UC San Diego
A time for resistance : globalization, undocumented immigration, and the Chicana /o movement in the San Diego borderlands
- Author(s): Patiño, Jimmy C.
- et al.
This dissertation asks how the ethnic Mexican community in Southern California struggled for full societal membership while a large proportion of their constituency were noncitizens and therefore targets of border enforcement policies? These violations, due to racialist presumptions of border enforcement, not only affected immigrants, but also U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage. I demonstrate that beginning in the 1920s and continuing to the present, with particular highlight on the "Chicano movement" of the 1960s and 70s, a number of activists responded to this conundrum by forging a conception of community across differences in nationality (American and Mexican) and citizenship status (U.S. citizens and Mexican immigrants). This more fluid, transnational conception of a "Chicano- Mexicano" community was chiefly developed through the spectrum of a shared ethnicity and culture coupled with the experience of racialization by border enforcement immigration policies. Transnational and cross-citizenship solidarity within the ethnic Mexican community was forged in the context of struggle against more narrowly nationalistic forces both within and outside the community. In recognition of this vexing context, my dissertation explores the activism emanating from the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR) led by Herman Baca, a printer from the barrios of southeast San Diego County. Building off the cross-citizenship activism of Mexican- American labor activists of the previous generation, the CCR utilized a grassroots approach to mobilizing by basing itself in and interacting with working-class Latina/o community members to assess key social problems and develop solutions to them. Mobilizing as a united ethno- racial community in classic Chicano movement style, the CCR moved into addressing class issues through engagement with the capital-labor antagonism embedded within immigration policy. This community-based effort engaged constituents initially through voter registration and later through providing community services to undocumented migrants, going door-to-door calling issues-based meetings in communal places such as the local church, and establishing an open presence out of Baca's printing shop in the main commercial strip of the city. In this way, the CCR stayed attuned to the demographic transformations occurring in the Latina/o community in the 1970s, namely the mass influx of new migrant laborers, many of whom were undocumented