2006 argues that Latinos likely identify racially as a consequence of experiences with discrimination in the American society and economy as immigrants and their descendants undergo a process of racialization. Whether Latinos identify racially, panethnically, or ethnically is related to their political activity (Valdez 2011). The notion that Latinos may constitute an emergent racial group is reinforced by ongoing policy debates regarding the current US Census definition and attempts to create a Hispanic/Latino racial group census category by 2020, and underscores the notion that identity formation is a dynamic and socially constructed process. Against the persistence of a Latino identity is the suggestion that this group may assimilate into the non-Hispanic white racial identity category (Emeka and Vallejo 2011).

                                • Campbell, Mary E., and Christabel L. Rogalin. 2006. Categorical imperatives: The interaction of Latino and racial identification. Social Science Quarterly 87.S1: 1030–1052.

                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00414.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  This study uses the 1995 Race and Ethnicity Supplement to the Current Population Survey to examine ethnic or racial identification selection among Latinos. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                  • Cobas, José, Jorge Duany, and Joe R. Feagin, eds. 2009. How the United States racializes Latinos: White hegemony and its consequences. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

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                                    This book is a collection of articles that focus on racial dynamics and the process of racial formation and identity among the Latino population.

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                                    • Emeka, Amon, and Jody Agius Vallejo. 2011. Non-Hispanics with Latin American ancestry: Assimilation, race, and identity among Latin American descendants in the US. Social Science Research 40.6: 1547–1563.

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                                      Authors use the American Community Survey to assess the relationship between Latin American descendants’ ethnic, ancestry, and racial identity and the process of straight-line or racialized assimilation trajectories.

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                                      • Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2006. Dropping the hyphen? Becoming Latino(a)-American through racialized assimilation. Social Forces 85.1: 27–55.

                                        DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        This study examines whether experiences with discrimination affect ethnic and panethnic identification patterns. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                        • Itzigsohn, Jose, and Carlos Dore-Cabral. 2000. Competing identities? Race, ethnicity and panethnicity among Dominicans in the United States. Sociological Forum 15.2: 225–247.

                                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1007517407493Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          This study examines racial and ethnic identification among Dominican immigrants in the United States. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                          • Oboler, Suzanne. 1995. Ethnic labels, Latino lives: Identity and the politics of (re)presentation in the United States. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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                                            The emergence and persistence of the Hispanic label are discussed in this study, even as it challenges the notion that the Latino population is monolithic and homogenous.

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                                            • Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino ethnic consciousness: The case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame, IN: Univ. of Notre Dame Press.

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                                              Padilla argues that Latino ethnic identity emerged in the 1970s to transcend and protest against disadvantages faced by Mexican and Puerto Rican people in the United States.

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                                              • Roth, Wendy D. 2012. Race migrations: Latinos and the cultural transformation of race. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                Roth investigates how the process of migration affects conceptions of race among new immigrants and those left behind, resulting in the emergence of new racial schemas that are then shared between countries.

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                                                • Valdez, Zulema. 2011. Political participation among Latinos in the United States: The effect of group identity and consciousness. Social Science Quarterly 92.2: 466–482.

                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00778.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  This study shows that ethnic, panethnic, and racial self-identification affects Latinos’ political action differently. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                  Intersectionality

                                                  Contemporary research reflects a growing recognition that intersecting identities and social group formations like race, class, gender, and other such groupings affect the life chances of Latinos. This research suggests that the American social structure is highly stratified; in this unequal context, Latino life chances are not monolithic, as groupings of individual Latinos are differently positioned within hierarchically organized class, gender, and racial group classifications, to name a few. Latinos that share similar positions within the American social structure reflect structures of oppression and privilege that combine to produce a diversity of Latino identities and experiences (Valdez 2011). Multiracial and minority feminist scholars have used an intersectional approach to explain the experiences of Latinas in the low-skilled labor market (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2001, Romero 1992). Others have focused on the middle class; for example, Vasquez 2011 examines the intersection of racial identity and generational status among middle-class Mexican Americans. More recently, scholars have employed comparative studies of intersectionality to investigate multiple dimensions and groups, such as race and class among Dominicans (Itzigsohn 2009); class, ethnicity, and gender among Salvadoran and Peruvian immigrants (Verdaguer 2009); and race, class, and gender among Latino entrepreneurs (Valdez 2011).

                                                  • Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette. 2001. Doméstica: Immigrant workers cleaning and caring in the shadows of affluence. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                    Hondagneu-Sotelo interviews Mexican and Central American women domestic workers and situates their child care and home work experiences in the context of global capitalism.

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                                                    • Itzigsohn, José. 2009. Encountering American faultlines: Race, class, and the Dominican experience in Providence. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                      This book investigates how first- and second-generation Dominicans incorporate into the American society and economy.

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                                                      • Romero, Mary. 1992. Maid in the U.S.A. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                        A classic work in sociology and gender studies, focusing on the labor market conditions of immigrant domestic workers, including low wages, long hours, and poor working conditions.

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                                                        • Valdez, Zulema. 2011. The new entrepreneurs: How race, class, and gender shape American enterprise. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                          The author uses critical race and intersectionality theory to challenge mainstream approaches to understanding “ethnic” entrepreneurship. The embedded market framework that is developed offers a comprehensive explanation of ethnic and racial group differences in entrepreneurial outcomes among Latino/as, non-Hispanic whites, and blacks.

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                                                          • Vasquez, Jessica. 2011. Mexican Americans across generations: Immigrant families, racial realities. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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                                                            Vasquez explores how middle-class Mexican Americans identify ethnically and racially during the process of assimilation, specifically from the second to the third generation.

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                                                            • Verdaguer, María Eugenia. 2009. Class, ethnicity, gender and Latino entrepreneurship. New York: Routledge.

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                                                              Verdaguer investigates how class, ethnicity, and gender affect resource mobilization strategies among Latino entrepreneurs.

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                                                              Education

                                                              As the Latino population increases in the United States, more Latinos enter and graduate from K-12 schools and college. By 2020, the US Census Bureau estimates that approximately one in four college students will be Latino. Researchers concerned with Latino educational outcomes argue that Latinos remain disadvantaged in educational opportunities and attainment when compared to more privileged groups such as non-Hispanic whites and Asian Americans. Theoretical explanations for Latinos’ lagging educational outcomes include structural and cultural forces, including class and family background, college-educated parents (Alon, et al. 2010), school and neighborhood characteristics (Hao and Pong 2008, Rubio Goldsmith 2009), or regional context (Dondero and Muller 2012). Educational outcomes are measured with a variety of indicators. Kao and Thompson 2003 provides a comprehensive overview of ethnic and racial differences in grades, test scores, course taking, tracking, high school completion, transitions to college, and college completion, concluding that while there is some hope for optimism in rising educational outcomes for Latinos, some persistent gaps remain. Carter 2005 suggests that minority students who draw from multicultural and cultural traditions are more likely to succeed in American schools than those who do not, suggesting that educational institutions may increase the educational outcomes of such students by creating multicultural spaces within schools.

                                                              • Alon, Sigal, Thurston Domina, and Marta Tienda. 2010. Stymied mobility or temporary lull? The puzzle of lagging Hispanic college degree attainment. Social Forces 88.4: 1807–1832.

                                                                DOI: 10.1353/sof.2010.0017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                This study examines intergenerational educational mobility among high school graduates. Findings demonstrate that parental educational attainment only partly explains the Hispanic-white gap in college outcomes.

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                                                                • Carter, Prudence. 2005. Keepin’ it real: School success beyond black and white. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                  This study underscores the importance of multiculturalism in school settings to increase Latino and black student success.

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                                                                  • Dondero, Molly, and Chandra Muller. 2012. School stratification in new and established Latino destinations. Social Forces 91.2: 477–502.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/sf/sos127Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Dondero and Muller argue that New Destination areas offer better educational resources in public schools than those in established areas, although the former fall behind in offering important linguistic support. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                    • Hao, Lingxin, and Suet-Ling Pong. 2008. The role of school in the upward mobility of disadvantaged immigrants’ children. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620.1: 62–89.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0002716208322582Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This study reveals that it is the attributes of high schools that shape mobility patterns among disadvantaged and advantaged students. Notably, Mexican-origin children are less likely to attend schools with favorable attributes. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                      • Kao, Grace, and Jennifer Thompson. 2003. Racial and ethnic stratification in educational achievement and attainment. Annual Review of Sociology 29:417–442.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This review offers a comprehensive overview of empirical research and theoretical explanations for ethnic and racial differences in educational outcomes. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                        • Rubio Goldsmith, Pat. 2009. Schools or neighborhoods or both? Race and ethnic segregation and educational attainment. Social Forces 87.4: 1913–1941.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1353/sof.0.0193Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Rubio Goldsmith provides evidence suggesting that high schools with higher concentrations of minority students underperform those with lower concentrations of minority students, regardless of minority/majority neighborhood concentration. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                          Employment

                                                                          Not surprisingly, much has been written about Latino labor market and employment outcomes, given the long history of labor migration to the United States, economic restructuring of the US economy, NAFTA, and the interdependent relationship between Latin American countries and the United States global and transnational economy (Massey, et al. 2003). This research has focused on labor force outcomes, including rates of underemployment, unemployment, and employment, along with occupational segregation, earnings, and income returns. Borjas 2001 stresses disparities in human capital and the quality of immigrants. Others emphasize persistent ethnic and racial discrimination (Pager, et al. 2009), and legal or citizenship status (Pan 2012), to name a few. This research is complicated by differences rooted in intersecting identities such as gender and generational status. Research on Latino national subgroups stresses differences between them, such as the disproportionate rate of Cubans engaged in entrepreneurship (Portes and Bach 1985), the Mexican-origin population’s concentration in low-skilled, low-wage work (Luthra and Waldinger 2010), and gender differences in informal work, such as day labor (Valenzuela 2003) and gardening (Ramirez and Hondagneu-Sotelo 2009).

                                                                          • Borjas, George J. 2001. Heaven’s door: Immigration policy and the American economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                                                            George Borjas provides an analysis that challenges the notion that recent immigrants are, on balance, a benefit to the US economy.

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                                                                            • Luthra, Renee Reichl, and Roger Waldinger. 2010. Into the mainstream? Labor market outcomes of Mexican-origin workers. International Migration Review 44.4: 830–868.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00827.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              This study examines labor market outcomes of Mexican-origin workers compared against non-Hispanic white and black Americans. Findings reveal that Mexican labor market outcomes reach parity with those of whites in the public sector. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                              • Massey, Douglas S., Jorge Durand, and Nolan J. Malone. 2003. Beyond smoke and mirrors: Mexican immigration in an era of economic integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                                                This book examines the unintended consequences of US immigration policy, which has largely increased unauthorized Mexican-origin migration to the United States.

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                                                                                • Pager, Devah, Bruce Western, and Bart Bonikowski. 2009. Discrimination in a low-wage labor market: A field experiment. American Sociological Review 74:777–799.

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                                                                                  Authors conducted a field experiment which demonstrated that black and Latino job applicants with no criminal history were less likely to receive a callback or job offer than white applicants recently released from prison. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                  • Pan, Ying. 2012. The impact of legal status on immigrants’ earnings and human capital: Evidence from the IRCA 1986. Journal of Labor Research 33:119–142.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s12122-012-9134-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    This article investigates how the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act immigration policy affected Latino immigrant labor market outcomes, suggesting that it improved men’s wages and women’s labor force participation rates. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                    • Portes, Alejandro, and Robert L. Bach. 1985. Latin journey: Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                      This book examines the socioeconomic outcomes of Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States.

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                                                                                      • Ramirez, Hernan, and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo. 2009. Mexican immigrant gardeners: Entrepreneurs or exploited workers? Social Problems 56.1: 70–88.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1525/sp.2009.56.1.70Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        This qualitative analysis reveals that this informal work constitutes a “hybrid” form of entrepreneurship and service work.

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                                                                                        • Valenzuela, Abel, Jr. 2003. Day labor work. Annual Review of Sociology 29:307–333.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100044Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Provides an empirical and theoretical overview of day labor work as a form of employment for disadvantaged, immigrant displaced workers. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                          Families

                                                                                          The sociology of the Latino family has transitioned from a perspective that marginalized minority families and emphasized social problems rooted in cultural explanations to an emphasis on how structural forces within the American economy and society affect family formation. This perspective has led to scholarship that explains Latino families within the context of a highly stratified society to better understand how the American social structure shapes family life and produces alternative family forms. Zavella 1987, on Chicano cannery workers, was one of the first of its kind that emphasized the role of class and race in shaping Latino family life. This research also highlights the changing roles of men and women or married partners. Romero 2008 highlights the relationship between immigration policy and the rise of “mixed-status” families. Transnational family life is the subject of many newer works on Latino family life, which highlights how the global economy is changing Latino families, leading to fragmentation, the emergence of care circuits, and a reconsideration of traditional understandings of nuclear and extended families, especially in light of immigration policy that has resulted in a dramatic increase in immigration raids and forced deportations. Dreby 2010 offers a comprehensive account of divided families by interviewing migrant parents and the children left behind. Duany 2011 explores how Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican migrants struggle to maintain ties to their countries of origin.

                                                                                          • Dreby, Joanna. 2010. Divided by borders: Mexican migrants and their children. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                            Dreby investigates the transnational family as an alternative form of family for migrant parents and their children in Mexico and the United States.

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                                                                                            • Duany, Jorge. 2011. Blurred borders: Transnational migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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                                                                                              This study investigates how Hispanic migrants from the Caribbean construct transnational ties between borders.

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                                                                                              • Romero, Mary. 2008. The inclusion of citizenship status in intersectionality: What immigration raids tell us about mixed-status families, the state and assimilation. International Journal of Sociology of the Family 34.2: 131–152.

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                                                                                                This qualitative case study based on an investigation of a policy department by the state attorney’s office highlights the need to consider legal status and citizenship to fully understand the process of immigrant incorporation. Available online.

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                                                                                                • Zavella, Patricia. 1987. Women’s work and Chicano families: Cannery workers of the Santa Clara Valley. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                  An analysis of the roles of Mexican American women in the public and private spheres, and the changing structure of Chicano families that emerge.

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                                                                                                  Health Disparities

                                                                                                  CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report—United States 2011 (CHDIR) provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators among US racial and ethnic groups. The report notes that Latinos are more likely to live in counties that do not meet ozone standards, have higher uninsured rates and lower influenza vaccination coverage, report the highest rates of obesity and preventable hospitalizations, and are diagnosed disproportionately with HIV compared against non-Hispanic whites. Social scientists and public health researchers identify socioeconomic factors including lifestyle behaviors, education, employment, neighborhood and work conditions, and a lack of access to preventive health care services (Williams and Collins 1995; Williams, et al. 2003) as contributing to Latino health disparities. That said, health patterns vary between Latino subgroups, as Zsembik and Fennell 2005 finds that Mexicans report greater health advantages than Puerto Ricans, whereas Cubans and Dominicans reveal a mix of health disparities and advantages, depending on the specific health outcome being measured. They underscore the need to study Latino subgroups separately to capture ethnic group differences in health outcomes. Moreover, and in contrast to much of the health disparities research, some observers note that Latino immigrants often report better health profiles than their US-born counterparts and non-Hispanic whites (Markides and Eschbach 2011). Research on this Latino health paradox finds that Latino immigrants fare better in rates of infant mortality (Hummer, et al. 2007), low birth weight, psychiatric disorders (Alegria, et al. 2008), and obesity and overweight (Akresh 2008).

                                                                                                  New Destinations

                                                                                                  Since the 1980s, immigration policy changes have altered the migration and settlement patterns of Latinos in the United States. Latino migration continues to follow traditional patterns, as the majority of Latino immigrants arrive and settle in “immigrant gateway” cities located in the Southwest; however, recent arrivals are moving to New Destination areas in the rural South, Midwest, and Northeast. This new body of research highlights persistent social, cultural, and political forces that hinder immigrant and ethnic minority incorporation in the United States. Durand, et al. 2006 offers a historical overview of how Latino settlement patterns have evolved over time which provides a solid context from which to understand the current and future projections in Fry 2008. The edited volume Zuniga and Hernandez-Leon 2006 takes on different aspects of Mexican-origin incorporation in a variety of New Destination areas, whereas Marrow provides a focus on Latinos in the rural South. Williams, et al. 2009 offers a much-needed comparative study of three Latino subgroups: Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican immigrants.

                                                                                                  • Durand, Jorge, Edward Telles, and Jennifer Flashman. 2006. The demographic foundations of the Latino population. In Hispanics and the future of America. Edited by Marta Tienda and Faith Mitchell, 66–99. Washington, DC: National Academies.

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                                                                                                    Durand and colleagues provide a comprehensive account of the supply and demand forces that encouraged the specific migration and settlement patterns of distinct national-origin groups in the United States.

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                                                                                                    • Fry, Richard. 2008. Latino settlement in the new century. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.

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                                                                                                      Provides descriptive statistics that reveal the distribution of Latino settlement to established and New Destination areas.

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                                                                                                      • Marrow, Helen. 2011. New Destination dreaming: Immigration, race, and legal status in the rural American South. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        Marrow explores how Hispanic immigrants in the rural South shape and reshape notions of rural southern areas.

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                                                                                                        • Williams, Philip J., Timothy J. Steigenga, and Manuel A. Vaisquez. 2009. A place to be: Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican immigrants in Florida’s New Destinations. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                          This book explores migration and settlement processes among Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican immigrants in Florida.

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                                                                                                          • Zuniga, Victor, and Ruben Hernandez-Leon. 2006. New Destinations: Mexican immigration in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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                                                                                                            This interdisciplinary edited volume provides a thorough examination of Mexican migrants’ experience in the Deep South, Midwest, and Northeast.

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                                                                                                            Political Participation

                                                                                                            In 1975 the Voting Rights Act was extended to Latino/a communities, which coincided with renewed interest and research on the study of Latino/a political impact, attitudes, and incorporation (DeSipio 2006). Although Latinos represent a large and growing segment of the United States population, they are underrepresented in the political landscape. Hispanic and Latino/a political organizations tend to focus on issues that unite diverse Latino/a national-origin groups, such as civil rights, education, and social services—what de la Garza and DeSipio 2005 calls the “immigrant settlement agenda”—yet, important national-origin and regional differences among the Latino/a population in the United States persist, exposing the myth that Latino/as are a politically homogenous or “one-issue” voting block. Social and political scientists who study the political incorporation of immigrant, ethnic, and racial groups suggest that group-based resources, such as group identity and consciousness, the latter indicated by perceptions of “linked fate” or discrimination, affect political action. For example, Stokes-Brown 2006 observes that identifying racially as “Latino” significantly influences Latinos’ voter decisions over those who identify as white or “some other race.” Likewise, Sanchez 2006 argues that group consciousness indicators—specifically, shared interests and a perception of discrimination—facilitate Latinos’ collective action. Regarding ethnically based discrimination, Lien 1994 observes that perceptions of discrimination increase the extent to which persons of Mexican descent in the United States vote and participate in nonvoting political action. The additional consideration of intersectional dimensions, such as social class, may alter these effects. García Bedolla 2005 is a qualitative study of Latinos in Los Angeles that uncovers intragroup differences in Latinos’ political incorporation. The author reveals that middle-class Latinos are more likely to incorporate into the US mainstream and less likely to identify racially (as Latino) or engage in collective action. In contrast, working-class Latinos are more likely to identify ethnically or racially, and are also more likely to mobilize politically. She concludes that respondents’ positive ethnic or racial self-identity indicates those for whom agency and collective action are tied to their identity and thus fosters greater political action. These studies underscore the contingent effects of group-based resources in fostering Latino political action and the importance of specifying national, racial, or ethnic identity formation for a more complete picture of Latino/a political action.

                                                                                                            • De la Garza, Rodolfo, and Louis DeSipio. 2005. Muted voices: Latino politics in the 2000 elections. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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                                                                                                              This book considers the emergence of Latinos as a rising political force in conservative and liberal camps as well as the political implications of Latinos that unite as a group around specific issues versus those represent diverse national-origin group interests.

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                                                                                                              • DeSipio, Louis. 2006. Latino civic and political participation. In National Research Council (US) Panel on Hispanics in the United States. Edited by Marta Tienda and Frank Mitchell, 447–479. Hispanics and the Future of America. Washington, DC: National Academies.

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                                                                                                                This chapter provides an overview of Hispanic civic and political participation in the United States and explores the potential for Hispanics to engage in and shape the future of American politics. The book also considers the timely issues of Hispanic identity, education, and health outcomes. Available online.

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                                                                                                                • García Bedolla, Lisa. 2005. Fluid borders: Power, identity and politics in LA. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                  This book examines how two Latino communities that differ along the lines of class, nativity, and generation develop different strategies of political incorporation and socialization. The book’s attention to intersectionality and mixed-methods approach reveals the complexity of Latino politics in Los Angeles.

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                                                                                                                  • Lien, Pei-Te. 1994. Ethnicity and political participation: A comparison between Asian and Mexican Americans. Political Behavior 16.2: 237–264.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/BF01498879Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    This article conducts a comparative quantitative analysis of Asian and Mexican American political behavior. Findings reveal that although Asians and Latinos are often perceived as following divergent paths of American incorporation, when it comes to the role of ethnicity in shaping political participation, these groups are more similar than dissimilar. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                    • Sanchez, Gabriel R. 2006. The role of group consciousness in political participation among Latinos in the United States. American Politics Research 34.4: 427–450.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/1532673X05284417Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      This article adjudicates between several theories of minority political participation by modeling how Latino group consciousness affects political participation in voting and nonvoting activities. He finds that Latino group consciousness matters more when the Latino community is directly affected by the activity or outcome. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                      • Stokes-Brown, Atiya Kai. 2006. Racial identity and Latino vote choice. American Politics Research 34.5: 627–652.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1532673X06289156Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        This study investigates how Latino racial identification affects Latino voting. Using ordered probit modeling, the analysis suggests that racial identity is a significant factor in shaping Latino vote choice. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                        Unauthorized Status, Detentions, and Deportations

                                                                                                                        The Latino population constitutes the fastest-growing group in the US prison system (Oboler 2009). Mass incarceration in federal and state prisons and immigrant detention facilities is due in part to increased border enforcement, including unprecedented raids and deportations (Golash-Boza 2012, Hernández 2008), racial profiling of US- and foreign-born Latino adults and youth (Rios 2011, Romero 2006), and the criminalization of undocumented immigrants (Rumbaut 2008, Palidda 2011). In the aftermath of 9/11, the war against terror has resulted in increased border security and enhanced scrutiny of undocumented immigrants, mostly of Mexican origin, in the United States. Researchers concerned with the deteriorating life chances of the undocumented in the current historical context have focused on such topics as mixed-status families (Fix and Zimmermann 2001), unequal educational outcomes (Abrego 2006), and health and mental health outcomes (Viruell-Fuentes, et al. 2012).

                                                                                                                        • Abrego, Leisy Janet. 2006. “I can’t go to college because I don’t have papers”: Incorporation patterns of Latino undocumented youth. Latino Studies 4:212–231.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.lst.8600200Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          This qualitative study reveals the effect of structural barriers to educational achievement and aspirations among undocumented youth. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                          • Fix, Michael, and Wendy Zimmermann. 2001. All under one roof: Mixed-status families in an era of reform. International Migration Review 35.2: 397–419.

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                                                                                                                            This article explores the implications for immigrant incorporation in households that are comprised of one or more non-citizen parents and/or children. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                            • Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2012. Immigration nation: Raids, detentions, and deportations in post-9/11 America. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

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                                                                                                                              This book explores the tense relationship between US immigration policy and the human rights of migrants.

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                                                                                                                              • Hernández, David M. 2008. Pursuant to deportation: Latinos and immigrant detention. Latino Studies 6:35–63.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1057/lst.2008.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Hernández offers a historical overview of Latino immigrant detention in the United States. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                • Oboler, Suzanne. 2009. Behind bars: Latino/as and prison in the United States. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1057/9780230101470Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  This edited volume examines the growth of the prison industrial complex and its consequences and reveals the experiences of incarcerated Latinos.

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                                                                                                                                  • Palidda, Salvatore. 2011. Racial criminalization of migrants in the 21st century. Surrey, UK: Ashgate.

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                                                                                                                                    Focuses on the recent and rapid increase in arrests, imprisonment, and detention of foreign-born populations in Europe and the United States.

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                                                                                                                                    • Rios, Victor M. 2011. Punished: Policing the lives of black and Latino boys. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                      An ethnographic account that investigates how young inner-city Latino and black boys are criminalized and punished by the US criminal justice system.

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                                                                                                                                      • Romero, Mary. 2006. Racial profiling and immigration law enforcement: Rounding up of usual suspects in the Latino community. Critical Sociology 32.2: 447–473.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1163/156916306777835376Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Focusing on a five-day immigration raid, the Chandler Roundup, Romero argues that immigration raids serve as a practice that maintains and reinforces the subordinated status of working-class Latinos. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                        • Rumbaut, Ruben G. 2008. Undocumented immigration and rates of crime and imprisonment: Popular myths and empirical realities. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

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                                                                                                                                          This manuscript provides a review of common assumptions regarding the relationship between undocumented immigrants and crime, with empirical evidence that challenges those assumptions. Invited address to the “Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties: The Role of Local Police” National Conference.

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                                                                                                                                          • Viruell-Fuentes, Edna, Patricia Miranda, and Sawsan Abdulrahim. 2012. More than culture: Structural racism, intersectionality theory, and immigrant health. Social Science & Medicine 75.12: 2099–2106.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.12.037Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            This article develops a structural framework rooted in critical race and intersectionality perspectives to explain why immigrants do not seek medical or mental health care, in a challenge to traditional approaches that highlight the role of culture. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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