What Everyone Needs to Know about Central America in an Age of Deportation, Part 2: Views from the United States

AHA Session 239
Saturday, January 5, 2019: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Crystal Room (Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor)
Laura Matthew, Marquette University
Nathan Ellstrand, Loyola University Chicago
Sergio M. González, Marquette University
Julian Lim, Arizona State University
Andrae Marak, Governors State University

Session Abstract

U.S. support of Central American counterinsurgencies during the Cold War produced the first waves of Central American migration to the United States. In the 2000s, popular awareness of the region in the U.S. receded. At the same time, the Central American population in the U.S. grew tenfold, mostly coming from the "Northern Triangle" of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Central Americans have returned to public view as child migrants, workers, victims of crime, gang members, targets of deportation, and families with generational roots in the U.S. We urgently need to consider Central America in the current context of racialization, special relationships, legacies of violence, and surveillance in the U.S.

In Part 2, "Views from the United States", historians of the United States consider how to fit Central America(ns) into existing narratives of U.S. immigration, US-Mexican transnational and borderlands history, and Latinx history. The southern border has constituted a Native ground, a crossing place for immigrants not just from Mexico but also from other parts of Latin America and the world, a transnational community, and a regulated landscape. Latinx history has been dominated by Mexico on the one hand and the Caribbean on the other. Where does this leave Central Americans, and what do U.S. historians need to know about Central America?