Latinx Migrations in the Heartland: Genealogies of Belonging and Transformation

The historical roots of Latinx migrations to the Midwest are deep and cut through significant political, economic, and cultural moments. Latinx migrations to the Heartland connect the labor histories of Mexican and Puerto Ricans immigrant/migrant communities in profound ways. My paper will seek to address what we know, new insights, and the paradoxical nature of contemporary migrations in the Heartland in this neoliberal age. In the current age of xenophobia and immigration fears, it is easy to fall for erroneous and misinformed conceptualizations and distortions as to why people move, who moves, and what happens when men and women move. My work will seek to address some of those issues by calling attention to the gendered and racialized dimensions of Latinx migrations and the larger structural context that places Latinx families in such precarious and vulnerable positions as immigrants/migrants. This paper also aims to highlight the contributions of Latinx immigrants and their families to the social fabric of the Heartland. 

Maura I. Toro-Morn is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at Illinois State University, whose research examines migration in the context of gender and social class, particularly in the midwest.