"No State Shall Have the Right to Establish Any Discrimination": International Pressure against the US Effort to Restrict Mexican Immigration in 1928

Thursday, January 5, 2017: 3:30 PM
Room 203 (Colorado Convention Center)
Benjamin C. Montoya, University of Colorado at Boulder
During the first half of 1928, as the United States Congress considered bill proposals to place a restrictive quota on Mexican immigration, U.S. delegations attended two conferences in Havana, Cuba, that discussed international problems of immigration. The attention and concern granted to immigration and immigrants’ rights during these conferences stood in sharp contrast to U.S. efforts to place a quota on Mexico’s immigration, which rested on arguments of Mexicans’ alleged racial inferiority. This essay demonstrates two things. First, it shows how the United States’ sovereign right to formulate immigration policy ran the risk of undermining its foreign relations with immigrant-sending states, especially Mexico.  Second, it gives attention to why Mexican officials opposed the quota and proposed a bilateral solution. Despite the failure of Mexican efforts to broker a mutual solution to the immigration problem, it is important to analyze this time of non-cooperation between the United States and Mexico as a foreground to the much-discussed Bracero agreement fourteen years later.
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