While historians of the US/Mexico borderlands have brought renewed attention to Tejano and Latino communities in West Texas, the experiences of the thousands of Latinos who worked in the region’s vast oilfields has been left out of these broader social histories. Further, attention to specifically Mexican migrant oil labor flips the scant scholarship available on oil work on its head. Instead of tracking the experiences of white workers traveling south and instituting segregationist and exploitative extraction projects, this paper focuses on the ways in which the increasing international mobility of Mexico’s industrial labor force influenced regional systems of geographic and spatial control, as well as US responses to health and safety reform and environmental legislation.
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