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Suenos Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo: Introducing Natalia Caudillo Guardado

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SUEOS DULCES AND TH E BRIDGE OVER BRAVO: INTRODUCING NATALIA CAUDILLO GUARDADO By VERONICA SPARKS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Veronica Sparks

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. I would also like to thank Dr. Allan Burns, who chaired my thesis committee. Dr. Burns opened my eyes to the significance of border studies and culture, which has now become an undying passion. I would also like to thank Dr. Manuel Vasquez, who taught me that it is possible to balance an academic career and have a wonderful family life. It was wonderful working for him for 2 years. I would also like to thank Dr. Effrain Barradas, who eloquently taught me the beauty of Mexican art and popular culture. I thank each of my thesis committee members for their patience, support, and guidance throughout this process. I would also like to thank Myrna Sulsona, Margarita Gandia, and Amanda Wolfe for their continued support. I thank Krissy Tennyson for continued support. I also thank my Gainesville girls: Summer Maue, Asha Danarajan, and Carla Chavez. I would also like to thank Felecia Harrelson: my teacher, my friend, and my sister. Most of all, I would like to thank my family: John, Olga, and Michael Sparks. Their unconditional love and encouragement has been more than a blessing to me. I also thank Chris Clark for his love and support. Finally, thanks go to Natalia Caudillo for being a true survivor. I thank her for loving her family and demonstrating the true meaning of loyalty. Her story has touched the lives of many, and touches me everyday. She always has been, and always will be my hero. Finalmente, Gracias a Dios. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF FIGURES ...........................................................................................................vi ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................vii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Methodology and Data.................................................................................................2 Further Implications......................................................................................................5 Major Themes as Chapters...........................................................................................6 Limitations....................................................................................................................7 2 CROSSING THE BORDER.........................................................................................9 Call to Coyotes...........................................................................................................10 Sueos Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo.................................................................13 Cotton Fields of Dreams.............................................................................................16 3 SIEMPRE MADRE....................................................................................................20 Pass it On....................................................................................................................22 Maternal Programming...............................................................................................24 4 IMMIGRATION.........................................................................................................34 The Four Waves..........................................................................................................35 Mexican Immigration Movement...............................................................................37 The Male Mexican Migrant Worker...........................................................................39 Mexican Immigrants and the United States Economy...............................................41 Amexica......................................................................................................................42 Face to Face with La Migra........................................................................................45 Conclusion..................................................................................................................47 iv

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5 CONCLUSION...........................................................................................................50 Challenges...................................................................................................................51 Contributions..............................................................................................................52 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................54 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................57 v

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Czech immigrants that played with Natalia (1925). Photo by Refugio Guardado..................................................................................................................18 2-2 Natalias friends celebrate at a parade(1932). Photo by Refugio Guardado...........19 2-3 Natalia shows Veronica Sparks a doll that Refugio carved and a ribbon that Refugio purchased in 1920 (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks.............................19 2-4 June 2003 Lorene Haisler (left) and Natalia at a reunion meeting (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks...............................................................................................19 3-1 Pola (Natalias sister-in-law) and Natalia (right) with her first child, Aurora (June 1929). Photo by Refugio Guardado...............................................................30 3-2 Jesusa Ramirez (left) was the sister-in-law of Juan Ramirez. Natalia later cared for Faye (right) and her sister Maria (center) (1942). Photo by Natalia Caudillo...31 3-3 (Clockwise) Natalia, Friend of Family, Olga, Sylvia, and Armandito (July 1955). Photographer unknown............................................................................................31 3-4 Natalia poses while her children play (April 1954). Photographer unknown.........32 3-5 (left to right) Armando, Olga, Carmen, Natalia, Aurora, Audelia, and Sylvia (1978). Photo by Sabino Caudillo...........................................................................32 3-6 Natalia poses with five generations worth of family photos (Associated Press 1998)...........................................................................................33 3-7 Natalia and family at a Christmas party (December 2002). Photo by John Sparks..............................................................................................................33 4-1 Natalia receives pardon to stay in U.S. from her immigration attorney Enrique Martinez (March 1998). Photo by John Sparks.......................................................48 4-2 Natalia is the guest of honor at her 93 rd birthday celebration in Levelland, Texas (July 2003). Photo by Olga Sparks..........................................................................48 4-3 Natalia dances with grandson Michael at her 93 rd birthday celebration (July 2003). Photo by John Sparks..........................................................................49 vi

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Degree of Master of Arts SUEOS DULCES AND THE BRIDGE OVER BRAVO: INTRODUCING NATALIA CAUDILLO GUARDADO By Veronica Sparks August 2004 Chair: Allan Burns Major Department: Latin American Studies Natalia Caudillo Guardado is a 93-year-old Mexican national who has lived in the United States since 1920. Her story is told through a series of interviews, to describe the hardships faced by immigrants in the early 20 th Century. Migration theory, ideology of motherhood, and immigration policy are evaluation in conjunction with Natalias testimony. The purpose of my study was to personify theory and ideas. Natalias identity and roles as mother and Latina are evaluated by analyzing her stories. The main sources for my study were anthropological journals, U.S. Census data, data obtained from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and interviews with Natalia Caudillo. The findings of my study include changes in Natalias ideas of family structure, the importance of traveling with an informant, and the discovery of multi-ethnic identity obtained by a Mexican migrant who openly embraces several cultures. vii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION There is a story to tell. It is one of movement, risk, and change. It is a story that has thousands of endings. It is told in several languages. It knows no color, sex, nor age. It is the story of the immigrant, the exile, the pilgrim. It is the account of every man, woman, and child who leaves one life in exchange for another. The very spirit of the Unites States is based on the idea of opportunity and growth. Since the birth of the United States, hundreds of thousands of people have crossed miles of land and water in hopes of something better. The result is a nation of variety. This is the story of a woman: Natalia Guardado Caudillo. She celebrates her ninety-fourth birthday on July 27 th 2004. At 10 years of age, Natalia left her home in Aguascalientes, Mexico. As a child, she saw her mother and two brothers die of illness. She was raised by three different families. She crossed the border between the U.S. and Mexico, without legal documents, at 10 years of age. She has given birth to twelve children, and spent literally years of her life picking Texas cotton. She gained national attention at age 88, when she was threatened with deportation by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Natalia, who does not consider her life extraordinary, is a walking history book. She can recall the day her father decided to break out of the vicious economic cycle of the Mexican hacienda system. She remembers the day she arrived in the United States in 1920. She speaks openly about the social, political, and economic changes she has witnessed nationally and internationally. It is crucial that people like Natalia have a 1

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2 voice, an opportunity to talk about struggles and survival. The purpose my study was to give her a voice. My study was designed to discuss Natalias story in conjunction with the ever-changing culture of the U.S./Mexico border, the idea of motherhood, and U.S. immigration policy. Methodology and Data This project began as an attempt to better understand the Mexican immigrant. I was a graduate student with dreams of practicing immigration law. I wanted to fully understand character and culture, before learning legal policy. I was searching for an informant who had migrated to the United States from Mexico without documents. I was also interested in an informant who had spent a considerable amount of time in the U.S. Also, I wanted an informant who was willing to spend hours in interviewing sessions with a tape-recorder logging his or her every word. I realized, early in the planning stages of my project, that my grandmother, Natalia Caudillo matched all of my criteria. I knew that she was more than willing to share her life stories with me; she had been doing this unofficially for years. I also knew that Natalia would not mind being recorded. Most importantly, I knew that she had an extraordinary story to tell. I solved many problems by choosing Natalia, my mothers mother, as an informant. Yet, choosing Natalia also created internal battles. I was determined not to let the relationship between my informant and me skew the findings of this project. To preserve the integrity of this project, I recognized the importance of taking an objective position as an interviewer and as an anthropologist. I was very careful to ask Natalia questions regarding the three main themes of my study: border crossing, motherhood, and immigration law. She was encouraged to elaborate on any interview questions. She was

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3 also encouraged to ask me questions. I wanted our interview sessions to be an open forum of ideas concerning migration and family structure. To foster open interviewing sessions, I decided to travel with Natalia to areas that she mentioned in our interviews. The relationship between Natalia and me helped this method. We were able to spend late nights with family in Temple, Texas discussing stories told by tios and primos. By traveling throughout cotton regions of Texas, Natalia was able to pinpoint locations of events. She was able to see areas that she had not seen since her adolescence. She was also able to see and explain changes in regions, people, and culture. I used the ethnographic method of collecting oral history to gather information from Natalia. Oral history, in this case, was the collection of life stories, in order to better understand the culture of an era. Life histories are used in anthropology to make inferences about a cultural group. The process of collecting oral history from Natalia was more than a series of interview questions. A topic was addressed. Natalia was able to elaborate and add additional facts. This structure allowed Natalia the opportunity to elaborate, and add details that might be left out with a more direct line of questioning. Each interview was tape-recorded with Natalias permission. Before any interviewing was conducted with Natalia, a report was submitted and approved by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board. The tapes used to record Natalia will be archived and stored in a collection of oral histories. I also used the method of collecting testimonio. This form of life history is common in Latin America, specifically in Mexico. The testimonio is used to tell event-specific history. An example of testimonio is Sydney Mintzs (1974) Worker in the

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4 Cane, A Puerto Rican Life History. This particular form of life history is event-specific in that the study outlines the life a Puerto Rican sugar-cane worker. Although Natalias story does include specific hardships (border crossing, threat of deportation), my study is not meant to be event-specific. As mentioned before, Natalia and I traveled throughout southern regions of Texas, to different towns where Natalia resided as a child and young adult. Natalia visited areas that she had not seen in more than 50 years. Natalia was able to recall vivid details from her adolescence and childhood after visiting these areas. This method proved to be successful in gathering details of her testimony and oral history. My study attempts to discuss major issues facing Mexican migrants, including border crossing, immigration policy, border culture, and immigrant identity, all in relation to Natalias life stories. Oral history and life stories play a significant role in Latin America because of the regions history of military rule and oppression (Jaksic 1992). To better understand the history of Latin American countries and peoples, oral histories are needed. Ivan Jaksic defined oral history as a method that illuminates and enriches the historical field, particularly by revealing the views and actions of social sectors traditionally shut out of the historical record (1992:591). The purpose of my study was to document Natalias story in conjunction with current issues of migration and immigrant identity. My aim in using this method should be to work with the informant to develop and contextualize her testimony (Jaksic 1992). Oral history is particularly important in distinguishing migrant workers and their perspectives, because of the lack of written records about them (Jaksic 1992). The accounts of migrant workers (such as Natalia) expose social, economic, and political

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5 conditions that otherwise would not be known. Migrant testimony also provides new information on the process of immigration. According to Jaksic, oral history can transcend geographical boundaries and unite nations, while providing a rich supply of comparative data (1992). Although my study does use elements of oral history and testimonio, it became a fusion of methods, resulting in a chronology of extended in-depth questions. Rather than concentrating on specific events (in the fashion of a testimonio), or focusing on the cultural aspect (in the manner of oral history), my study encompasses elements of each method to illustrate Natalias identity. Further Implications To produce a more thorough analysis, further research would be necessary. I have several goals for further research, which include interviewing and collecting oral history from other members of Natalias family, focusing on Latina/o identity. I would interview neighbors and friends who have seen Natalia and her community change. Because Natalia was able to recall more history when seeing certain landmarks, I would also like to travel to Aguascalientes with her. I would like to travel the route that Natalia and her family traveled in 1920, beginning in Mexico, and ending in Rogers, Texas. I would like to visit the immigrant labor camp in Southern Texas where Natalia and her family worked as indentured servants. Financial and time restrictions prevented these events during the time designated for field work. I plan on continuing this project and research, if allowed by the University of Florida, during the summer of 2005. I also plan on bringing elements of visual anthropology into the project. Fay Ginsburgs (1991) Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract of Global Village? is an article of advocacy, stressing the importance of representing of under-represented

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6 groups through forms of media (1991). Ginsburg writes that multicultural artistic expression is crucial to the development and understanding of identity. She compares indigenous media to ethnic autobiographies. Therefore, Natalia would be a part of the production team in a video outlining her life. Major Themes as Chapters Chapter 2 analyzes migration from Mexico into the United States. Human smuggling has become a major concern in the U.S. and Mexico. Every year, there are reported incidents of deaths and injuries as a result of human trafficking. Chapter 2 discusses the controversy behind migrant-trafficking, and the dangers that accompany this issue. Traveling from Mexico to the U.S. has changed drastically since 1920, when Natalias family migrated. Chapter 2 discusses these changes. Literature focusing on law and identity was used in this section. Chapter 2 extends the ideas of agency in immigration, free will, and choices made by migrants. Finally, Natalias testimony was used to illustrate the process of movement in the 1920s. Chapter 3 describes the circumstances that kept Natalia mothering children, many of whom were not her own. Natalia was 5 years old when her mother, Cleta Ramirez, died days after giving birth to twin boys. On the day of Cletas death, Natalia began assuming a maternal role. She no longer enjoyed the carelessness of being a child. She would forever be a mother. With this said, I turn to the literature regarding the maternal role of Mexican women. Rina Alcalays article, Hispanic Women in the United States: Family and Work Relations, (1984) discusses the role of Latina, or Hispanic, women. This article outlines the affects of migration on different groups of Latin American women. Family structure and domestic roles are especially important to Mexican women. Alcalay claims that these maternal and domestic roles can be found in the homes

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7 of Mexicans living in the U.S. I will evaluate Natalias testimonio and oral history in conjunction with Alcalays claims. The U.S./Mexican border is a pressing issue among anthropologists and sociologists. This ever changing area has taken on an identity of its own that is neither American nor Mexican. In many ways, migrants like Natalia personify the border. Chapter 4 will discuss the U.S./Mexico border and what the frontera symbolizes. Chapter 4 will also outline immigration to the United States from a historical perspective. It will profile the statistical identity of the Mexican immigrant. Finally this chapter will discuss allegations that Natalia broke a U.S. law resulting in threats of deportation. Chapter 5 concludes this study with final notes and thoughts. In chapter 5, I compile conclusions from the other chapters to demonstrate how the life history of one woman can contribute to the study of identity and culture. Limitations This project is a case study. My work is not an attempt to generalize immigrants, Mexicans, or women. The case of Natalia Caudillo is meant to serve as a glimpse into the life of one woman, and how variables such as migration, family structure, and multi-ethnic identity have affected her character. Travel was limited due to Natalias age and legal status. Practical limitations include lack of time and funding. Travel was limited to southern and central regions of Texas. It was my original plan to travel to Aguascalientes, Mexico and U.S./Mexican border regions with Natalia. As stated before, this is a project that I would like to continue. It is my goal to tell Natalias story as

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8 thoroughly and accurately as possible. This can only be achieved by spending more time researching and interviewing Natalia.

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CHAPTER 2 CROSSING THE BORDER The people-smuggling industry is as old as the border itself. For years, migrant-trafficking has been a profitable business. Estimates of illegal Mexican immigration into the United States have ranged as high as one million persons per year. According to Mexicos National Council on Populations, approximately three million undocumented Mexicans reside in the United States (2002). This number steadily increases annually. Several methods are used to traffic Mexicans into the U.S., many of which are inhumane and dangerous. Headlines reporting deaths and injuries of immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. top the pages of national newspapers. Today, migrant-traffickers, who are commonly known as coyotes, charge Mexican migrants thousands of dollars to cross into the U.S. without documents. And, thousands of dollars are paid without any type of assurance or guarantee that the migrants attempt will be successful. Often, these attempts are not successful, sometimes deadly. This chapter tells Natalias border-crossing story. This chapter also outlines the dangerous methods of present day human-trafficking compared with border-crossing tactics practiced in the 1920s. Ruben Martinezs Crossing Over (2001) and Ted Conovers Coyotes were used as primary examples for analyzing border-crossing testimonio. David Loreys The U.S. Mexican Border in the Twentieth Century (1999) and Pablo Villas Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders (2000) were used for theoretical framework and historical background. Latino Employment, Labor 9

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10 Organizations and Immigration (1995), edited by Antoinette Sedillo Lpez, was the primary source of literature used to evaluate current legal migration issues. In the comprehensive analysis, A Century of Chicano History: Empire, Nations, and Migration, Gilbert Gonzalez and Raul Fernandez discuss the ideas of agency in relation to the macro structures that frame the movement of Mexicans into the U.S. (Gonzalez 2003). The idea is that these structures, which include policy, enforcement, and law, are subjective to policy makers and enforcement agencies, such as Border Patrol. With this said, I will turn to events highlighted in the news media concerning immigration and human-trafficking. Call to Coyotes On Wednesday, May 14, 2003, authorities responded to a 911 call in Victoria, Texas. Seventeen people were found dead when authorities opened a sweltering airless trailer that had been abandoned at a South Texas truck stop with more than 100 undocumented immigrants locked inside (Badger 2003). Two additional immigrants died less than 24 hours later, raising the death toll to 19. The victims (including a 5-year-old Mexican boy) suffered from dehydration, hyperthermia, and suffocation. This was the deadliest immigrant-smuggling attempt since 1987, when U.S. Border Patrol discovered 18 Mexican immigrants dead in a train boxcar. The car had been on a rail in Sierra Blanca, Texas. In 2003, 205 undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico, died crossing the Arizona desert areas, including at least three under age 12 (Gonzalez 2004). Death and injury of undocumented Mexicans attempting to enter the U.S. is a rising epidemic. Mexicans, desperate to cross the border, are using any means possible to get past Border Patrol agents, including hiring coyotes.

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11 The Immigration Naturalization Service (INS) is having a difficult time prosecuting coyotes, due to the duel roles of coyotes: hero and enemy. The coyote system operates like the mafia and trying to stop it, or the flow of those hungry for a better life, is impossible (Fergus 2003). To many Mexicans, coyotes are the only way to enter the U.S. To others, coyotes are simply agents in the people-smuggling business. Mexicans are often hesitant to share names and information regarding coyotes with immigration agents. Besides being mistrustful of authorities, illegal immigrants sometimes worry that relatives back in Mexico may suffer retaliation from smuggler (Hegstrom 2003). Whats more troubling is that coyotes are rarely prosecuted. Officials have never arrested the smuggling bosses believed responsible for the 1987 deaths of 18 immigrants in a West Texas railcar, the 199 deaths of 8 immigrants in a California snowstorm, the 2001 death of 14 immigrants in the Arizona desert, and the 2002 deaths of 11 immigrants found in an Iowa railcar (Hegstrom 2003). The average person convicted of trafficking immigrants serves just 15 months in federal prison, far less than the average drug smuggler (Hegstrom 2003). Many human smugglers are never caught and convicted. Several smugglers, including many who are responsible for multiple deaths, remain at large. An INS intelligence report issued in 1999 stated lower to middle level drug trafficking rings who operate along the Southwest Border were making the transition to human trafficking. The INS Report gave two reasons for these transitions: one was that larger, more powerful Mexican cartels were forcing smaller groups out of the business. The second reason was that the smaller rings found that sentences were less severe for smuggling humans than narcotics (Hegstrom 2003).

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12 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. submits an annual report outlining major human-rights concerns in the Americas. Human trafficking continually tops the list of problems in the U.S. and Mexico. Based on several testimonies received by the commission, evidence has been collected concerning the manner in which coyotes operate. According to the report, coyotes repeatedly lead migrants on physically difficult routes. When the group of migrants and the coyote cross the river, the desert, or the mountains, the migrants who physically do not have the strength to cross are abandoned by the traffickers. This places the physical integrity and lives of the migrants at risk. In many cases, migrants were offered false citizenship documentation in exchange for money. Undocumented immigrants, if detained, rarely make accusations against the coyote. Often the coyote is the only contact that the immigrant has. Immigrants also fear the consequences of reporting information about the coyote. In addition, when immigrants are detained for crossing the border without documentation, evidence gathered against smugglers is generally ineffective. Currently, the Mexican government is working to improve migrant policies with concrete measures that articulate Mexicos humanitarian interest. Therefore, reforms and additions were made to the General Population Law (Ley General de Poblacin). These reforms give the highest level of protection to the human rights of migrants. Also, these changes give the highest level juridical security within the process of immigration proceedings. These reforms also support family integration and strongly oppose and contest crimes tied to human trafficking.

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13 Though both the U.S. and Mexico are revising policy to halt human trafficking, these acts will continue as long as the border remains closed. Sueos Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo Natalias father, Refugio Guardado, took a risk, leaving his three small children in Mexico with their grandparents in order to seek work in the United States. Often immigrants left their families at the border on the Mexican side while the father found suitable and stable employment which would enable him to return for his family (Romo 1995). Therefore, this was not an uncommon practice of Mexican families who wished to migrate north. The year was 1918, and Mexico was experiencing the effects of the Revolution. The overthrow of Porfirio Diaz did not halt the feelings of unrest, which persisted until the completion of a new federal constitution in 1924. Many Mexicans laborers felt uncertain about social and economic conditions in their homeland. This uncertainty, along with attractive wages in the United States, gave many Mexicans reasons to migrate. In unskilled occupations, southwestern industries often paid common laborers five to ten times more than similar industries paid in Mexico (Romo 1995:25). The U.S. government instituted a special Mexican labor program which allowed and encouraged the entry of temporary workers in 1917. Mexican emigration between 1910 and 1929 totaled almost 700,000 as peasants fled the fighting and economic devastation that stalked the country in these years (Dublin 1993). Natalia described the economic instability that thousands of poor Mexican families endured. Ultimately, the Hacienda system and the Mexican Revolution were precursors

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14 to Natalias voyage to the United States. Here, she described the events leading to her familys migration: Natalia Caudillo: You know, in Mexico in those days, the farmers hire all these people and they are mean to them. They tried to do the same thing with my daddy. And, my daddy said he wasnt going to let them do nothing. If I stay here, Im going to whip him! But, hes the farmer. You cant do nothing. And, he said, I dont want to be in trouble. Id rather go to the United States and see what I can find. It was como una hacienda que tiene un hombre que es the bigshot and he can do anything with the workers. He can whip them. So, my daddy said, Hes not going to do that to me. Hes not going to do that to me. So, Id rather leave than to get in trouble. So that is why he left. Once the immigrants crossed the border, labor agents or enganchadores competed vigorously to recruit them. These agents often made extravagant promises to induce immigrants to sign labor contracts with the componieas they represented (Romo 1995:29). Refugio spent 2 years in the U.S., primarily in Texas and California working in cotton and fruit fields. He also made money as a carpenter, carving and building furniture, acoustic musical instruments, and even dolls, as he followed seasonal work. Refugio found opportunity and freedom in the United States. He began sending money back to his children in Mexico, along with promises of his return. In the summer of 1920, Refugio had accumulated enough money to bring Natalia and her brothers to the U.S. Though immigration policy was far more lax in the 1920s than today, Refugio, who had obtained legal documents to work in the U.S., had to form a plan to move his family across the border. Refugios work permit had expired, leaving him with few choices: one of which was to cross the border with the help of smugglers. Natalias border-crossing story was different than the stories that make headlines today. There was no violence, nor cruelty. There was no complicated plan to cross. In fact, the border itself was an invisible line floating somewhere in the currents of the Rio

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15 Grande. For Refugio and his family, crossing this line was symbolic, like stepping out of hunger and into opportunity. There were, however, coyotes. These smugglers were farmers from the Southern region of Texas. They would journey south into Mexico looking for seasonal work. They met Refugio Guardado, Natalias father, at a time when life in Mexico was changing rapidly. Class divisions were great, and Mexicans were migrating to the U.S. by the hundreds. The first bracero program remained in effect until 1921, having lasted some four years. More than seventy-thousand Mexican workers entered the United States under its provisions. The vast majority of them were certified for farm work, but some were approved for other jobs as well. (Kiser 1979). Natalia recalled the day that she, her father, and two brothers left their home for a new life in the United States. The four traveled from their rural community of El Rayo, Mexico to San Francisco, Mexico. From this city, they took a train ride to the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo. Natalia described the experience of crossing: Natalia Caudillo: It was my first train ride. I was scared. I didnt know where we were going. My daddy had a passport. But, we didnt have passports. And, we didnt have a mother. So they said, come back when you have a mother for the kids. And they wouldnt let us across. It was then that Refugio called upon the services of smugglers. Yet, Natalia explained that these smugglers were much different than todays coyotes: Natalia Caudillo: The coyotes werent compaeros with mi pap. They were just a bunch of guys who hired workers to come to Texas It wasnt bad like it is now. The coyotes werent so badWhen we came here, it was about 6 pm. It was getting dark. We took a boat across the Rio. After we crossed the river, we got in a truck with other Mexicanos. My daddy had to work for a month for el coyote. Veronica Sparks: What do you think about Mexicanos today who hire coyotes to help them enter the U.S.?

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16 Natalia Caudillo: The coyotes are awful. They cheat these poor guys. They squeeze all the money out of these Mexicanos. I read that some coyotes take a thousand dollars. But, lots of Mexicanos die trying to come here. Natalia recalled the truck-ride to the labor camp that had recruited Refugio when he lived in Mexico. She remembered recall that several other Mexican immigrants crowded into the back of a Ford Model T pickup truck. She described the ride from the river to Floresville, Texas: Natalia Caudillo: If we saw other lights coming, we would jump out the back and hide in the pastures. Somebody would yell, Aye vienen las rinches! (Laughing) We would hide from the other ranchers. But it wasnt dangerous. For one month, Refugio and the children worked at a large ranch with several other Mexican immigrants. This labor was considered payment to the Texan farmer who helped them cross into the United States. Natalia was put in housing with other female migrants. She spent her days with other women making tortillas and meals for the men. Refugio and the two boys spent days pulling cotton. One of Natalias most vivid memories was of that of a mysterious woman who became fond of her: Natalia Caudillo: She wanted to be my mother. She said, lets go to California, nobody will know. I said, my daddy will know. She said that he wouldnt care. I was so scared that I ran and told my daddy. Natalias life could have been drastically different had she decided to accompany this woman. This was one of the many ways that Natalia would practice her own agency to make choices and construct her life against the backdrop of macro forces which include laws, institutions, and other large structures (Gonzalez 2003). Cotton Fields of Dreams After working on the ranch for a month, Natalia and her family took a train into San Antonio, Texas. The purpose of this journey was to purchase supplies and goods

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17 before moving to the small community of Rogers, Texas, which is where Natalia would spend most of her young adulthood. The primary purchase in San Antonio was a sewing machine. Natalia beamed when describing that machine. She had no way of knowing at age ten that her sewing machine would become so dear to her, and so important to her future. The purchase of the sewing machine was symbolic of the domestic torch that was passed to Natalia. It was this purchase that allowed Natalia to assume the responsibility of clothing her family. Natalia sewed her first dress the next year. Rogers, Texas was a booming town in 1920. Cotton and cattle were the main products, and in 1918, Rogers shipped more cotton than any other city in Texas (Peeples 2003). Today, the population in Rogers barely exceeds 1,000. What was once a booming cotton town is now a few paved streets and a couple of gas stations. Yet, Natalia can recall a different time when Rogers was a bustling agriculture town that attracted hard-working immigrants from all over the globe. Natalias family lived near a Czech immigrant family. Natalia recalled moving past language barriers: Natalia Caudillo: I would play with Lorene Haisler. She was a little Czech girl. She only spoke Czech and I only spoke Spanish. Veronica Sparks: How did you communicate? Natalia Caudillo: Well, I started to learn Czech and she learned Spanish. I remember her voice. She would yell over to me, Natalia! Venga, vamos a jugar! (Laughing) We still write each other letters. After fifty-three years, Lorene Haisler and Natalia still write each other letters. In July of 2003, Natalia and Lorene were reunited. It had been thirty years since the two had spoken face to face. Natalia was ninety-three, Lorene was eighty-seven. Yet the two women giggled like school girls as they reminisced about days in the cotton fields near Rogers.

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18 It was not rare for immigrants of different national backgrounds to work together. Allen Burnss study of Guatemalans in Florida discuses this phenomenon. In Indiantown, the Maya have had to adapt to a multiethnic, migrant worker community (Burns 1999:141). This was also the case for Mexicans in Rogers, Texas. Natalia recalled working with Czechs, Germans, Blacks, Whites, and other Mexicans. The cotton culture of the is fertile region of central Texas was not racially static or bipartite but a site of multiple and heterogeneous borders where different languages, experiences, histories, and voices intermingled amid diverse relation of power and privilege (Foley 1997:7). Natalias experience with immigrants from different national backgrounds would preface her life in the United States, especially concerning issues of transnational identity. Like so many other immigrants, Natalia spent many years stooped over fields of cotton, picking and pulling. Though her role as migrant worker would stay with her for several years, the role that dominated her identity was that of mother. Figure 2-1. Czech immigrants that played with Natalia (1925). Photo by Refugio Guardado.

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19 Figure 2-2. Natalias friends celebrate at a parade(1932). Photo by Refugio Guardado. Figure 2-3. Natalia shows Veronica Sparks a doll that Refugio carved and a ribbon that Refugio purchased in 1920 (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks. Figure 2-4. June 2003 Lorene Haisler (left) and Natalia at a reunion meeting (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks.

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CHAPTER 3 SIEMPRE MADRE Natalias mother, Cleta Guardado Ramirez, died in 1915just days after giving birth to twin sons, who also died within days. Natalia was only 5 years old. The death of Natalias mother signified the birth of a new phase in Natalias life. That phase is one that continues today. The death of Cleta not only marked the loss of family member, it marked the loss of a worker, a cook, a seamstress. Natalia would assume these roles, especially the role of mother, at a very young age. Natalia, at age ninety-three, recalled the death of her mother and the events that followed: Veronica Sparks: How old were you when your mother died? Natalia Caudillo: I was five years old. Veronica Sparks: Do you remember anything about her? Natalia Caudillo: Nada. No The only thing I remember about her was that she pierced my ears. Thats all I remember. I remember there was a dark room with no windows. And she told me, Lay down. So I lay on her lap. She pierced my ears. I dont remember if it hurt. Veronica Sparks: Did she die giving birth to your twin brothers? Natalia Caudillo: No. I think she died the same day that she gave birth to the babies. I dont know how she died. After the babies were born, my mother had a pain. So, my father went to the little town where he used to trade to get medicine for her. By the time my father got home, my mother was dead. And, my father blamed my grandmother, her mother, because she gave my mother laxatives. So my father said, you shouldnt do that. My mother was just starting to gain her strength. So, my father and grandmother had a big fight. My father ran her off; he didnt want to see her anymore. He was so mad. I didnt know until years later. Natalia would never know how the death of her mother would significantly change her life. In fact, to this day, Natalia plays the part of mother. Currently, Natalia resides in 20

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21 a modest house in Lamesa, Texas. It is the house where she raised seven children. She now lives with her 26-year-old grandson, Arturo. He is the youngest of the many children Natalia raised. The oldest of Natalias children is Aurora who was born in 1929. Therefore, Natalia has actively assumed the role of mother, or mother figure, for 61 one years. This chapter will analyze Natalias life as a mother. By using Natalias testimonio, this section will highlight the constant element of motherhood that has been evident in Natalias life since her mother died in 1915. Gendered Transition by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo focuses on Mexican experiences of immigration in conjunction with women and gender roles; this study will provide a theoretical framework for Chapter Three. Agency, Gender, and Migration by Gilbert Gonzalez and Raul Fernandez will also serve as a key piece of literature in this section. This chapter will also turn to the article Hispanic Women in the United States: Family and Work Relations by Rina Alcalay. This article used demographic data to analyze gender roles within Mexican communities. The theory integrated in this chapter is the concept that Marianismo ideology exists beyond borders, and that this idealization of the woman has a long history in Mexico. Marianismo includes the restriction of woman from the private domain, the domestic roles of women, and household structure. Marianismo is characterized by hyperfeminine behavior. "The roots of Marianismo are both deep and widespread, springing apparently from the primitive awe at woman's ability to produce a living human creature from inside her own body. The Mariana is pure, submissive to her father, brothers and spouse, and lacks sexual desires. The ideal Mariana is often thought of as someone like the Virgin Mary. Marianismo is not a religious practice although the word "Marianism" is sometimes used to describe a movement within the Roman Catholic church which

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22 has as its object the special veneration of the figure of the Virgin Mary, (Stevens 1994). Natalias story refutes and exemplifies this ideology. According to Joan Acker, The relevant question becomes not why are women excluded but to what extent have the overall institutional structure, and the character of particular institutional areas, been formed by and through gender (1992). Gender is a dynamic phenomenon. It is exercised through a series of relationships. This chapter will evaluate the social relations that Natalia experienced through migration and settlement in Texas. Pass it On Two years after Cletas death, Refugio married Sylvestra Fuentes. Sylvestra later gave birth to Chano, Refugios third child. Natalia and Pedro quickly adapted to life with a new mother and sibling. After four years, Refugio and Sylvestra began to face marital problems. Though the two remained married, Refugio found a new companion and joined the U.S. Bracero program. He promised his children that he would return for them. While Refugio was working in Texas, the three children were abandoned by Sylvestra, who left for California with another man. Natalia and Pedro (and now Chano) were once again without a mother. Fortunately, Sylvestras mother rescued the children, caring for them until their father returned. Natalia described the situation in her own words: Natalia Caudillo: My father, Pedro, Chano, and I moved to the United States. Sylvestra didnt come to Tejas because she left with another man. She left Chano with us. Chano was four and I was ten. She went to California with the other man. Veronica Sparks: Were Sylvestra and Refugio married?

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23 Natalia Caudillo: Yes. They were married. But, my father left to work in the United States. He said he would come back. But, after a month, Sylvestra left with another man. Veronica Sparks: Was she raising you, Pedro, and Chano in Mexico? Natalia Caudillo: Yes. She was supposed to be raising us. But, she left us with her mother and father. Their names were Maria and Brijido. They were sweet people. They liked me. They didnt want us to leave with my father. But, I wanted to go with my father so bad. When my father left, he left a big room full of corn and beans for us to eat. She (Sylvestra) sold every bit of it. She sold it all! Veronica Sparks: Was it corn that he grew? Natalia Caudillo: Yeah. We would grow our own beans and corn for the winter. Veronica Sparks: And she sold it all? Natalia Caudillo: Sold it all for money to leave for California. She left us with her mother. She knew that her mother wouldnt let us starve. Besides, we didnt eat too much. Veronica Sparks: How long did you live with Maria before your dad came back? Natalia Caudillo: Two years. Veronica Sparks: Did you see your dad in that time? Natalia Caudillo: No. Not in two years. I wasnt scared though. I think he wrote letters. But, I didnt get them. But, I didnt know how to read. Natalia changed homes three times in five years. There was no parental stability. By the time Natalia turned ten, she dealt with the death of her mother, abandonment by her stepmother, the questioning of her fathers return, life with new guardians, and the return of her father. Natalia quickly learned to fend for herself. Pedro and Natalia cared for Chano, who was four years old when Sylvestra left. The three children began working at very young ages. Natalia Caudillo: I used to walk to work, when I was about seven or eight. It was far. It wasnt close. And, I went by myself. I remember, I would (como se dice?) sow the seedsplant the seeds for my uncle. We grew corn and peppers and watermelon. My daddy had bee hives too. We always had fresh honey. We had about 40 hives.

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24 Currently, Natalia tends a large garden of tomatoes, peppers, and melons at her home. She continues to practice the skills that she learned as a girl, including mothering. Today, she supports several grandchildren financially, as well as emotionally. She pays medical bills and purchases back-to-school clothes, and often acts a mother to these grandchildren. Why, after so many years, does Natalia continue to assume that maternal role? And, how did she adapt so quickly to the responsibilities of being the female of the house, at such a young age? Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo describes patriarchy as a fluid and shifting set of social relations where men oppress women, in which different men exercise varying degrees of power and control, and in which women collaborate and resist in diverse ways (1994:3). Though patriarchal gender relations are concurrently structured and practiced in labor and state sectors, Hondagneu-Sotelo suggests that important aspects of patriarchal power and consequence are structured through family relationships. Maternal Programming Although common to a certain degree to all Latin cultures, Mexican American male-female relations have a more acute dominant-dominated pattern than most other Latin cultures. This stems from the original Spanish conquest of Mexico and southwestern United States. The first marriages between the Spanish patrones and the Indian women were patriarchal. The Spanish man was not only dominant because of his status as conqueror, but was also institutionalized in this role by the traditions of the Catholic Church. Women were socialized to the Marianismo concept which idealized a submissive role for women. This concept involved the veneration of the Virgin Mary. The beliefs and values associated with Marianismo identified women as virgins, mothers and martyrs. Women were supposed to be submissive, altruistic and self-denying. This veneration of the Virgin Mary led to the downgrading of women who did not fulfill the ideal. (Alcalay 1984:126) Natalia fulfilled this ideal. She was hard working, but soft-spoken. After moving to the Rogers, Texas in 1920, Natalia worked, with her family, alongside other Mexican migrants. She sometimes picked cotton, but mostly cooked for all of the workers. She

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25 recalled cooking stacks of tortillas that were several feet tall. Often, other Mexican migrants would pass through Rogers, on their way to Arizona or California. Refugios house was known to be a safe-haven for Mexicans passing through. Sometimes, primos, or cousins from Mexico, would visit Refugios home. It was known that Natalia and Chanita, Refugios third wife, would cook lavish meals of beans, rice, squash and chicken for friends and family of Refugio. Patriarchal kinship obligation ensured that women did the domestic chores, and in residences not organized by kin ties, patriarchal arrangement still prevailed although mens privileges were somewhat attenuated (Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994:107). Veronica Sparks: Do you ever remember other Mexicanos in your town? Natalia Caudillo: Oh yes! Sometimes, these men would stay at our house. Other Mexicanos going to California or Arizona. My daddy would let them stay with us. I would cook for everyone. I didnt know them! But, I would make arroz con pollo, frijoles, and tortillaslots of tortillas. Veronica Sparks: How long would these men stay? Natalia Caudillo: Not very long. They would eat, sleep, then go on their way. My father loved to help people. Natalia demonstrated heart-felt sentiment when describing situations where she would spend hours cooking for strangers. She acted as though it were her duty to guarantee a full-stomach and a feeling of comfort for these men. Natalias devotion to domestic service is an example of the patriarchal arrangement described by Hondagneu-Sotelo above. One of the men Natalia met through her fathers network of migrant Mexicans was Juan Ramirez. Juan was the teenage son from another family of workers. Natalia and Juan married in 1916, and had their first child, Aurora in 1917. Throughout Natalias

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26 life, she would give birth to twelve children, most of whom she raised without Juans assistance. Birth rates and family size for Hispanic women are substantially higher than for Anglo women even when socioeconomic differences between the two groups are controlled. The greater family size results from traditional Hispanic emphasis on the extended family, in which children are highly valued and marital roles are validated by the presence of children. (Alcalay 1985:126). Natalia explained that for years she was uninformed on the cause of pregnancy. She can recall a three year time span when her body failed to menstruate due to frequent pregnancy. Natalia gave birth to a child each consecutive year from 1938 to 1942 (Table 1). In 1942, Natalia and Juan moved to Lamesa, a small West Texas town that relied on oil and cotton. Natalia, Juan, and their four children were joined by four more children. Juans sister, Isabel, died in 1941, leaving behind her four children, Faye, Jesus, Maria, and Jose. The children ranged from ages eight to twelve. Abandoning the four children was not a consideration for Natalia. Within days, the size of Natalias family doubled. Natalia was faced with the difficulty of feeding four more children. Natalia used humor when discussing her grim living conditions at the time. Yet, she was very clear that those were times that she would rather forget: Natalia Caudillo: I didnt take care of them. It was more like they took care of themselves. Faye, Jose, Maria, and Chuy Their mom was Juans sister, Isabel. Fay was twelve or so Veronica Sparks: How many children did you have when you moved to Lamesa? Natalia Caudillo: Aurora, Miguel, Carmen, y Audelia. Jesus, Maria, Jose, y Fella. Veronica Sparks: Where did you live in Lamesa? Natalia Caudillo: In a doghouse! (Laughing) No, it was in an underground cellar. I dont like to think about those things anymore. I had no stove. There were no beds. There was no bathtub. We only washed on Fridays.

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27 Table One also lists Natalias children who died at young ages. Natalia had five children who died before age five. According to Natalia, Juan was strongly opposed to using medical doctors. In fact, he relied solely on the advice and care of the neighborhood curandero, or medicine man. Juans curandero warned that if Juan took his children to a medical doctor, Juan would mysteriously die soon thereafter. Juan was deeply afraid of this warning and refused to risk his own life for the sake of the children. Although Natalia and Juan had several children, their marriage was hardly validated. Juan was open about adulterous affairs. He was also addicted to gambling and alcohol, and was often physically abusive to Natalia. She recalled several occasions when she and her children would have to forfeit weekly earnings from working in the cotton fields to pay Juans gambling debts. Natalia described the gambling situation: Veronica Sparks: Tell me about Juans gambling. Natalia Caudillo: He was a gambler before we got married, but I didnt know that. Veronica Sparks: Did he owe people money? Natalia Caudillo: No. No one ever had money. They just gambled whatever they had. I remember, I had credit at Montgomery Ward. I bought him a jacket. I think he wore it once before he gambled it away. There was a place near the river where the gamblers would get together and drink or whatever. On Fridays, he would pack a lunch and go He would stay all night. Sometimes, he wouldnt be back until Monday. Veronica Sparks: Were there women out there? Natalia Caudillo: I think so. I dont know what they did. They gambled too. I was dumb, like I said. I didnt care much. I didnt even want to leave him. Later, I was ready to leave him. Veronica Sparks: What made you want to leave him? Natalia Caudillo: Well, he made his money and would leave. He never helped me. Sometimes he would leave for days. He would leave me without a car or money. Just the babies. We wouldnt even have milk. We had an old car. He went away for the weekend. And, he came back without it. And, I had a radio.

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28 That was the only music I had. One time, he said that he was taking the radio to town to be fixed. It wasnt even broken. He gambled it away. Veronica Sparks: Did he ever win anything? Natalia Caudillo: No, I dont think so. Veronica Sparks: Did you ever talk to him about his gambling? Natalia Caudillo: (laughing) He wasnt that kind of man. I couldnt talk to him. He blamed everything on me. He said everything was my fault. Natalia declined discussing the physical abuse she endured during her marriage to Juan. It was briefly mentioned. And, Natalia quickly changed the subject. Juan died of liver failure resulting from alcoholism in 1953. He left behind seven children, ranging in age from one year to twenty-four years old. For each family size there is a higher percentage of female-headed households among Hispanics than among any other ethnic group in the United States (Alcalay 1985:124). Though, Natalia spent years as a single parent, she never received financial assistance. In fact, she was often the source of financial and emotional assistance within her family community. Within the extended family setting, Mexican women obtain culturally sanctioned power and authority from the roles of wife and mother (Alcalay 1985:126). The Mexican woman gains self respect as well as validation and self worth through the role of motherhood. This is largely to do with the way that Latin American culture views the mothers role in the family. For this reason, the attachment of Hispanic women to the home in the United States still supercedes their attachment to whatever work role they may assume. (Alcalay 1985:124). Natalias stories and memories are prime examples of points made in the cited literature. Natalias life has included a sixty-one year pilgrimage of motherhood. Not only was the role that Natalia accepted an unconscious validation of womanhood, it was a

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29 means of survival. Natalias attitude toward family structure and motherhood has changed drastically over the years. She described herself as passive and uninterested in changing her role. She admitted that she dreamt of a career in the military. She also warned her younger grand-daughters of the hardships that accompany motherhood: Veronica Sparks: Have you ever thought about what your life would have been without your children? Natalia Caudillo: I wanted to go to war. I had Mike. He was a little boy. I just wanted to go to the army. That was during World War II. Veronica Sparks: What made you want to join the army? Natalia Caudillo: I just really wanted to go join the army. I wanted to go away. Veronica Sparks: Did you ever want to stop having babies? Natalia Caudillo: I never thought about it. I didnt know what was causing me to get pregnant. I would get mad at myself. But, it never did me any good. I always ended up pregnant. Veronica Sparks: What do you think of Latinos and Latinas today? What do you think of big families versus small families? Natalia Caudillo: I think its alright to have a small family. I dont like big families. I love my family. But, its so hard to take care of a big family, because of money. Today, people dont take care of their kids. These days, women just leave their children. I never thought of leaving my kids. Its so hard for women. Natalias change in attitude is symbolic of the changes in the Latino/a community. While Natalia is proud of her family, she openly expressed her concern for the Latino/a community. Natalias case is an example of identity in the diaspora. Her opinions and views, though their roots are old and traditional, are fluid and dynamic. In her 93 years, Natalia continues to alter her philosophies on life and existence. Yet, Natalia continues to nurture and protect her family. She currently celebrates the opportunity to witness five generations. Presently, Natalia has six living children, 25 grandchildren, 45 great

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30 grandchildren, and 22 great-great grandchildren. For Natalia, she will be known as madre por siempre. Table 3.1 Chronology of birth years of Natalia Caudillos children Year Child 1929 Aurora 1930 Audelia, died at age 5 of unknown illness 1932 Jose, died hours after birth 1934 Miguel 1938 Carmen 1939 Armando, died as infant of pneumonia 1940 Estelita, died as infant, cause unknown 1941 Evanjelina, died at age 4 of meningitis 1942 Audelia II 1948 Olga 1950 Armando II 1952 Sylvia Figure 3-1. Pola (Natalias sister-in-law) and Natalia (right) with her first child, Aurora (June 1929). Photo by Refugio Guardado.

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31 Figure 3-2 Jesusa Ramirez (left) was the sister-in-law of Juan Ramirez. Natalia later cared for Faye (right) and her sister Maria (center) (1942). Photo by Natalia Caudillo. Figure 3-3. (Clockwise) Natalia, Friend of Family, Olga, Sylvia, and Armandito (July 1955). Photographer unknown.

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32 Figure 3-4 Natalia poses while her children play (April 1954). Photographer unknown. Figure 3-5 (left to right) Armando, Olga, Carmen, Natalia, Aurora, Audelia, and Sylvia (1978). Photo by Sabino Caudillo.

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33 Figure 3-6 Natalia poses with five generations worth of family photos (Associated Press 1998) Figure 3-7 Natalia and family at a Christmas party (December 2002). Photo by John Sparks.

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CHAPTER 4 IMMIGRATION Natalia, though she has faced hardships, has had a successful, healthy life in the U.S. She has been fortunate. Several serious issues face immigrants in the U.S., including discrimination, mistreatment, and abuse. This chapter will evaluate immigration as social, economic, and political phenomena. Theory and concepts based on Douglas Masseys work, Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration is used to analyze U.S./Mexican immigration (2002). Masseys study draws on modern theory and research to illustrate modern international migration systems. Natalias story, along with Masseys work, accompanied with statistics based on United States Immigration and Naturalization Service research will be used in this section to paint a picture of the current U.S./Mexican immigration situation and how it has evolved since Natalia entered Texas. The greatest import in the history of the United States has indisputably been people. At times by choice, sometimes unwillingly, people have come to the United States to boost someones economy (either the importer or the imported). Mexico is undoubtedly the most significant source for immigration to the United States in the past half century. Between 1998 and 2001, around 659,493 Mexican immigrants entered the United States legally, averaging at 21% of the total immigrants legally admitted into the United States (U.S. INS 2002). This does not count the estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants (1998-2001) living in the United States, a number which is estimated to grow 34

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35 at about 276,000 persons per year. According to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Mexico is the leading source country of undocumented immigration to the United States (U.S. INS 2000). An estimated 2,700,000 undocumented Mexicans were residing in the United States in 1996; the majority of these undocumented citizens were located in California and Texas. These astounding numbers lead us to ask many questions. Why are Mexicans moving to the United States? Who are these Mexicans? And, what effect do these Mexicans have on the United States economy? Though no amount of research could fully answer these questions, this section will provide a beginning to these answers through four sections: a history of immigration to the United States, the Mexican immigration movement, Mexican men as migrant workers, and immigrants in the economy. In this chapter, I will briefly list key points in the history of United States immigration. This chapter will also discuss the U.S./Texas border and how it has become a fusion of two identities. Finally, this chapter will describe a frightening moment in Natalias life that could have easily lead to her deportation after 78 years in the U.S. The Four Waves For years, social scientist have used models to explain and clarify the phenomena of international migration. Immigration is often the result of one of three situations. The first is the structural explanation of migration. This includes economic hardship. Migration occurs in order to break out of economic cycles of poverty. The second explanation of migration is the personal reason. Persons migrate to meet family or to prepare for family migration. The third reason is the automatic explanation. In certain

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36 nations of Latin American, migration is expected. It is automatic and is part of family and social culture. Immigration flows to the United States have often been described as waves. I will use Thomas Mullers model to describe and explain the history of migration waves (1985). Although Mullers model states that Mexican migration falls into the fourth wave, Mexicans have been migrating to the United States throughout each of the waves in this model. The first mass movement of people to the United States took place between the 1840s and 1870s and came predominantly form the British Isles and the nation-states that were later combined to form Germany (Muller 1985). Todays Mexican immigrants hold a striking resemblance to the Irish who played a major role in the First Wave. The Irish were different from the other immigrants of the period in several respects: they were poorer, more rural and less educated they were also Catholic in a Protestant America (Muller 1985). Though they suffered from widespread prejudice, the Irish were able to make significant advancements. The election of two United States presidents of Irish decent, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, are illustrations of that progress. Though many Mexican-Americans are progressing socially and politically, today, Mexican immigrants, as well as Mexican-Americans suffer from many of the prejudices faced by the Irish. I will later discuss the low education level of todays Mexican immigrants, and the high poverty levels among Mexican immigrants. The Second Wave of immigrants came from eastern and southern Europe; this group spoke neither English nor a Germanic language. They were predominantly Catholic (with substantial numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe) and came from rural areas and small towns in industrially undeveloped parts of the Continent (Muller 1985).

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37 Again, these second-wave immigrants can be compared to Mexican immigrants in that the majority of Mexican immigrants speak little to no English, and are predominantly Catholic. The Third Wave was a wave of migration, not limited to immigration. This wave focuses on movement of peoples within the United States rather than outside of the United States. The movement of southern rural Black Americans to northern cities was analogous to the immigrant waves (Muller 1985: 11). In both cases, people from disfavored areas were seeking opportunity in industrialized areas. The northern migration of southern rural Blacks prefaces the northern movement of Mexicans. The Fourth Wave, which is the wave that will be discussed throughout this chapter, is the migration of Latinos and Hispanics. The end of black migration from the South created a need for new sources of low-wage labor in urban centers (Muller 1985). Mexican Immigration Movement Until disparities in wealth and income between the United States and Latin America disappear, the United States probably will continue to act as an economic magnet for Mexicans and other Latin Americans in search of employment and income opportunities (Bean 1986). The United States simply holds hegemonic power which leads poor nations, such as Mexico, into states of dependence. Whether it is in the form of foreign aid or in the waves of migration, poor nations have no choice but to rely on the all-powerful United States. The annual number of Mexican entries grew from just 10,000 in 1913 on the eve of World War I, to 68,000 in 1920, and peaked at 106,000 in 1924 (Durand 2001). According to official U.S. statistics, some 621,000 Mexicans entered the United States between 1920 and 1929 (Cardoso 1980), a figure not reached again for decades. During

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38 1926-1932, which corresponds with Mexicos flood tide of emigration, some 44 percent of all Mexicans migrating to the United States came from one of nine western states that comprise the historic heartland for migration from Mexico to the United States (Durand 2001). The Bracero Accord of 1942 amplified the Fourth Wave. This program permitted United States companies to employ workers from Mexico provisionally to minimize the deficiency of agriculture workers during World War II. Under the treaty, Mexicans were granted renewable six-month visas to work for approved agricultural growers, located mostly in southwestern United States (Durand 2001). Over the course of this programs twenty-two years, more than 4.6 million Mexican workers were imported into the United States (Cornelius 1978). This supposed temporary solution was prolonged until 1964. These Bracero workers were mostly from western Mexico. During the 1960s, potential job opportunities, growing overpopulation in sender nations, lower travel costs, and timely changes in immigration laws caused immigration to the United States to swell to 3.3 million, the highest level since the 1920s. Without realizing it, the United States government had started a trend among Mexican immigrantsa trend that included millions of Mexicans migrating north to find job opportunities in agriculture. This trend would soon lead to national debates concerning immigration reform, human rights, and international relations. In 1965 Congress enacted a new immigration law that for the first time put numerical limits on immigration to the United States from countries in the Western Hemisphere, effective in 1968 (Muller 1985). In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed. This major event greatly affected the migration of all

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39 persons into the United States. The legislation greatly expanded the resources, personnel, and power of the United States Border Patrol, criminalized the hiring of undocumented migrants, and generally militarized the Mexico-United States border (Durand 2001). The Male Mexican Migrant Worker Immigrants are portrayed as desperate people fleeing endemic violence and poverty in the Third World, where stagnant economies, growing populations, and decaying infrastructures leave inhabitants little choice but to seek refuge abroad (Massey 2002). Research shows a different side to immigrants. Risk, ambition, and desire are not words typically associated with the U.S. perception of the Mexican immigrant. Yet, these words describe so many of the men and women who risk everything to cross the border. This also leads to a very important question. Who is the Male Mexican Migrant Worker? He is the typical migrant into the United States. A recent study of Mexican migration patterns and demographics stated that the typical migrant is a working-age male from western Mexico, most likely from Guanajuato, Jalisco, or Michoacan (Durand 2001). Though many Mexican women migrate to the U.S. for work, the dominance of men appears to be increasing (Durand 2001). In fact the percentage of Mexican men moving to the U.S. is increasing, while the number of Mexican women is decreasing. The percentage of children (up to age eleven) and of teenagers (twelve to eighteen) has also fallen, while the percentage of older workers has increased (Durand 2001). Data also shows that the migrant worker is getting older. Throughout the early 1990s, the age of the incoming Mexican immigrant increased. But, the average workers age remains between eighteen and fifty-four. The typical Mexican immigrant household was evaluated in Thomas Mullers The Fourth Wave (1985). In Los Angeles County in 1980, one in every twelve households

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40 was headed by Mexican immigrants (Muller 1985). The average household headed by Mexican immigrants contained 4.25 persons compared to the 2.54 persons who lived in households not headed by Mexican immigrants (Muller 1985). The average income in 1980 for Mexican immigrant households in Los Angeles County was $15,256, which was two-thirds the average income for all households in Los Angeles ($22,480) (Muller 1985). Wayne Cornelius (1992) conducted a survey to find that Mexican immigrants were changing from homogeneous uneducated to socially heterogeneous. This was due to the fact that well-educated urban workers joined the outflow in response to a deteriorating economy (Durand 2001). An earlier study by Cornelius (1978) and by North Houston (1976) found that the average duration of a Mexican immigrants stay in the United States was approximately six to eight months (Bean 1986). Yet, there has been a shift in duration of stay for Mexican immigrants. Cornelius (1993) uncovered evidence that migrants were becoming more attached to the United States and were shifting from a sojourner to a settler mentality (Durand 2001). Unfortunately, the average Mexican immigrant is not achieving monetary success in the United States. The 2001 annual report released by the United States Center for Immigration Studies (2001) stated that because of their much lower education levels, Mexican immigrants earn significantly less than natives on average (Camarota 2001). This results in lower average tax payments and heavier use of means-tested programs (Camarota 2001). Based on estimates developed by the National Academy of Sciences for immigrants by age and education at arrival, the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid

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41 minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative $55,200 (Camarota 2001). Another issue faced by Mexican immigrants living in the United States is poverty. The Center for Immigration Studies (2001) also reported that Mexican immigrants, and their children, who are born United States citizens, comprise 10.2 percent of all persons living below or at poverty levels. These immigrants also comprise 12.5 percent of all persons living without health insurance. Mexican Immigrants and the United States Economy The affects on the economy can arguably be considered the most heated political topic surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States. While thousands of immigrants cross the United States borders to secure jobs, thousands of United States citizens question the stability of their jobs. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, though most native United States citizens are more skilled and thus do not face significant job competition from Mexican immigrants, the 2001 annual report (consistent with previous research by the Center) indicates that the more than 10 million native United States citizens who lack a high school degree do face significant job competition from Mexican immigrants (Camarota 2001). This competition is among the workers with the least amount of skills. Still, Mexicans earn less than non-Mexicans working in similar occupations (Muller 1985). On a lighter note, employment has increased, creating additional higher-paying jobs because of the economic expansion resulting from Mexican migration. Jobs, such as bilingual teachers, would not be necessary without the Mexican immigration movement. While there is some competition among Mexican immigrants and native United States workers, the they take our jobs mentality is not supported statistically. The first

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42 economic data refuting this mentality was written in the 1920s. Isaac Hourwich (1922) concluded that immigration in the 1920s had, in fact, not displaced native wage workers or earlier immigrants. The second fact involves the immigration boom up to World War II. These data show that immigrants entering the United States during this period were responding to economic opportunity. Third, a comparison between cities with large numbers of undocumented workers and other cities suggested a possible linkage between immigration and unemployment (North 1979). Fourth, between 1935 and 1940, Californias population grew by 10%more than any other state (Muller 1985). The majority of this growth was immigrants. These immigrants stimulated Californias economy, bringing the demand for goods, services, and housing. In fact, Californias per capita income remained the fourth highest in the nation (actually improving relative to other states at the time) (Muller 1985). The abundance of Mexican immigrants has also added a profusion of cheap labor. By increasing the supply of unskilled labor, Mexican immigration in the 1990s has reduced the wages of workers without a high school education by an estimated 5% (Camarota 2001). The workers affected are already the lowest-paid, comprising a large share of the working poor and those trying to move from welfare to work (Camarota 2001). In discussing the wage effects of immigration, it is important to remember that immigrants are being paid less than the average wage; this is how the average wage among workers in the United States decreases. Amexica The cover of the June 2001 issue Time magazine has the image of a little girl with dark hair and brown skin. She is smiling a toothy grin as a little boy looks at her curiously. The cover says, Welcome to Amexica. This particular issue analyzes the

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43 border from several different perspectives. The 2,000-mile-long international boundary between that United States gives shape to a unique economic, social, and cultural entity (Lorey 1999:1) The borderlands signify a space where a developed country and a developing country meet and blend. Two of Mexicos six largest cities are located within a one-hundred-mile-wide strip. Although one cannot say with precision exactly when the border became something more than a mental construction, its reification as a socially, economically, and politically meaningful dividing line is mostly a product of the twentieth century (Massey 2002:26). A common trait of borderland area is the phenomenon of sister cities. A city in Mexico will spill into the U.S., and vice versa. These vast cities populate hundreds of Mexican and U.S. citizens. The only separation of the two cities is the international boundary line. Otherwise, these cities are mirrored economically and culturally. Fusions of Spanish and English are spoken. San Diego/Tijuana is the busiest border crossing point. El Paso/Ciudad Juarez is the largest border city, boasting 2 million people. Laredo/Nuevo Laredo is the busiest commercial crossing point. And, McAllen/Reynosa is the fourth fastest growing metro area in the U.S. Popular music and movies, such as Selena and Born in East L.A. depict border life. And, border life is often illustrated in popular Chicano literature and art. Many suspect that the cities on the U.S./Mexico border are insights to the future of the U.S. Natalia, though she does not reside in a major border city, personifies border culture. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. And, she is a symbol of the fusion of

PAGE 51

44 the two countries. She discuses the issue of transnational identity and what it means to be a Mexican-American: Natalia Caudillo: I love it here. Maybe it is because Ive been here all my life. But, I dont want to live in Mexico again. I like everything here. (Laughing) I like tortillas and hamburgers and Chinese food. I know some Mexicanos who move here and dont try to learn English. Its not right. If you want to stay, you have to try. Veronica Sparks: I know one of your favorite things to do is watch Sunday football. Tell me about that. Natalia Caudillo: I like the Dallas Cowboys when they play good. (Laughing) Natalias love for tortillas and egg rolls is one of the many ways that she has become an active part of cultural fusion. Though she commits to a diet of beans, rice, and tortillas, Natalia delights in international cuisine. She keeps her collection of Cantiflas movies in her living room, near her television. Yet her kitchen is filled with Elvis memorabilia. Natalias Spanish is spliced with Chicano words such as troka for truck and cook-iando for cooking. In ethnic terms, border culture reflects a social milieu that was both a melting pot and a salad bowl (Lorey 1999:139). In U.S. border cities, such as El Paso and Los Angeles culture is a combination of Mexican and American influence ranging form high art, to popular tradition, to language. The border is also the birth place for new types of music and art. An example of border music is the corrido, or ballad. "For a long time, it was assumed that corridos were brought north from Mexico to the border and South Texas," said Miguel Leatham, an anthropology professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville researching the songs"Now we believe they started along the border and only later became popular in Mexico (Grant 1999). No matter the region

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45 of origin, the corrido commonly uses the United States / Mexico border as a setting for the song. The United States will always be tied to Mexico by geography, history, demography, and economics. Given a sixty-year history of continuous movement back and forth across the border, the flowering of binational trade and investment, the continent-wide expansions of transportation and communication networks, and the blending of cultures and peoples in both directions, the two nations are already substantially integrated (Massey 2002:6). United States / Mexico borderlands are more than a cultural and political novelty. One cannot help but wonder if the border is a preview of what life in the greater United States will be like as the Latino population rises. Face to Face with La Migra Though Natalia has worked for above average wages, for many years she worked for below-average wages. And, though she lives comfortably now, for many years she lived far below the national poverty line. Though Natalia has lived in the U.S. for 84 years, she is not immune to immigration policy. Years of anxiety and fear of failure prevented Natalia from applying for U.S. citizenship, though the idea had always been a dream of hers. Natalia was insecure about her literacy level due to lack of formal education. After a year of intense studying, Natalia applied for U.S. citizenship in Dallas, Texas in 1998. Upon reviewing Natalias application, the INS discovered that Natalia had voted in the 1996 presidential election. Persons not holding citizenship status in the U.S. are not allowed to vote in governmental elections. Natalia was notified in 1999 that she had committed a crime, and was being deported.

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46 Natalias family immediately hired an immigration attorney, but more effectively contacted the local news media to inform them of her case. Within days of contacting the press, Natalias story had made local and national headlines. The story of the 88-year-old woman who was being deported touched the hearts of Texans everywhere. Natalia became the topic on internet message boards. She also became a heroic mascot for her citys local Tejano radio station. When Texas congressmen and state representative Charles Stenholm (D), began receiving floods of mail pleading for a pardon for Natalia, the INS canceled her deportation. Though Natalia was allowed to stay in the U.S., she is forbidden to reapply for citizenship. The irony of her situation is chilling. She was punished for voting. Natalia said that she was told by a voters registration recruiter that she was allowed to register since she had lived in the U.S. for more than 50 years. Again, Natalia used humor when thinking back to her immigration scare: Veronica Sparks: What did you think about your immigration problems in 1998? Natalia Caudillo: I wasnt scared. But, I was a little worried. There are a lot of places I could go in Mexico, but I dont know if they would let me stay for a long time. (Laughing) Veronica Sparks: Do you think you were treated unfairly? Natalia Caudillo: Yes. I didnt know I was doing anything wrong. People at the courthouse encouraged me to register to vote. At the courthouse! And, I was punished for somebody elses mistake. Veronica Sparks: What did you think of all the attention you received? Natalia Caudillo: I was kinda happy. (Laughing) I dont think I did anything wrong. It was kinda funny to see my picture everywhere. People knew me everywhere. I was kinda famous.

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47 Conclusion Mexican immigrants have largely affected the United States population, work force, and economy. The current wave of Mexican immigrants is similar, in many ways, to the European immigrants in the first and second waves of immigration. Currently, the average Mexican immigrant is as working-age male from one of three distinct regions. He earns lower wages than the average United States worker. The principal reasons why immigrants received lower wages are that they are less likely to be unionized and they have less experience and education than other workers (Durand 1985). The average household income for the Mexican migrant will be significantly lower than the average non-Mexican-immigrant-lead household. Though some Mexican immigrants compete for jobs with native U.S. workers, these jobs are typically reserved for the least-skilled. Data has shown that Mexican migration has actually boosted the U.S. economy. Demands for housing, goods, and services have increased. This increase, in turn, causes another demand for jobs. Though this wave of immigration leads to minor problems, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of the situation. And, while U.S. immigration reform is necessary, Mexican immigrants contribute greatly to the U.S. economy. The real threat is on the Mexicans themselves. Low wages, low education levels, and insufficient health care are dangerous factors which are greatly affecting these immigrants. The real solution seems to be in policy reform. The big picture must be evaluated. Individual cases, such as Natalias, explain the results of migration far more than models and multi-tiered charts. Without studying individual cases, migration is nothing more than a cycle of metaphors. A series of hydraulic tropes depicts immigration as a rising tide that pounds against U.S. shores in endless waves, threatening to wash away a shaky dike as it sprouts numerous leas that threaten the country with massive flooding by and

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48 immense sea of foreignersA second set of metaphors is martial in nature. Immigration is visualized as a war in which outgunned Border Patrol officers heroically hold the line, defending America against hordes of alien invaders who attack the fortress, occasionally resorting to banzai charges. Foreigners already inside the United States are seen as a fifth column of potential spies and terrorists. (Massey 2002:3) Immigration is an issue that influences Mexico and the United States near the borders and inside the borders. True resolution to any problems is to focus less on statistics and national averages, and more on individual cases. Figure 4-1. Natalia receives pardon to stay in U.S. from her immigration attorney Enrique Martinez (March 1998). Photo by John Sparks. Figure 4-2. Natalia is the guest of honor at her 93rd birthday celebration in Levelland, Texas (July 2003). Photo by Olga Sparks.

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49 Figure 4-3. Natalia dances with grandson Michael at her 93rd birthday celebration (July 2003). Photo by John Sparks.

PAGE 57

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION There are hundreds of stories that could have been included in this analysis. The story of Natalia Caudillo not only contributes to traditional views of Mexican migration, it challenges these views as well. Natalias story also gives insight to Tejano life in general, and the struggles of Mexican women in the cotton-industry. Harvard political scientist, Samual Huntington, warns in Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity that America's Latino immigration flood is so little like any earlier wave, so resistant to sharing the common American language, civic rites and virtues that it constitutes "a major potential threat to the cultural and possibly political integrity of the United States" (Huntington 2004). Natalias case is a direct contradiction to Huntingtons claim. Natalia is an example of an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has lived in the United States for 84 years. She has worked in the U.S., paid taxes, and voted! She embraces American popular culture and fluently speaks English. She is living proof that even older generations of immigrations can adapt to life in the U.S. without threatening English-speaking American culture. Natalias testimonio tied into gender theory, more than I expected. Considering Natalias bold character, I was surprised to find that she never questioned her husbands apathy. Yet, I was even more surprised to hear that Natalia would have loved a career in the military. Also, Natalias views on family structure have changed considerably over the years. 50

PAGE 58

51 Natalia is a 93-year-old Catholic woman from Mexico who is an advocate for birth control and family planning. Natalias identity and ideology is influenced by assimilation and multi-ethnic expereinces. Though she loves her family dearly, she openly addressed the difficulty associated with parenting. Natalias opinions on marriage and relationships have changed as well. By analyzing Natalias testimonio, we can see that Natalia was ready to leave her husband and end her marriage. This was something that the younger Natalia never considered. Challenges This study also presented challenges. First, how does one trace the steps of a subject who relocated so frequently? Natalia settled in Lamesa in 1940. Until then, she lived in various regions of Aguascalientes, Mexico and South Texas. Natalias first Texas town is reminiscent of frontier ghost town. The general store, the school house, and other landmarks of Natalias past are no longer evident. Migration studies have a long history in anthropology, but they have been focused more on sending or receiving communities and not on the processes of moving between several sending and receiving communities (Burns 1999:148). A second challenge was Natalias identity. Though she has lived in the U.S. for eighty-four years, she tightly grasps her Mexican heritage. She is a prime example of assimilation and integration without loss of culture and identity. I would have liked study Natalias hobbies such as traveling and watching football more extensively. The third challenge is the question of applied anthropology. What caused Natalia to make the decisions that she made? And, in order to truly be effective, I would like to apply my knowledge and skills to assist women like Natalia. She could have been spared nights of stress and anxiety had she known her rights in her immigration case. Also, she

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52 could have avoided years of physical distress and abuse from an oppressive husband had she known her rights as a woman. Contributions The purpose of this study was to put a face and a name to theory and ideas of anthropology. Migration, to Mexicans, is about taking a chance (Conover 1987:262). Natalia has taken many chances throughout her life. Her stories are examples of chance, of survival, and of adventure. Natalias devotion to her family as a mother and a guardian has subconsciously validated her status as a woman and an adult. Her story illustrates motherhood beyond national borders. Her undying loyalty, commitment, and self-sacrifice are not limited to Mexico. These traits are part of who Natalia is as in individual. They are pieces of her identity. What began as a case study on my grandmother resulted in an assortment of ideas that will contribute to those learning more about Latino/a life and immigration studies. This study is important in that it adds to the understanding of migration. Rather than focusing on the process of border-crossing, this study describes a lifetime study following migration. Second, this project brings innovation to the field of ethnography. Traveling with Natalia proved to be an invaluable method of gaining information. I would encourage all anthropologists to travel in the field with the informant. This method resulted in the rekindling of memories and the birth of new interview questions, which otherwise would have been overlooked. Third, this study contributes a portrayal of immigrant life that refutes claims that Mexicans and Latin American immigrants refuse to assimilate to U.S. culture. Natalia spent her childhood in multi-ethnic communities, playing with immigrant children from

PAGE 60

53 various countries. Natalia speaks English and Spanish fluently. She also has a wide Czech and Italian vocabulary, which she learned from other immigrant children. Natalia has a love for multi-ethnic foods, sports, and popular culture events. She is currently planning a weekend vacation for the German holiday Oktoberfest. This case study contributes an example and an illustration of a migrant worker who serves as a metaphor for border culture. She is Latina, Chicana, and Tejana. She is a border character. The aim of Natalias story is to contribute a sincere take on a tale that can be told by many immigrants. The contribution of this analysis is meant to be one that is truthful and fresh, giving a voice and a sense of power to a true survivor.

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LIST OF REFERENCES Alcalay, Rina. 1984. Hispanic Women in the United States: Family and Work Relations. Migration Today 12: 12-20. Badger, T.A. May 15, 2003. Immigrants Die in Truck Trailer. Daily Iowan. Iowa City, IA. Online Archives. Bean, Frank D., Allan G. King, and Jeffrey S. Passel. 1986. Estimates of the Size of the Illegal Migrant Population of Mexican Origin in the United States: An Assessment, Review and Proposal in Mexican Immigrants and Mexican Americans: An Evolving Relation. Austin: University of Texas Press. Behar, Ruth. 1993. Translated woman : crossing the border with Esperanza's story. Browning, Harley L. 1986. Mexican Immigrants and Mexican Americans: An Evolving Relation. Austin: University of Texas Press. Burns, Alan. 1999. Identities in the Diaspora: Mayan Culture and Community Today. Identities on the Move: Transnational Processes in North America and the Caribbean Basin. Albany: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies. Burns, Allan F. 1993. Maya in Exile: Guatemalans in Florida. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Camarota, Steven A. 2001. Immigration from Mexico: Assessing the Impact on the United States. Center for Immigration Studies. Cardoso, Lawrence. 1980. Mexican Emigration to the United States, 1897-1931. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Conover, Ted. 1987. Coyotes. New York: Random House. Cornelius, Wane A. and Philip Martin. 1993. The Uncertain Connection: Free Trade and Rural Mexican Migration into the United States. International Migration Review 27:484-512. Cortes, Carlos E. 1976. Mexican Migration into the United States. Philadelphia: Arno Press. Dillon, Sam. 1997. U.S.-Mexico Study Sees Exaggeration of Migration Data. New York Times. August 31, 1997 54

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55 Durand, Jorge, and Douglas S. Massey, and Rene M. Zenteno. 2001. Mexican Immigration to the United States. Latin American Research Review 36:107-127. Fergus, Mary Ann. May 21, 2003. Smugglers Cast as Villains, But to Some, Theyre Heroes. Houston Chronicle. Online Archives. Foley, Neil. 1997. The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ginsburg, Faye. 1991. Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract or Global Village. Cultural Anthropology Vol. 6, No. 1. (Feb., 1991), pp. 92-112. Goldin, Liliana R. eds, 1999. Identities on the Move: Transnational Processes in North America and the Caribbean Basin. Albany: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies. Gonzalez, Daniel. March 12, 2004. Desperate Migrants Giving Kids to Coyotes. The Arizona Republic. 2004. Online Archives. Grant, Mary Lee. Historical Corridos Change with Times: But Some Fear Narrative Ballads are Fading into History. Corpus Christi Caller Times, April 26, 1999. Online Archives. Guerin-Gonzales, Camille. 1994. Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration, Repatriation, and California. Farm Labor, 1900-1939. Rutgers University Press. Online Archives. Hedetoft, Ulf and Mette Hjort. 2002. Introduction: Home and Belonging, Images and Contexts. The Postnational Self: Belonging and Identity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Online Archives. Hegstrom, Edward. December 25, 2003. Immigrant Smugglers Jail Time Doesnt Amount to Much. Houston Chronicle. 2003. Online Archives. Herrera-Sobek, Maria. 1979. The Bracero Experience: Elitelore versus Folklore. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications. Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette. 1994. Gendered Transitions: Mexican Experiences of Immigration. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hourwich, Isaac A. 1922. Immigration and Labor. New York: B.W. Huebsch. Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity. Boston: Simon & Schuster. Jaksic, Ivan. 1992. Oral History in the Americas The Journal of American History Vol. 79, No. 2. (Sep., 1992), pp. 590-600.

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56 Limn, Jos E. 1998. American Encounters: Greater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics of Culture. Boston: Beacon Press. Lopez, Antoinette Sedillo. 1995. Latino Employment, Labor Organizations and Immigration. New York, NY: Garland Publishing, Inc. Lorey, David E. 1999. The U.S.-Mexican Border in the Twentieth Century. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc. Martinez, Ruben. 2001. Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail. New York: Picador USA. Massey, Douglas S., Jorge Durnad, and Nolan J. Malone. 2002. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Mintz, Sydney. 1974. Worker in the Cane: A Puerto Rican Life History. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. Muller, Thomas. 1985. The Fourth Wave: Californias Newest Immigrants. Los Angeles: The Urban Institute Press. North, David S. 1979. Commentary on the Cornelius Report Congressional Record, December 13, 1979. Center for Labor and Migration Studies. Washington, D.C.: New Transcentury Foundation. Peeples, Berneta. 1988. Story of Bell County Texas. The Handbook of Texas Online. Austin: The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. Portes, Alejandro and Jeff Todd Titon. 1980. The Life Story The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 93, No. 369. (Jul. Sep., 1980), pp. 276-292. Stevens, Evelyn P. 1994. "Marianismo: The Other Face of Machismo in Latin America," in Confronting Change, Challenging Tradition: Women in Latin American History. Wilmington: Jaguar Books. Summit of the Americas. Inter-American Council on Human Rights Annual Report. May 7, 1997. Washington D.C. Titon Jeff Todd. 1980. The Life Story. The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 93, No. 369. (Jul. Sep., 1980), pp. 276-292. Torres, Mara de los Angeles. 1998. Transnational Political and Cultural Identities: Crossing Theoretical Borders. Borderless Borders: U.S. Latinos, Latin Americans, and the Paradox of Interdependence. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Villa, Pablo 2000. Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders. Austin: University of Texas Press.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Veronica Lane Sparks received an Associate of Arts degree from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. She briefly lived in Seville, Spain before earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she studied literature and language and political science. She began her studies at the University of Florida in 2002. She currently resides in the Southern Plains of Texas as a freelance writer and video producer specializing in creative nonfiction. She is presently writing her first novel. 57


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Title: Suenos Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo: Introducing Natalia Caudillo Guardado
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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SUENTOS DULCES AND THE BRIDGE OVER BRAVO:
INTRODUCING NATALIA CAUDILLO GUARDADO















By

VERONICA SPARKS


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004
































Copyright 2004

by

Veronica Sparks
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of

Florida. I would also like to thank Dr. Allan Burns, who chaired my thesis committee.

Dr. Burns opened my eyes to the significance of border studies and culture, which has

now become an undying passion. I would also like to thank Dr. Manuel Vasquez, who

taught me that it is possible to balance an academic career and have a wonderful family

life. It was wonderful working for him for 2 years. I would also like to thank Dr. Effrain

Barradas, who eloquently taught me the beauty of Mexican art and popular culture. I

thank each of my thesis committee members for their patience, support, and guidance

throughout this process.

I would also like to thank Myrna Sulsona, Margarita Gandia, and Amanda Wolfe

for their continued support. I thank Krissy Tennyson for continued support. I also thank

my Gainesville girls: Summer Maue, Asha Danarajan, and Carla Chavez. I would also

like to thank Felecia Harrelson: my teacher, my friend, and my sister.

Most of all, I would like to thank my family: John, Olga, and Michael Sparks.

Their unconditional love and encouragement has been more than a blessing to me. I also

thank Chris Clark for his love and support. Finally, thanks go to Natalia Caudillo for

being a true survivor. I thank her for loving her family and demonstrating the true

meaning of loyalty. Her story has touched the lives of many, and touches me everyday.

She always has been, and always will be my hero. Finalmente, Gracias a Dios.





















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ........._..... .............._ iii.._... .....


LIST OF FIGURES .............. ....................vi


AB STRAC T ................ .............. vii


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......


M ethodology and Data .............. ...............2.....
Further Implications ................. ...............5.................
M aj or Themes as Chapters ................. ...............6........... ...
Limitations ................. ...............7.................


2 CRO S SINTG THE B ORDER ................. ...............9............ ..


Call to Coyotes ................... ....... ............1
Suefios Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo ................ ...............13........... ..
Cotton Fields of Dreams ................. ...............16................


3 S IE MPRE MADRE ............. ...... .__ ...............20..


Pass it On ............ _. ..... ...............22...
Maternal Programming ............. ...... ._ ...............24...


4 IMMIGRATION............... ..............3


The Four W aves ............. .. ...._ ...............35...
Mexican Immigration Movement .....__.....___ ..........._ .............3
The Male Mexican Migrant Worker .....__.....___ ..........._ ............3
Mexican Immigrants and the United States Economy .............. ....................4
Am exi ca ............... ......._ ...............42...
Face to Face with La Migra ............. ...... .__ ...............45.
Conclusion ............ _. ..... ...............47...













5 CONCLU SION................ ..............5


Challenges............... ..............5
Contributions .............. ...............52....


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............54........... ....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............57....

















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pg

2-1 Czech immigrants that played with Natalia (1925). Photo by Refugio
Guard ad o. ............. ............... 18....

2-2 Natalia's friends celebrate at a parade(1932). Photo by Refugio Guardado. ..........19

2-3 Natalia shows Veronica Sparks a doll that Refugio carved and a ribbon that
Refugio purchased in 1920 (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks. ............................19

2-4 June 2003 Lorene Haisler (left) and Natalia at a reunion meeting (June 2003).
Photo by John Sparks. ............. ...............19.....

3-1 Pola (Natalia's sister-in-law) and Natalia (right) with her first child, Aurora
(June 1929). Photo by Refugio Guardado. .............. ...............30....

3-2 Jesusa Ramirez (left) was the sister-in-law of Juan Ramirez. Natalia later cared
for Faye (right) and her sister Maria (center) (1942). Photo by Natalia Caudillo...31

3-3 (Clockwise) Natalia, Friend of Family, Olga, Sylvia, and Armandito (July 1955).
Photographer unknown. ............. ...............3 1....

3-4 Natalia poses while her children play (April 1954). Photographer unknown.........32

3-5 (left to right) Armando, Olga, Carmen, Natalia, Aurora, Audelia, and Sylvia
(1978). Photo by Sabino Caudillo. .............. ...............32....

3-6 Natalia poses with five generations worth of family photos
(Associated Press 1998) .............. ...............33....

3-7 Natalia and family at a Christmas party (December 2002). Photo by
John Sparks. ............. ...............33.....

4-1 Natalia receives pardon to stay in U.S. from her immigration attorney Enrique
Martinez (March 1998). Photo by John Sparks............... ...............48.

4-2 Natalia is the guest of honor at her 93rd birthday celebration in Levelland, Texas
(July 2003). Photo by Ol ga Sparks............... ...............48.

4-3 Natalia dances with grandson Michael at her 93rd birthday celebration
(July 2003). Photo by John Sparks ................. ...............49........... ..















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for Degree of Master of Arts

SUENTOS DULCES AND THE BRIDGE OVER BRAVO:
INTRODUCING NATALIA CAUDILLO GUARDADO

By

Veronica Sparks

August 2004

Chair: Allan Burns
Major Department: Latin American Studies

Natalia Caudillo Guardado is a 93-year-old Mexican national who has lived in the

United States since 1920. Her story is told through a series of interviews, to describe the

hardships faced by immigrants in the early 20th Century. Migration theory, ideology of

motherhood, and immigration policy are evaluation in conjunction with Natalia's

testimony .

The purpose of my study was to personify theory and ideas. Natalia' s identity and

roles as mother and Latina are evaluated by analyzing her stories. The main sources for

my study were anthropological journals, U.S. Census data, data obtained from the U. S.

Immigration and Naturalization Service, and interviews with Natalia Caudillo.

The findings of my study include changes in Natalia' s ideas of family structure, the

importance of traveling with an informant, and the discovery of multi-ethnic identity

obtained by a Mexican migrant who openly embraces several cultures.















CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

There is a story to tell. It is one of movement, risk, and change. It is a story that

has thousands of endings. It is told in several languages. It knows no color, sex, nor age.

It is the story of the immigrant, the exile, the pilgrim. It is the account of every man,

woman, and child who leaves one life in exchange for another. The very spirit of the

Unites States is based on the idea of opportunity and growth. Since the birth of the

United States, hundreds of thousands of people have crossed miles of land and water in

hopes of something better. The result is a nation of variety.

This is the story of a woman: Natalia Guardado Caudillo. She celebrates her

ninety-fourth birthday on July 27th, 2004. At 10 years of age, Natalia left her home in

Aguascalientes, Mexico. As a child, she saw her mother and two brothers die of illness.

She was raised by three different families. She crossed the border between the U.S. and

Mexico, without legal documents, at 10 years of age. She has given birth to twelve

children, and spent literally years of her life picking Texas cotton. She gained national

attention at age 88, when she was threatened with deportation by the U.S. Immigration

and Naturalization Service.

Natalia, who does not consider her life extraordinary, is a walking history book.

She can recall the day her father decided to break out of the vicious economic cycle of

the Mexican hacienda system. She remembers the day she arrived in the United States in

1920. She speaks openly about the social, political, and economic changes she has

witnessed nationally and internationally. It is crucial that people like Natalia have a









voice, an opportunity to talk about struggles and survival. The purpose my study was to

give her a voice. My study was designed to discuss Natalia's story in conjunction with

the ever-changing culture of the U. S./Mexico border, the idea of motherhood, and U. S.

immigration policy.

Methodology and Data

This proj ect began as an attempt to better understand the Mexican immigrant. I

was a graduate student with dreams of practicing immigration law. I wanted to fully

understand character and culture, before learning legal policy. I was searching for an

informant who had migrated to the United States from Mexico without documents. I was

also interested in an informant who had spent a considerable amount of time in the U. S.

Also, I wanted an informant who was willing to spend hours in interviewing sessions

with a tape-recorder logging his or her every word.

I realized, early in the planning stages of my proj ect, that my grandmother,

Natalia Caudillo matched all of my criteria. I knew that she was more than willing to

share her life stories with me; she had been doing this unofficially for years. I also knew

that Natalia would not mind being recorded. Most importantly, I knew that she had an

extraordinary story to tell. I solved many problems by choosing Natalia, my mother' s

mother, as an informant.

Yet, choosing Natalia also created internal battles. I was determined not to let the

relationship between my informant and me skew the findings of this proj ect. To preserve

the integrity of this proj ect, I recognized the importance of taking an objective position as

an interviewer and as an anthropologist. I was very careful to ask Natalia questions

regarding the three main themes of my study: border crossing, motherhood, and

immigration law. She was encouraged to elaborate on any interview questions. She was










also encouraged to ask me questions. I wanted our interview sessions to be an open

forum of ideas concerning migration and family structure.

To foster open interviewing sessions, I decided to travel with Natalia to areas that

she mentioned in our interviews. The relationship between Natalia and me helped this

method. We were able to spend late nights with family in Temple, Texas discussing

stories told by tios and primos. By traveling throughout cotton regions of Texas, Natalia

was able to pinpoint locations of events. She was able to see areas that she had not seen

since her adolescence. She was also able to see and explain changes in regions, people,

and culture.

I used the ethnographic method of collecting oral history to gather information

from Natalia. Oral history, in this case, was the collection of life stories, in order to

better understand the culture of an era. Life histories are used in anthropology to make

inferences about a cultural group. The process of collecting oral history from Natalia was

more than a series of interview questions. A topic was addressed. Natalia was able to

elaborate and add additional facts. This structure allowed Natalia the opportunity to

elaborate, and add details that might be left out with a more direct line of questioning.

Each interview was tape-recorded with Natalia's permission. Before any interviewing

was conducted with Natalia, a report was submitted and approved by the University of

Florida Institutional Review Board. The tapes used to record Natalia will be archived

and stored in a collection of oral histories.

I also used the method of collecting testimonio. This form of life history is

common in Latin America, specifically in Mexico. The testimonio is used to tell event-

specific history. An example of testimonio is Sydney Mintz's (1974) Worker in the









Canze, A Puerto Rican Life History. This particular form of life history is event-specific

in that the study outlines the life a Puerto Rican sugar-cane worker. Although Natalia's

story does include specific hardships (border crossing, threat of deportation), my study is

not meant to be event-specific.

As mentioned before, Natalia and I traveled throughout southern regions of Texas,

to different towns where Natalia resided as a child and young adult. Natalia visited areas

that she had not seen in more than 50 years. Natalia was able to recall vivid details from

her adolescence and childhood after visiting these areas. This method proved to be

successful in gathering details of her testimony and oral history. My study attempts to

discuss maj or issues facing Mexican migrants, including border crossing, immigration

policy, border culture, and immigrant identity, all in relation to Natalia's life stories.

Oral history and life stories play a significant role in Latin America because of the

region' s history of military rule and oppression (Jaksic 1992). To better understand the

history of Latin American countries and peoples, oral histories are needed. Ivan Jaksic

defined oral history as a "method that illuminates and enriches the historical field,

particularly by revealing the views and actions of social sectors traditionally shut out of

the historical record (1992:591)." The purpose of my study was to document Natalia's

story in conjunction with current issues of migration and immigrant identity. My aim in

using this method should be to work with the informant to develop and contextualize her

testimony (Jaksic 1992).

Oral history is particularly important in distinguishing migrant workers and their

perspectives, because of the lack of written records about them (Jaksic 1992). The

accounts of migrant workers (such as Natalia) expose social, economic, and political









conditions that otherwise would not be known. Migrant testimony also provides new

information on the process of immigration. According to Jaksic, oral history can

transcend geographical boundaries and unite nations, while providing a rich supply of

comparative data (1992).

Although my study does use elements of oral history and testimonio, it became a

fusion of methods, resulting in a chronology of extended in-depth questions. Rather than

concentrating on specific events (in the fashion of a testimonio), or focusing on the

cultural aspect (in the manner of oral history), my study encompasses elements of each

method to illustrate Natalia's identity.

Further Implications

To produce a more thorough analysis, further research would be necessary. I have

several goals for further research, which include interviewing and collecting oral history

from other members of Natalia's family, focusing on Latina/o identity. I would interview

neighbors and friends who have seen Natalia and her community change. Because

Natalia was able to recall more history when seeing certain landmarks, I would also like

to travel to Aguascalientes with her. I would like to travel the route that Natalia and her

family traveled in 1920, beginning in Mexico, and ending in Rogers, Texas. I would like

to visit the immigrant labor camp in Southern Texas where Natalia and her family

worked as indentured servants. Financial and time restrictions prevented these events

during the time designated for field work. I plan on continuing this proj ect and research,

if allowed by the University of Florida, during the summer of 2005. I also plan on

bringing elements of visual anthropology into the proj ect.

Fay Ginsburg's (1991) "Indigenous Media: Faustian Contract of Global Village?"

is an article of advocacy, stressing the importance of representing of under-represented










groups through forms of media (1991). Ginsburg writes that multicultural artistic

expression is crucial to the development and understanding of identity. She compares

"indigenous media" to ethnic autobiographies. Therefore, Natalia would be a part of the

production team in a video outlining her life.

Major Themes as Chapters

Chapter 2 analyzes migration from Mexico into the United States. Human

smuggling has become a maj or concern in the U. S. and Mexico. Every year, there are

reported incidents of deaths and injuries as a result of human trafficking. Chapter 2

discusses the controversy behind migrant-trafficking, and the dangers that accompany

this issue. Traveling from Mexico to the U.S. has changed drastically since 1920, when

Natalia's family migrated. Chapter 2 discusses these changes. Literature focusing on

law and identity was used in this section. Chapter 2 extends the ideas of agency in

immigration, free will, and choices made by migrants. Finally, Natalia's testimony was

used to illustrate the process of movement in the 1920s.

Chapter 3 describes the circumstances that kept Natalia mothering children, many

of whom were not her own. Natalia was 5 years old when her mother, Cleta Ramirez,

died days after giving birth to twin boys. On the day of Cleta' s death, Natalia began

assuming a maternal role. She no longer enjoyed the carelessness of being a child. She

would forever be a mother. With this said, I turn to the literature regarding the maternal

role of Mexican women. Rina Alcalay's article, "Hispanic Women in the United States:

Family and Work Relations," (1984) discusses the role of Latina, or Hispanic, women.

This article outlines the affects of migration on different groups of Latin American

women. Family structure and domestic roles are especially important to Mexican

women. Alcalay claims that these maternal and domestic roles can be found in the homes










of Mexicans living in the U.S. I will evaluate Natalia's testimonio and oral history in

conjunction with Alcalay's claims.

The U.S./Mexican border is a pressing issue among anthropologists and

sociologists. This ever changing area has taken on an identity of its own that is neither

"American" nor Mexican. In many ways, migrants like Natalia personify the border.

Chapter 4 will discuss the U.S./Mexico border and what the fr~ontera symbolizes.

Chapter 4 will also outline immigration to the United States from a historical

perspective. It will profile the statistical identity of the Mexican immigrant. Finally this

chapter will discuss allegations that Natalia broke a U. S. law resulting in threats of

deportation.

Chapter 5 concludes this study with final notes and thoughts. In chapter 5, I

compile conclusions from the other chapters to demonstrate how the life history of one

woman can contribute to the study of identity and culture.

Limitations

This proj ect is a case study. My work is not an attempt to generalize immigrants,

Mexicans, or women. The case of Natalia Caudillo is meant to serve as a glimpse into

the life of one woman, and how variables such as migration, family structure, and multi-

ethnic identity have affected her character. Travel was limited due to Natalia's age and

legal status.

Practical limitations include lack of time and funding. Travel was limited to

southern and central regions of Texas. It was my original plan to travel to

Aguascalientes, Mexico and U.S./Mexican border regions with Natalia. As stated before,

this is a proj ect that I would like to continue. It is my goal to tell Natalia' s story as






8


thoroughly and accurately as possible. This can only be achieved by spending more time

researching and interviewing Natalia.















CHAPTER 2
CRO S SING THE B ORDER

The people-smuggling industry is as old as the border itself. For years, migrant-

trafficking has been a profitable business. Estimates of illegal Mexican immigration into

the United States have ranged as high as one million persons per year. According to

Mexico's National Council on Populations, approximately three million undocumented

Mexicans reside in the United States (2002). This number steadily increases annually.

Several methods are used to traffic Mexicans into the U. S., many of which are

inhumane and dangerous. Headlines reporting deaths and injuries of immigrants

attempting to enter the U.S. top the pages of national newspapers. Today, migrant-

traffickers, who are commonly known as coyotes, charge Mexican migrants thousands of

dollars to cross into the U.S. without documents. And, thousands of dollars are paid

without any type of assurance or guarantee that the migrant' s attempt will be successful.

Often, these attempts are not successful, sometimes deadly.

This chapter tells Natalia's border-crossing story. This chapter also outlines the

dangerous methods of present day human-trafficking compared with border-crossing

tactics practiced in the 1920s. Ruben Martinez's Crossing Over (2001) and Ted

Conover' s Coyotes were used as primary examples for analyzing border-crossing

testimonio. David Lorey's The U.S. M~exican Border in the TMI Ientileth Century (1999)

and Pablo Villa' s Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders (2000) were used for

theoretical framework and historical background. Latino Employment, Labor










Organi~zations and Immigration (1995), edited by Antoinette Sedillo L6pez, was the

primary source of literature used to evaluate current legal migration issues.

In the comprehensive analysis, A Century of Chicano History: Empire, Nations,

and2~igration, Gilbert Gonzalez and Raul Fernandez discuss the ideas of agency in

relation to the "macro" structures that frame the movement of Mexicans into the U. S.

(Gonzalez 2003). The idea is that these structures, which include policy, enforcement,

and law, are subj ective to policy makers and enforcement agencies, such as Border

Patrol. With this said, I will turn to events highlighted in the news media concerning

immigration and human-trafficking.

Call to Coyotes

On Wednesday, May 14, 2003, authorities responded to a 911 call in Victoria,

Texas. Seventeen people were found dead when authorities opened a sweltering airless

trailer that had been abandoned at a South Texas truck stop with more than 100

undocumented immigrants locked inside (Badger 2003). Two additional immigrants died

less than 24 hours later, raising the death toll to 19. The victims (including a 5-year-old

Mexican boy) suffered from dehydration, hyperthermia, and suffocation. This was the

deadliest immigrant-smuggling attempt since 1987, when U.S. Border Patrol discovered

18 Mexican immigrants dead in a train boxcar. The car had been on a rail in Sierra

Blanca, Texas.

"In 2003, 205 undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico, died crossing the

Arizona desert areas, including at least three under age 12" (Gonzalez 2004). Death and

injury of undocumented Mexicans attempting to enter the U. S. is a rising epidemic.

Mexicans, desperate to cross the border, are using any means possible to get past Border

Patrol agents, including hiring coyotes.









The Immigration Naturalization Service (INS) is having a difficult time prosecuting

coyotes, due to the duel roles of coyotes: hero and enemy. "The coyote system operates

like the mafia and trying to stop it, or the flow of those hungry for a better life, is

impossible" (Fergus 2003). To many Mexicans, coyotes are the only way to enter the

U.S. To others, coyotes are simply agents in the people-smuggling business. Mexicans

are often hesitant to share names and information regarding coyotes with immigration

agents. "Besides being mistrustful of authorities, illegal immigrants sometimes worry

that relatives back in Mexico may suffer retaliation from smuggler" (Hegstrom 2003).

What' s more troubling is that coyotes are rarely prosecuted. "Officials have never

arrested the smuggling bosses believed responsible for the 1987 deaths of 18 immigrants

in a West Texas railcar, the 199 deaths of 8 immigrants in a California snowstorm, the

2001 death of 14 immigrants in the Arizona desert, and the 2002 deaths of 11 immigrants

found in an Iowa railcar" (Hegstrom 2003). The average person convicted of trafficking

immigrants serves just 15 months in federal prison, far less than the average drug

smuggler (Hegstrom 2003). Many human smugglers are never caught and convicted.

Several smugglers, including many who are responsible for multiple deaths, remain at

large.

An INS intelligence report issued in 1999 stated lower to middle level drug

trafficking rings who operate along the Southwest Border were making the transition to

human trafficking. The INS Report gave two reasons for these transitions: one was that

larger, more powerful Mexican cartels were forcing smaller groups out of the business.

The second reason was that the smaller rings found that sentences were less severe for

smuggling humans than narcotics (Hegstrom 2003).









The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. submits an

annual report outlining maj or human-rights concerns in the Americas. Human trafficking

continually tops the list of problems in the U. S. and Mexico. Based on several

testimonies received by the commission, evidence has been collected concerning the

manner in which coyotes operate. According to the report, coyotes repeatedly lead

migrants on physically difficult routes. When the group of migrants and the coyote cross

the river, the desert, or the mountains, the migrants who physically do not have the

strength to cross are abandoned by the traffickers. This places the physical integrity and

lives of the migrants at risk. In many cases, migrants were offered false citizenship

documentation in exchange for money.

Undocumented immigrants, if detained, rarely make accusations against the coyote.

Often the coyote is the only contact that the immigrant has. Immigrants also fear the

consequences of reporting information about the coyote. In addition, when immigrants

are detained for crossing the border without documentation, evidence gathered against

smugglers is generally ineffective.

Currently, the Mexican government is working to improve migrant policies with

concrete measures that articulate Mexico's humanitarian interest. Therefore, reforms and

additions were made to the General Population Law (Ley General de Poblacion). These

reforms give the highest level of protection to the human rights of migrants. Also, these

changes give the highest level juridical security within the process of immigration

proceedings. These reforms also support family integration and strongly oppose and

contest crimes tied to human trafficking.










Though both the U.S. and Mexico are revising policy to halt human trafficking, these acts

will continue as long as the border remains closed.

Suefios Dulces and the Bridge over Bravo

Natalia's father, Refugio Guardado, took a risk, leaving his three small children in

Mexico with their grandparents in order to seek work in the United States. "Often

immigrants left their families at the border on the Mexican side while the father found

suitable and stable employment which would enable him to return for his family" (Romo

1995). Therefore, this was not an uncommon practice of Mexican families who wished

to migrate north.

The year was 1918, and Mexico was experiencing the effects of the Revolution.

The overthrow of Porfirio Diaz did not halt the feelings of unrest, which persisted until

the completion of a new federal constitution in 1924. Many Mexicans laborers felt

uncertain about social and economic conditions in their homeland. This uncertainty,

along with attractive wages in the United States, gave many Mexicans reasons to migrate.

"In unskilled occupations, southwestern industries often paid common laborers five to ten

times more than similar industries paid in Mexico" (Romo 1995:25). The U.S.

government instituted a special Mexican labor program which allowed and encouraged

the entry of temporary workers in 1917.

"Mexican emigration between 1910 and 1929 totaled almost 700,000 as peasants

fled the fighting and economic devastation that stalked the country in these years"

(Dublin 1993).

Natalia described the economic instability that thousands of poor Mexican families

endured. Ultimately, the Hacienda system and the Mexican Revolution were precursors









to Natalia' s voyage to the United States. Here, she described the events leading to her

family's migration:

Natalia Caudillo: You know, in Mexico in those days, the farmers hire all these
people and they are mean to them. They tried to do the same thing with my daddy.
And, my daddy said he wasn't going to let them do nothing. "If I stay here, I'm
going to whip him!" But, he's the farmer. You can't do nothing. And, he said, "I
don't want to be in trouble. I'd rather go to the United States and see what I can
find." It was como una hacienda que tiene un hombre que es the bigshot and he
can do anything with the workers. He can whip them. So, my daddy said, "He's
not going to do that to me. He's not going to do that to me. So, I'd rather leave
than to get in trouble." So that is why he left.

"Once the immigrants crossed the border, labor agents or engan2chadores competed

vigorously to recruit them. These agents often made extravagant promises to induce

immigrants to sign labor contracts with the componica~s they represented" (Romo

1995:29). Refugio spent 2 years in the U.S., primarily in Texas and Califomnia working

in cotton and fruit fields. He also made money as a carpenter, carving and building

furniture, acoustic musical instruments, and even dolls, as he followed seasonal work.

Refugio found opportunity and freedom in the United States. He began sending money

back to his children in Mexico, along with promises of his return.

In the summer of 1920, Refugio had accumulated enough money to bring Natalia

and her brothers to the U. S. Though immigration policy was far more lax in the 1920s

than today, Refugio, who had obtained legal documents to work in the U.S., had to form

a plan to move his family across the border. Refugio's work permit had expired, leaving

him with few choices: one of which was to cross the border with the help of smugglers.

Natalia's border-crossing story was different than the stories that make headlines

today. There was no violence, nor cruelty. There was no complicated plan to cross. In

fact, the border itself was an invisible line floating somewhere in the currents of the Rio










Grande. For Refugio and his family, crossing this line was symbolic, like stepping out of

hunger and into opportunity.

There were, however, coyotes. These smugglers were farmers from the Southern

region of Texas. They would journey south into Mexico looking for seasonal work.

They met Refugio Guardado, Natalia's father, at a time when life in Mexico was

changing rapidly. Class divisions were great, and Mexicans were migrating to the U.S.

by the hundreds. "The first bracero program remained in effect until 1921, having lasted

some four years. More than seventy-thousand Mexican workers entered the United

States under its provisions. The vast maj ority of them were certified for farm work, but

some were approved for other jobs as well." (Kiser 1979).

Natalia recalled the day that she, her father, and two brothers left their home for a

new life in the United States. The four traveled from their rural community of El Rayo,

Mexico to San Francisco, Mexico. From this city, they took a train ride to the northern

border city of Nuevo Laredo. Natalia described the experience of crossing:

Natalia Caudillo: It was my first train ride. I was scared. I didn't know where we
were going. My daddy had a passport. But, we didn't have passports. And, we
didn't have a mother. So they said, 'come back when you have a mother for the
kids.' And they wouldn't let us across.

It was then that Refugio called upon the services of smugglers. Yet, Natalia

explained that these smugglers were much different than today's coyotes:

Natalia Caudillo: The coyotes weren't compaieros with mi papa. They were just
a bunch of guys who hired workers to come to Texas... It wasn't bad like it is now.
The coyotes weren't so bad...When we came here, it was about 6 pm. It was
getting dark. We took a boat across the Rio. After we crossed the river, we got in
a truck with other Mexicanos. My daddy had to work for a month for el coyote.

Veronica Sparks: What do you think about Mexicanos today who hire coyotes to
help them enter the U.S.?









Natalia Caudillo: The coyotes are awful. They cheat these poor guys. They
squeeze all the money out of these Mexicanos. I read that some coyotes take a
thousand dollars. But, lots of Mexicanos die trying to come here.

Natalia recalled the truck-ride to the labor camp that had recruited Refugio when he

lived in Mexico. She remembered recall that several other Mexican immigrants crowded

into the back of a Ford Model T pickup truck. She described the ride from the river to

Floresville, Texas:

Natalia Caudillo: If we saw other lights coming, we would jump out the back and
hide in the pastures. Somebody would yell, 'Aye vienen la~s inchess' (Laughing)
We would hide from the other ranchers. But it wasn't dangerous.

For one month, Refugio and the children worked at a large ranch with several other

Mexican immigrants. This labor was considered payment to the Texan farmer who

helped them cross into the United States. Natalia was put in housing with other female

migrants. She spent her days with other women making tortillas and meals for the men.

Refugio and the two boys spent days pulling cotton.

One of Natalia' s most vivid memories was of that of a mysterious woman who

became fond of her:

Natalia Caudillo: She wanted to be my mother. She said, 'let's go to California,
nobody will know." I said, 'my daddy will know.' She said that he wouldn't care.
I was so scared that I ran and told my daddy.

Natalia's life could have been drastically different had she decided to accompany

this woman. This was one of the many ways that Natalia would practice her own agency

to make choices and construct her life against the backdrop of "macro" forces which

include laws, institutions, and other large structures (Gonzalez 2003).

Cotton Fields of Dreams

After working on the ranch for a month, Natalia and her family took a train into

San Antonio, Texas. The purpose of this journey was to purchase supplies and goods









before moving to the small community of Rogers, Texas, which is where Natalia would

spend most of her young adulthood. The primary purchase in San Antonio was a sewing

machine. Natalia beamed when describing that machine. She had no way of knowing at

age ten that her sewing machine would become so dear to her, and so important to her

future. The purchase of the sewing machine was symbolic of the domestic torch that was

passed to Natalia. It was this purchase that allowed Natalia to assume the responsibility

of clothing her family. Natalia sewed her first dress the next year.

Rogers, Texas was a booming town in 1920. Cotton and cattle were the main

products, and in 1918, Rogers shipped more cotton than any other city in Texas (Peeples

2003). Today, the population in Rogers barely exceeds 1,000. What was once a

booming cotton town is now a few paved streets and a couple of gas stations.

Yet, Natalia can recall a different time when Rogers was a bustling agriculture

town that attracted hard-working immigrants from all over the globe. Natalia's family

lived near a Czech immigrant family. Natalia recalled moving past language barriers:

Natalia Caudillo: I would play with Lorene Haisler. She was a little Czech girl.
She only spoke Czech and I only spoke Spanish.

Veronica Sparks: How did you communicate?

Natalia Caudillo: Well, I started to learn Czech and she learned Spanish. I
remember her voice. She would yell over to me, "Natalia! Venga, vamos a jugar!"
(Laughing) We still write each other letters.

After fifty-three years, Lorene Haisler and Natalia still write each other letters. In

July of 2003, Natalia and Lorene were reunited. It had been thirty years since the two

had spoken face to face. Natalia was ninety-three, Lorene was eighty-seven. Yet the two

women giggled like school girls as they reminisced about days in the cotton Hields near

Rogers .










It was not rare for immigrants of different national backgrounds to work together.

Allen Burns's study of Guatemalans in Florida discuses this phenomenon. "In

Indiantown, the Maya have had to adapt to a multiethnic, migrant worker community"

(Burns 1999:141). This was also the case for Mexicans in Rogers, Texas. Natalia

recalled working with Czechs, Germans, Blacks, Whites, and other Mexicans. "The

cotton culture of the is fertile region of central Texas was not racially static or bipartite

but a site of multiple and heterogeneous borders where different languages, experiences,

histories, and voices intermingled amid diverse relation of power and privilege" (Foley

1997:7). Natalia's experience with immigrants from different national backgrounds

would preface her life in the United States, especially concerning issues of transnational

identity .

Like so many other immigrants, Natalia spent many years stooped over fields of

cotton, picking and pulling. Though her role as migrant worker would stay with her for

several years, the role that dominated her identity was that of mother.


Figure 2-1. Czech immigrants that played with Natalia (1925). Photo by Refugio
Guardado.























Figure 2-2. Natalia's friends celebrate at a parade(1932). Photo by Refugio Guardado.


Figure 2-3. Natalia shows Veronica Sparks a doll that Refugio carved and a ribbon that
Refugio purchased in 1920 (June 2003). Photo by John Sparks.


Figure 2-4. June 2003 Lorene Haisler (left) and Natalia at a reunion meeting (June
2003). Photo by John Sparks.















CHAPTER 3
SIEMPRE MADRE

Natalia' s mother, Cleta Guardado Ramirez, died in 1915--just days after giving

birth to twin sons, who also died within days. Natalia was only 5 years old. The death of

Natalia's mother signified the birth of a new phase in Natalia's life. That phase is one

that continues today. The death of Cleta not only marked the loss of family member, it

marked the loss of a worker, a cook, a seamstress. Natalia would assume these roles,

especially the role of mother, at a very young age. Natalia, at age ninety-three, recalled

the death of her mother and the events that followed:

Veronica Sparks: How old were you when your mother died?

Natalia Caudillo: I was five years old.

Veronica Sparks: Do you remember anything about her?

Natalia Caudillo: Nada. No... The only thing I remember about her was that she
pierced my ears. That's all I remember. I remember there was a dark room with no
windows. And she told me, "Lay down." So I lay on her lap. She pierced my ears.
I don't remember if it hurt.

Veronica Sparks: Did she die giving birth to your twin brothers?

Natalia Caudillo: No. I think she died the same day that she gave birth to the
babies. I don't know how she died. After the babies were born, my mother had a
pain. So, my father went to the little town where he used to trade to get medicine
for her. By the time my father got home, my mother was dead. And, my father
blamed my grandmother, her mother, because she gave my mother laxatives. So
my father said, "you shouldn't do that." My mother was just starting to gain her
strength. So, my father and grandmother had a big fight. My father ran her off; he
didn't want to see her anymore. He was so mad. I didn't know until years later.

Natalia would never know how the death of her mother would significantly change

her life. In fact, to this day, Natalia plays the part of mother. Currently, Natalia resides in










a modest house in Lamesa, Texas. It is the house where she raised seven children. She

now lives with her 26-year-old grandson, Arturo. He is the youngest of the many

children Natalia raised. The oldest of Natalia's children is Aurora who was born in 1929.

Therefore, Natalia has actively assumed the role of mother, or mother figure, for 61 one

years .

This chapter will analyze Natalia' s life as a mother. By using Natalia' s testimonio,

this section will highlight the constant element of motherhood that has been evident in

Natalia's life since her mother died in 1915. Gendered Transition by Pierrette

Hondagneu-Sotelo focuses on Mexican experiences of immigration in conjunction with

women and gender roles; this study will provide a theoretical framework for Chapter

Three. "Agency, Gender, and Migration" by Gilbert Gonzalez and Raul Fernandez will

also serve as a key piece of literature in this section. This chapter will also turn to the

article "Hispanic Women in the United States: Family and Work Relations" by Rina

Alcalay. This article used demographic data to analyze gender roles within Mexican

communities.

The theory integrated in this chapter is the concept that "Marianismo" ideology

exists beyond borders, and that this idealization of the woman has a long history in

Mexico. Marianismo includes the restriction of woman from the private domain, the

domestic roles of women, and household structure.

Marianismo is characterized by hyperfeminine behavior. "The roots of Marianismo
are both deep and widespread, springing apparently from the primitive awe at
woman's ability to produce a living human creature from inside her own body".
The Mariana is pure, submissive to her father, brothers and spouse, and lacks
sexual desires. The ideal Mariana is often thought of as someone like the Virgin
Mary. Marianismo is not a religious practice although the word "Marianism" is
sometimes used to describe a movement within the Roman Catholic church which










has as its obj ect the special veneration of the figure of the Virgin Mary, (Stevens
1994).

Natalia's story refutes and exemplifies this ideology. According to Joan Acker,

"The relevant question becomes not why are women excluded but to what extent have the

overall institutional structure, and the character of particular institutional areas, been

formed by and through gender" (1992). Gender is a dynamic phenomenon. It is

exercised through a series of relationships. This chapter will evaluate the social relations

that Natalia experienced through migration and settlement in Texas.

Pass it On

Two years after Cleta' s death, Refugio married Sylvestra Fuentes. Sylvestra later

gave birth to Chano, Refugio's third child. Natalia and Pedro quickly adapted to life with

a new mother and sibling. After four years, Refugio and Sylvestra began to face marital

problems. Though the two remained married, Refugio found a new companion and

joined the U.S. Bracero program. He promised his children that he would return for

them .

While Refugio was working in Texas, the three children were abandoned by

Sylvestra, who left for Califomnia with another man. Natalia and Pedro (and now Chano)

were once again without a mother. Fortunately, Sylvestra' s mother rescued the children,

caring for them until their father returned. Natalia described the situation in her own

words:

Natalia Caudillo: My father, Pedro, Chano, and I moved to the United States.
Sylvestra didn't come to Tej as because she left with another man. She left Chano
with us. Chano was four and I was ten. She went to California with the other man.

Veronica Sparks: Were Sylvestra and Refugio married?










Natalia Caudillo: Yes. They were married. But, my father left to work in the
United States. He said he would come back. But, after a month, Sylvestra left with
another man.

Veronica Sparks: Was she raising you, Pedro, and Chano in Mexico?

Natalia Caudillo: Yes. She was supposed to be raising us. But, she left us with
her mother and father. Their names were Maria and Brijido. They were sweet
people. They liked me. They didn't want us to leave with my father. But, I
wanted to go with my father so bad. When my father left, he left a big room full of
corn and beans for us to eat. She (Sylvestra) sold every bit of it. She sold it all!

Veronica Sparks: Was it corn that he grew?

Natalia Caudillo: Yeah. We would grow our own beans and corn for the winter.

Veronica Sparks: And she sold it all?

Natalia Caudillo: Sold it all for money to leave for Califomnia. She left us with
her mother. She knew that her mother wouldn't let us starve. Besides, we didn't
eat too much.

Veronica Sparks: How long did you live with Maria before your dad came back?

Natalia Caudillo: Two years.

Veronica Sparks: Did you see your dad in that time?

Natalia Caudillo: No. Not in two years. I wasn't scared though. I think he
wrote letters. But, I didn't get them. But, I didn't know how to read.

Natalia changed homes three times in five years. There was no parental stability.

By the time Natalia turned ten, she dealt with the death of her mother, abandonment by

her stepmother, the questioning of her father' s return, life with new guardians, and the

return of her father. Natalia quickly learned to fend for herself. Pedro and Natalia cared

for Chano, who was four years old when Sylvestra left. The three children began

working at very young ages.

Natalia Caudillo: I used to walk to work, when I was about seven or eight. It was
far. It wasn't close. And, I went by myself. I remember, I would (como se dice?)
sow the seeds...plant the seeds for my uncle. We grew corn and peppers and
watermelon. My daddy had bee hives too. We always had fresh honey. We had
about 40 hives.









Currently, Natalia tends a large garden of tomatoes, peppers, and melons at her

home. She continues to practice the skills that she learned as a girl, including mothering.

Today, she supports several grandchildren financially, as well as emotionally. She pays

medical bills and purchases back-to-school clothes, and often acts a mother to these

grandchildren. Why, after so many years, does Natalia continue to assume that maternal

role? And, how did she adapt so quickly to the responsibilities of being the female of the

house, at such a young age?

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo describes patriarchy as "a fluid and shifting set of

social relations where men oppress women, in which different men exercise varying

degrees of power and control, and in which women collaborate and resist in diverse

ways" (1994:3). Though patriarchal gender relations are concurrently structured and

practiced in labor and state sectors, Hondagneu-Sotelo suggests that important aspects of

patriarchal power and consequence are structured through family relationships.

Maternal Programming

Although common to a certain degree to all Latin cultures, Mexican American
male-female relations have a more acute dominant-dominated pattern than most
other Latin cultures. This stems from the original Spanish conquest of Mexico and
southwestern United States. The first marriages between the Spanish patrons and
the Indian women were patriarchal. The Spanish man was not only dominant
because of his status as conqueror, but was also institutionalized in this role by the
traditions of the Catholic Church. Women were socialized to the "Marianismo"
concept which idealized a submissive role for women. This concept involved the
veneration of the Virgin Mary. The beliefs and values associated with Marianismo
identified women as virgins, mothers and martyrs. Women were supposed to be
submissive, altruistic and self-denying. This veneration of the Virgin Mary led to
the downgrading of women who did not fulfill the ideal. (Alcalay 1984:126)

Natalia fulfilled this ideal. She was hard working, but soft-spoken. After moving

to the Rogers, Texas in 1920, Natalia worked, with her family, alongside other Mexican

migrants. She sometimes picked cotton, but mostly cooked for all of the workers. She










recalled cooking stacks of tortillas that were several feet tall. Often, other Mexican

migrants would pass through Rogers, on their way to Arizona or California. Refugio's

house was known to be a safe-haven for Mexicans passing through. Sometimes, primes,

or cousins from Mexico, would visit Refugio's home. It was known that Natalia and

Chanita, Refugio's third wife, would cook lavish meals of beans, rice, squash and

chicken for friends and family of Refugio.

"Patriarchal kinship obligation ensured that women did the domestic chores, and in

residences not organized by kin ties, patriarchal arrangement still prevailed although

men's privileges were somewhat attenuated" (Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994:107).

Veronica Sparks: Do you ever remember other Mexicanos in your town?

Natalia Caudillo: Oh yes! Sometimes, these men would stay at our house. Other
Mexicanos going to California or Arizona. My daddy would let them stay with us.
I would cook for everyone. I didn't know them! But, I would make arroz con
polo, fr~ijoles, and tortilla~s...lots of tortillas.

Veronica Sparks: How long would these men stay?

Natalia Caudillo: Not very long. They would eat, sleep, then go on their way.
My father loved to help people.

Natalia demonstrated heart-felt sentiment when describing situations where she

would spend hours cooking for strangers. She acted as though it were her duty to

guarantee a full-stomach and a feeling of comfort for these men. Natalia's devotion to

domestic service is an example of the patriarchal arrangement described by Hondagneu-

Sotelo above.

One of the men Natalia met through her father' s network of migrant Mexicans was

Juan Ramirez. Juan was the teenage son from another family of workers. Natalia and

Juan married in 1916, and had their first child, Aurora in 1917. Throughout Natalia' s










life, she would give birth to twelve children, most of whom she raised without Juan' s

assistance.

"Birth rates and family size for Hispanic women are substantially higher than for
Anglo women even when socioeconomic differences between the two groups are
controlled. The greater family size results from traditional Hispanic emphasis on
the extended family, in which children are highly valued and marital roles are
validated by the presence of children." (Alcalay 1985:126).

Natalia explained that for years she was uninformed on the cause of pregnancy.

She can recall a three year time span when her body failed to menstruate due to frequent

pregnancy. Natalia gave birth to a child each consecutive year from 1938 to 1942 (Table

1). In 1942, Natalia and Juan moved to Lamesa, a small West Texas town that relied on

oil and cotton. Natalia, Juan, and their four children were j oined by four more children.

Juan's sister, Isabel, died in 1941, leaving behind her four children, Faye, Jesus,

Maria, and Jose. The children ranged from ages eight to twelve. Abandoning the four

children was not a consideration for Natalia. Within days, the size of Natalia's family

doubled. Natalia was faced with the difficulty of feeding four more children. Natalia

used humor when discussing her grim living conditions at the time. Yet, she was very

clear that those were times that she would rather forget:

Natalia Caudillo: I didn't take care of them. It was more like they took care of
themselves. Faye, Jose, Maria, and Chuy... Their mom was Juan's sister, Isabel.
Fay was twelve or so...

Veronica Sparks: How many children did you have when you moved to Lamesa?

Natalia Caudillo: Aurora, Miguel, Carmen, y Audelia. Jesus, Maria, Jose, y Fella.

Veronica Sparks: Where did you live in Lamesa?

Natalia Caudillo: In a doghouse! (Laughing) No, it was in an underground
cellar. I don't like to think about those things anymore. I had no stove. There
were no beds. There was no bathtub. We only washed on Fridays.









Table One also lists Natalia's children who died at young ages. Natalia had five

children who died before age five. According to Natalia, Juan was strongly opposed to

using medical doctors. In fact, he relied solely on the advice and care of the

neighborhood curandero, or medicine man. Juan's curandero warned that if Juan took

his children to a medical doctor, Juan would mysteriously die soon thereafter. Juan was

deeply afraid of this warning and refused to risk his own life for the sake of the children.

Although Natalia and Juan had several children, their marriage was hardly

validated. Juan was open about adulterous affairs. He was also addicted to gambling and

alcohol, and was often physically abusive to Natalia. She recalled several occasions

when she and her children would have to forfeit weekly earnings from working in the

cotton fields to pay Juan's gambling debts. Natalia described the gambling situation:

Veronica Sparks: Tell me about Juan's gambling.

Natalia Caudillo: He was a gambler before we got married, but I didn't know that.

Veronica Sparks: Did he owe people money?

Natalia Caudillo: No. No one ever had money. They just gambled whatever they
had. I remember, I had credit at Montgomery Ward. I bought him a jacket. I
think he wore it once before he gambled it away. There was a place near the river
where the gamblers would get together and drink or whatever. On Fridays, he
would pack a lunch and go... He would stay all night. Sometimes, he wouldn't be
back until Monday.

Veronica Sparks: Were there women out there?

Natalia Caudillo: I think so. I don't know what they did. They gambled too. I
was dumb, like I said. I didn't care much. I didn't even want to leave him. Later, I
was ready to leave him.

Veronica Sparks: What made you want to leave him?

Natalia Caudillo: Well, he made his money and would leave. He never helped
me. Sometimes he would leave for days. He would leave me without a car or
money. Just the babies. We wouldn't even have milk. We had an old car. He
went away for the weekend. And, he came back without it. And, I had a radio.









That was the only music I had. One time, he said that he was taking the radio to
town to be fixed. It wasn't even broken. He gambled it away.

Veronica Sparks: Did he ever win anything?

Natalia Caudillo: No, I don't think so.

Veronica Sparks: Did you ever talk to him about his gambling?

Natalia Caudillo: (laughing) He wasn't that kind of man. I couldn't talk to him.
He blamed everything on me. He said everything was my fault.

Natalia declined discussing the physical abuse she endured during her marriage to

Juan. It was briefly mentioned. And, Natalia quickly changed the subject. Juan died of

liver failure resulting from alcoholism in 1953. He left behind seven children, ranging in

age from one year to twenty-four years old.

"For each family size there is a higher percentage of female-headed households

among Hispanics than among any other ethnic group in the United States" (Alcalay

1985:124). Though, Natalia spent years as a single parent, she never received financial

assistance. In fact, she was often the source of financial and emotional assistance within

her family community. Within the extended family setting, Mexican women obtain

culturally sanctioned power and authority from the roles of wife and mother (Alcalay

1985:126). The Mexican woman gains self respect as well as validation and self worth

through the role of motherhood. This is largely to do with the way that Latin American

culture views the mother's role in the family. "For this reason, the attachment of

Hispanic women to the home in the United States still supercedes their attachment to

whatever work role they may assume." (Alcalay 1985:124).

Natalia's stories and memories are prime examples of points made in the cited

literature. Natalia' s life has included a sixty-one year pilgrimage of motherhood. Not

only was the role that Natalia accepted an unconscious validation of womanhood, it was a









means of survival. Natalia's attitude toward family structure and motherhood has

changed drastically over the years. She described herself as passive and uninterested in

changing her role. She admitted that she dreamt of a career in the military. She also

warned her younger grand-daughters of the hardships that accompany motherhood:

Veronica Sparks: Have you ever thought about what your life would have been
without your children?

Natalia Caudillo: I wanted to go to war. I had Mike. He was a little boy. I just
wanted to go to the army. That was during World War II.

Veronica Sparks: What made you want to join the army?

Natalia Caudillo: I just really wanted to go join the army. I wanted to go away.

Veronica Sparks: Did you ever want to stop having babies?

Natalia Caudillo: I never thought about it. I didn't know what was causing me to
get pregnant. I would get mad at myself. But, it never did me any good. I always
ended up pregnant.

Veronica Sparks: What do you think of Latinos and Latinas today? What do you
think of big families versus small families?

Natalia Caudillo: I think it's alright to have a small family. I don't like big
families. I love my family. But, it' s so hard to take care of a big family, because of
money. Today, people don't take care of their kids. These days, women just leave
their children. I never thought of leaving my kids. It' s so hard for women.

Natalia' s change in attitude is symbolic of the changes in the Latino/a community.

While Natalia is proud of her family, she openly expressed her concern for the Latino/a

community. Natalia's case is an example of identity in the diaspora. Her opinions and

views, though their roots are old and traditional, are fluid and dynamic. In her 93 years,

Natalia continues to alter her philosophies on life and existence. Yet, Natalia continues

to nurture and protect her family. She currently celebrates the opportunity to witness five

generations. Presently, Natalia has six living children, 25 grandchildren, 45 great-








grandchildren, and 22 great-great grandchildren. For Natalia, she will be known as

madre por siempre .

Table 3.1 Chronology of birth years of Natalia Caudillo' s children
Year Child
1929 Aurora
1930 Audelia, died at age 5 of unknown illness
1932 Jose, died hours after birth
1934 Miguel
1938 Carmen
1939 Armando, died as infant of pneumonia
1940 Estelita, died as infant, cause unknown
1941 Evanjelina, died at age 4 of meningitis
1942 Audelia II
1948 Olga
1950 Armando II
1952 Sylvia


Figure 3-1. Pola (Natalia's sister-in-law) and Natalia (right) with her first child, Aurora
(June 1929). Photo by Refugio Guardado.


Pri
i~ J










eb


Figure 3-2 Jesusa Ramirez (left) was the sister-in-law of Juan Ramirez. Natalia later
cared for Faye (right) and her sister Maria (center) (1942). Photo by Natalia
Caudillo.


JUL 5$


Figure 3-3. (Clockwise) Natalia, Friend of Family,
1955). Photographer unknown.


Olga, Sylvia, and Armandito (July


C1!
1



















Figure 3-4 Natalia poses while her children play (April 1954). Photographer unknown.


Figure 3-5 (left to right) Armando, Olga, Carmen, Natalia, Aurora, Audelia, and Sylvia
(1978). Photo by Sabino Caudillo.


&1111




























Figure 3-6 Natalia poses with five generations worth of family photos (Associated Press
1998)


Figure 3-7 Natalia and family at a Christmas party (December 2002). Photo by John
Sparks.















CHAPTER 4
IMMIGRATION

Natalia, though she has faced hardships, has had a successful, healthy life in the

U.S. She has been fortunate. Several serious issues face immigrants in the U.S.,

including discrimination, mistreatment, and abuse. This chapter will evaluate

immigration as social, economic, and political phenomena. Theory and concepts based

on Douglas Massey' s work, Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: M~exican Inanigration in an Era

of Econontic Integration is used to analyze U.S./Mexican immigration (2002).

Massey's study draws on modern theory and research to illustrate modern

international migration systems. Natalia's story, along with Massey's work,

accompanied with statistics based on United States Immigration and Naturalization

Service research will be used in this section to paint a picture of the current U. S./Mexican

immigration situation and how it has evolved since Natalia entered Texas.

The greatest import in the history of the United States has indisputably been

people. At times by choice, sometimes unwillingly, people have come to the United

States to boost someone 's economy (either the importer or the imported). Mexico is

undoubtedly the most significant source for immigration to the United States in the past

half century.

Between 1998 and 2001, around 659,493 Mexican immigrants entered the United

States legally, averaging at 21% of the total immigrants legally admitted into the United

States (U.S. INTS 2002). This does not count the estimated 5 million undocumented

immigrants (1998-2001) living in the United States, a number which is estimated to grow









at about 276,000 persons per year. According to the United States Immigration and

Naturalization Service (INS), Mexico is the leading source country of undocumented

immigration to the United States (U. S. INS 2000). An estimated 2,700,000

undocumented Mexicans were residing in the United States in 1996; the maj ority of these

undocumented citizens were located in California and Texas. These astounding numbers

lead us to ask many questions. Why are Mexicans moving to the United States? Who are

these Mexicans? And, what effect do these Mexicans have on the United States

economy?

Though no amount of research could fully answer these questions, this section will

provide a beginning to these answers through four sections: a history of immigration to

the United States, the Mexican immigration movement, Mexican men as migrant

workers, and immigrants in the economy.

In this chapter, I will briefly list key points in the history of United States

immigration. This chapter will also discuss the U.S./Texas border and how it has become

a fusion of two identities. Finally, this chapter will describe a frightening moment in

Natalia's life that could have easily lead to her deportation after 78 years in the U.S.

The Four Waves

For years, social scientist have used models to explain and clarify the phenomena

of international migration. Immigration is often the result of one of three situations. The

first is the structural explanation of migration. This includes economic hardship.

Migration occurs in order to break out of economic cycles of poverty. The second

explanation of migration is the personal reason. Persons migrate to meet family or to

prepare for family migration. The third reason is the automatic explanation. In certain









nations of Latin American, migration is expected. It is automatic and is part of family

and social culture.

Immigration flows to the United States have often been described as waves. I will

use Thomas Muller' s model to describe and explain the history of migration waves

(1985). Although Muller's model states that Mexican migration falls into the fourth

wave, Mexicans have been migrating to the United States throughout each of the waves

in this model. The first mass movement of people to the United States took place

between the 1840s and 1870s and came predominantly form the British Isles and the

nation-states that were later combined to form Germany (Muller 1985).

Today's Mexican immigrants hold a striking resemblance to the Irish who played a

maj or role in the First Wave. The Irish were different from the other immigrants of the

period in several respects: they were poorer, more rural and less educated they were also

Catholic in a Protestant America (Muller 1985). Though they suffered from widespread

prejudice, the Irish were able to make significant advancements. The election of two

United States presidents of Irish decent, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, are

illustrations of that progress. Though many Mexican-Americans are progressing socially

and politically, today, Mexican immigrants, as well as Mexican-Americans suffer from

many of the prejudices faced by the Irish. I will later discuss the low education level of

today's Mexican immigrants, and the high poverty levels among Mexican immigrants.

The Second Wave of immigrants came from eastern and southern Europe; this

group spoke neither English nor a Germanic language. They were predominantly

Catholic (with substantial numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe) and came from rural

areas and small towns in industrially undeveloped parts of the Continent (Muller 1985).










Again, these second-wave immigrants can be compared to Mexican immigrants in that

the maj ority of Mexican immigrants speak little to no English, and are predominantly

Catholic.

The Third Wave was a wave of migration, not limited to immigration. This wave

focuses on movement of peoples within the United States rather than outside of the

United States. The movement of southern rural Black Americans to northern cities was

analogous to the immigrant waves (Muller 1985: 11). In both cases, people from

disfavored areas were seeking opportunity in industrialized areas. The northern

migration of southern rural Blacks prefaces the northern movement of Mexicans.

The Fourth Wave, which is the wave that will be discussed throughout this chapter,

is the migration of Latinos and Hispanics. The end of black migration from the South

created a need for new sources of low-wage labor in urban centers (Muller 1985).

Mexican Immigration Movement

Until disparities in wealth and income between the United States and Latin

America disappear, the United States probably will continue to act as an economic

magnet for Mexicans and other Latin Americans in search of employment and income

opportunities (Bean 1986). The United States simply holds hegemonic power which

leads poor nations, such as Mexico, into states of dependence. Whether it is in the form

of foreign aid or in the waves of migration, poor nations have no choice but to rely on the

all-powerful United States.

The annual number of Mexican entries grew from just 10,000 in 1913 on the eve of

World War I, to 68,000 in 1920, and peaked at 106,000 in 1924 (Durand 2001).

According to official U.S. statistics, some 621,000 Mexicans entered the United States

between 1920 and 1929 (Cardoso 1980), a figure not reached again for decades. During









1926-1932, which corresponds with Mexico' s "flood tide" of emigration, some 44

percent of all Mexicans migrating to the United States came from one of nine western

states that comprise the historic heartland for migration from Mexico to the United States

(Durand 2001).

The Bracero Accord of 1942 amplified the Fourth Wave. This program permitted

United States companies to employ workers from Mexico provisionally to minimize the

deficiency of agriculture workers during World War II. Under the treaty, Mexicans were

granted renewable six-month visas to work for approved agricultural growers, located

mostly in southwestern United States (Durand 2001). Over the course of this program's

twenty-two years, more than 4.6 million Mexican workers were "imported" into the

United States (Cornelius 1978). This supposed temporary solution was prolonged until

1964. These Bracero workers were mostly from western Mexico.

During the 1960s, potential job opportunities, growing overpopulation in sender

nations, lower travel costs, and timely changes in immigration laws caused immigration

to the United States to swell to 3.3 million, the highest level since the 1920s. Without

realizing it, the United States government had started a trend among Mexican

immigrants--a trend that included millions of Mexicans migrating north to Eind j ob

opportunities in agriculture. This trend would soon lead to national debates concerning

immigration reform, human rights, and international relations.

In 1965 Congress enacted a new immigration law that for the first time put

numerical limits on immigration to the United States from countries in the Westemn

Hemisphere, effective in 1968 (Muller 1985). In 1986, the Immigration Reform and

Control Act (IRCA) was passed. This maj or event greatly affected the migration of all










persons into the United States. The legislation greatly expanded the resources, personnel,

and power of the United States Border Patrol, criminalized the hiring of undocumented

migrants, and generally militarized the Mexico-United States border (Durand 2001).

The Male Mexican Migrant Worker

Immigrants are portrayed as desperate people fleeing endemic violence and poverty

in the Third World, where stagnant economies, growing populations, and decaying

infrastructures leave inhabitants little choice but to seek refuge abroad" (Massey 2002).

Research shows a different side to immigrants. Risk, ambition, and desire are not words

typically associated with the U.S. perception of the Mexican immigrant. Yet, these

words describe so many of the men and women who risk everything to cross the border.

This also leads to a very important question.

Who is the Male Mexican Migrant Worker? He is the typical migrant into the

United States. A recent study of Mexican migration patterns and demographics stated

that the typical migrant is a working-age male from western Mexico, most likely from

Guanajuato, Jalisco, or Michoacan (Durand 2001). Though many Mexican women

migrate to the U. S. for work, the dominance of men appears to be increasing (Durand

2001). In fact the percentage of Mexican men moving to the U. S. is increasing, while the

number of Mexican women is decreasing. The percentage of children (up to age eleven)

and of teenagers (twelve to eighteen) has also fallen, while the percentage of older

workers has increased (Durand 2001). Data also shows that the migrant worker is getting

older. Throughout the early 1990s, the age of the incoming Mexican immigrant

increased. But, the average worker' s age remains between eighteen and fifty-four.

The typical Mexican immigrant household was evaluated in Thomas Muller's The

Fourth Wave (1985). In Los Angeles County in 1980, one in every twelve households









was headed by Mexican immigrants (Muller 1985). The average household headed by

Mexican immigrants contained 4.25 persons compared to the 2.54 persons who lived in

households not headed by Mexican immigrants (Muller 1985). The average income in

1980 for Mexican immigrant households in Los Angeles County was $15,256, which was

two-thirds the average income for all households in Los Angeles ($22,480) (Muller

1985).

Wayne Cornelius (1992) conducted a survey to find that Mexican immigrants were

changing from homogeneous uneducated to socially heterogeneous. This was due to the

fact that well-educated urban workers joined the outflow in response to a deteriorating

economy (Durand 2001). An earlier study by Cornelius (1978) and by North Houston

(1976) found that the average duration of a Mexican immigrant' s stay in the United

States was approximately six to eight months (Bean 1986). Yet, there has been a shift in

duration of stay for Mexican immigrants. Cornelius (1993) uncovered evidence that

migrants were becoming more attached to the United States and were shifting from a

soj ourner to a settler mentality (Durand 2001).

Unfortunately, the average Mexican immigrant is not achieving monetary success

in the United States. The 2001 annual report released by the United States Center for

Immigration Studies (2001) stated that because of their much lower education levels,

Mexican immigrants earn significantly less than natives on average (Camarota 2001).

This results in lower average tax payments and heavier use of means-tested programs

(Camarota 2001). Based on estimates developed by the National Academy of Sciences

for immigrants by age and education at arrival, the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid









minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative $55,200

(Camarota 2001).

Another issue faced by Mexican immigrants living in the United States is poverty.

The Center for Immigration Studies (2001) also reported that Mexican immigrants, and

their children, who are born United States citizens, comprise 10.2 percent of all persons

living below or at poverty levels. These immigrants also comprise 12.5 percent of all

persons living without health insurance.

Mexican Immigrants and the United States Economy

The affects on the economy can arguably be considered the most heated political

topic surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States. While thousands of

immigrants cross the United States borders to secure j obs, thousands of United States

citizens question the stability of thelir jobs. According to the Center for Immigration

Studies, though most native United States citizens are more skilled and thus do not face

significant j ob competition from Mexican immigrants, the 2001 annual report (consistent

with previous research by the Center) indicates that the more than 10 million native

United States citizens who lack a high school degree do face significant j ob competition

from Mexican immigrants (Camarota 2001). This competition is among the workers with

the least amount of skills. Still, Mexicans earn less than non-Mexicans working in

similar occupations (Muller 1985). On a lighter note, employment has increased,

creating additional higher-paying j obs because of the economic expansion resulting from

Mexican migration. Jobs, such as bilingual teachers, would not be necessary without the

Mexican immigration movement.

While there is some competition among Mexican immigrants and native United

States workers, the "they take our jobs" mentality is not supported statistically. The first









economic data refuting this mentality was written in the 1920s. Isaac Hourwich (1922)

concluded that immigration in the 1920s had, in fact, not displaced native wage workers

or earlier immigrants. The second fact involves the immigration boom up to World War

II. These data show that immigrants entering the United States during this period were

responding to economic opportunity. Third, a comparison between cities with large

numbers of undocumented workers and other cities suggested a possible linkage between

immigration and unemployment (North 1979). Fourth, between 1935 and 1940,

California's population grew by 10%-more than any other state (Muller 1985). The

majority of this growth was immigrants. These immigrants stimulated California's

economy, bringing the demand for goods, services, and housing. In fact, California's per

capital income remained the fourth highest in the nation (actually improving relative to

other states at the time) (Muller 1985).

The abundance of Mexican immigrants has also added a profusion of cheap labor.

By increasing the supply of unskilled labor, Mexican immigration in the 1990s has

reduced the wages of workers without a high school education by an estimated 5%

(Camarota 2001). The workers affected are already the lowest-paid, comprising a large

share of the working poor and those trying to move from welfare to work (Camarota

2001). In discussing the wage effects of immigration, it is important to remember that

immigrants are being paid less than the average wage; this is how the average wage

among workers in the United States decreases.

Amexica

The cover of the June 2001 issue Time magazine has the image of a little girl with

dark hair and brown skin. She is smiling a toothy grin as a little boy looks at her

curiously. The cover says, "Welcome to Amexica." This particular issue analyzes the









border from several different perspectives. "The 2,000-mile-long international boundary

between that United States gives shape to a unique economic, social, and cultural entity"

(Lorey 1999:1) The borderlands signify a space where a developed country and a

developing country meet and blend.

Two of Mexico' s six largest cities are located within a one-hundred-mile-wide

strip. "Although one cannot say with precision exactly when the border became

something more than a mental construction, its reification as a socially, economically,

and politically meaningful dividing line is mostly a product of the twentieth century"

(Massey 2002:26).

A common trait of borderland area is the phenomenon of sister cities. A city in

Mexico will spill into the U.S., and vice versa. These vast cities populate hundreds of

Mexican and U.S. citizens. The only separation of the two cities is the international

boundary line. Otherwise, these cities are mirrored economically and culturally. Fusions

of Spanish and English are spoken. San Diego/Tijuana is the busiest border crossing

point. El Paso/Ciudad Juarez is the largest border city, boasting 2 million people.

Laredo/Nuevo Laredo is the busiest commercial crossing point. And, McAllen/Reynosa

is the fourth fastest growing metro area in the U.S.

Popular music and movies, such as Selena and Born in Ea~st L.A. depict border life.

And, border life is often illustrated in popular Chicano literature and art. Many suspect

that the cities on the U. S./Mexico border are insights to the future of the U. S.

Natalia, though she does not reside in a maj or border city, personifies border

culture. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. And, she is a symbol of the fusion of










the two countries. She discuses the issue of transnational identity and what it means to be

a Mexican-American:

Natalia Caudillo: I love it here. Maybe it is because I've been here all my life.
But, I don't want to live in Mexico again. I like everything here. (Laughing) I like
tortillas and hamburgers and Chinese food. I know some Mexicanos who move
here and don't try to learn English. It' s not right. If you want to stay, you have to
try.

Veronica Sparks: I know one of your favorite things to do is watch Sunday
football. Tell me about that.

Natalia Caudillo: I like the Dallas Cowboys when they play good. (Laughing)

Natalia' s love for tortillas and egg rolls is one of the many ways that she has

become an active part of cultural fusion. Though she commits to a diet of beans, rice,

and tortillas, Natalia delights in international cuisine. She keeps her collection of

Cantifla~s movies in her living room, near her television. Yet her kitchen is filled with

Elvis memorabilia. Natalia's Spanish is spliced with Chicano words such as "troka" for

truck and "cook-iando" for cooking.

"In ethnic terms, border culture reflects a social milieu that was both a melting pot

and a salad bowl" (Lorey 1999:139). In U.S. border cities, such as El Paso and Los

Angeles culture is a combination of Mexican and "American" influence ranging form

high art, to popular tradition, to language. The border is also the birth place for new

types of music and art. An example of border music is the corrido, or ballad.

"For a long time, it was assumed that corridos were brought north from Mexico to

the border and South Texas," said Miguel Leatham, an anthropology professor at Texas

A&M University-Kingsville researching the songs..."Now we believe they started along

the border and only later became popular in Mexico" (Grant 1999). No matter the region









of origin, the corrido commonly uses the United States / Mexico border as a setting for

the song.

The United States will always be tied to Mexico by geography, history,

demography, and economics. "Given a sixty-year history of continuous movement back

and forth across the border, the flowering of binational trade and investment, the

continent-wide expansions of transportation and communication networks, and the

blending of cultures and peoples in both directions, the two nations are already

substantially integrated (Massey 2002:6).

United States / Mexico borderlands are more than a cultural and political novelty.

One cannot help but wonder if the border is a preview of what life in the greater United

States will be like as the Latino population rises.

Face to Face with La Migra

Though Natalia has worked for above average wages, for many years she worked

for below-average wages. And, though she lives comfortably now, for many years she

lived far below the national poverty line. Though Natalia has lived in the U.S. for 84

years, she is not immune to immigration policy.

Years of anxiety and fear of failure prevented Natalia from applying for U.S.

citizenship, though the idea had always been a dream of hers. Natalia was insecure about

her literacy level due to lack of formal education. After a year of intense studying,

Natalia applied for U.S. citizenship in Dallas, Texas in 1998.

Upon reviewing Natalia's application, the INS discovered that Natalia had voted in

the 1996 presidential election. Persons not holding citizenship status in the U.S. are not

allowed to vote in governmental elections. Natalia was notified in 1999 that she had

committed a crime, and was being deported.









Natalia's family immediately hired an immigration attorney, but more effectively

contacted the local news media to inform them of her case. Within days of contacting

the press, Natalia's story had made local and national headlines. The story of the 88-

year-old woman who was being deported touched the hearts of Texans everywhere.

Natalia became the topic on internet message boards. She also became a heroic

mascot for her city's local Tejano radio station. When Texas congressmen and state

representative Charles Stenholm (D), began receiving floods of mail pleading for a

pardon for Natalia, the INS canceled her deportation.

Though Natalia was allowed to stay in the U.S., she is forbidden to reapply for

citizenship. The irony of her situation is chilling. She was punished for voting. Natalia

said that she was told by a voter' s registration recruiter that she was allowed to register

since she had lived in the U.S. for more than 50 years. Again, Natalia used humor when

thinking back to her immigration scare:

Veronica Sparks: What did you think about your immigration problems in 1998?

Natalia Caudillo: I wasn't scared. But, I was a little worried. There are a lot of
places I could go in Mexico, but I don't know if they would let me stay for a long
time. (Laughing)

Veronica Sparks: Do you think you were treated unfairly?

Natalia Caudillo: Yes. I didn't know I was doing anything wrong. People at the
courthouse encouraged me to register to vote. At the courthouse! And, I was
punished for somebody else's mistake.

Veronica Sparks: What did you think of all the attention you received?

Natalia Caudillo: I was kinda happy. (Laughing) I don't think I did anything
wrong. It was kinda funny to see my picture everywhere. People knew me
everywhere. I was kinda famous.










Conclusion

Mexican immigrants have largely affected the United States population, work

force, and economy. The current wave of Mexican immigrants is similar, in many ways,

to the European immigrants in the first and second waves of immigration. Currently, the

average Mexican immigrant is as working-age male from one of three distinct regions.

He earns lower wages than the average United States worker.

The principal reasons why immigrants received lower wages are that they are less

likely to be unionized and they have less experience and education than other workers

(Durand 1985). The average household income for the Mexican migrant will be

significantly lower than the average non-Mexican-immigrant-lead household. Though

some Mexican immigrants compete for j obs with native U. S. workers, these j obs are

typically reserved for the least-skilled. Data has shown that Mexican migration has

actually boosted the U.S. economy. Demands for housing, goods, and services have

increased. This increase, in turn, causes another demand for jobs.

Though this wave of immigration leads to minor problems, it is important to weigh

the pros and cons of the situation. And, while U.S. immigration reform is necessary,

Mexican immigrants contribute greatly to the U.S. economy. The real threat is on the

Mexicans themselves. Low wages, low education levels, and insufficient health care are

dangerous factors which are greatly affecting these immigrants. The real solution seems

to be in policy reform. The "big picture" must be evaluated. Individual cases, such as

Natalia' s, explain the results of migration far more than models and multi-tiered charts.

Without studying individual cases, migration is nothing more than a cycle of metaphors.

A series of hydraulic tropes depicts immigration as a "rising tide" that pounds
against U. S. shores in endless "waves," threatening to wash away a shaky "dike" as
it sprouts numerous "leas" that threaten the country with massive "flooding" by and









immense "sea" of foreigners... A second set of metaphors is martial in nature.
Immigration is visualized as a "war" in which outgunned Border Patrol officers
heroically "hold the line," "defending" America against "hordes" of alien
"invaders" who "attack" the "fortress," occasionally resorting to "banzai charges."
Foreigners already inside the United States are seen as a "fifth column" of potential
spies and terrorists. (Massey 2002:3)

Immigration is an issue that influences Mexico and the United States near the

borders and inside the borders. True resolution to any problems is to focus less on

statistics and national averages, and more on individual cases.


Figure 4-1. Natalia receives pardon to stay in U.S. from her immigration attorney
Enrique Martinez (March 1998). Photo by John Sparks.


Figure 4-2. Natalia is the guest of honor at her 93rd birthday celebration in Levelland,
Texas (July 2003). Photo by Olga Sparks.






























Figure 4-3. Natalia dances with grandson Michael at her 93rd birthday celebration (July
2003). Photo by John Sparks.















CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

There are hundreds of stories that could have been included in this analysis. The

story of Natalia Caudillo not only contributes to traditional views of Mexican migration,

it challenges these views as well. Natalia' s story also gives insight to Tej ano life in

general, and the struggles of Mexican women in the cotton-industry.

Harvard political scientist, Samual Huntington, warns in Who Are We: The

Challenges to America's National Identity that America's Latino immigration flood is so

little like any earlier wave, so resistant to sharing the common American language, civic

rites and virtues that it constitutes "a maj or potential threat to the cultural and possibly

political integrity of the United States" (Huntington 2004).

Natalia's case is a direct contradiction to Huntington's claim. Natalia is an

example of an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has lived in the United States for

84 years. She has worked in the U.S., paid taxes, and voted! She embraces "American"

popular culture and fluently speaks English. She is living proof that even older

generations of immigrations can adapt to life in the U.S. without threatening English-

speaking "American" culture.

Natalia's testimonio tied into gender theory, more than I expected. Considering

Natalia's bold character, I was surprised to find that she never questioned her husband's

apathy. Yet, I was even more surprised to hear that Natalia would have loved a career in

the military. Also, Natalia's views on family structure have changed considerably over

the years.









Natalia is a 93-year-old Catholic woman from Mexico who is an advocate for birth

control and family planning. Natalia's identity and ideology is influenced by assimilation

and multi-ethnic expereinces. Though she loves her family dearly, she openly addressed

the difficulty associated with parenting.

Natalia's opinions on marriage and relationships have changed as well. By

analyzing Natalia's testimonio, we can see that Natalia was ready to leave her husband

and end her marriage. This was something that the younger Natalia never considered.

Challenges

This study also presented challenges. First, how does one trace the steps of a

subject who relocated so frequently? Natalia settled in Lamesa in 1940. Until then, she

lived in various regions of Aguascalientes, Mexico and South Texas. Natalia's first

Texas town is reminiscent of frontier ghost town. The general store, the school house,

and other landmarks of Natalia's past are no longer evident. "Migration studies have a

long history in anthropology, but they have been focused more on sending or receiving

communities and not on the processes of moving between several sending and receiving

communities" (Burns 1999:148).

A second challenge was Natalia's identity. Though she has lived in the U.S. for

eighty-four years, she tightly grasps her Mexican heritage. She is a prime example of

assimilation and integration without loss of culture and identity. I would have liked study

Natalia's hobbies such as traveling and watching football more extensively.

The third challenge is the question of applied anthropology. What caused Natalia

to make the decisions that she made? And, in order to truly be effective, I would like to

apply my knowledge and skills to assist women like Natalia. She could have been spared

nights of stress and anxiety had she known her rights in her immigration case. Also, she










could have avoided years of physical distress and abuse from an oppressive husband had

she known her rights as a woman.

Contributions

The purpose of this study was to put a face and a name to theory and ideas of

anthropology. "Migration, to Mexicans, is about taking a chance" (Conover 1987:262).

Natalia has taken many chances throughout her life. Her stories are examples of chance,

of survival, and of adventure. Natalia's devotion to her family as a mother and a

guardian has subconsciously validated her status as a woman and an adult. Her story

illustrates motherhood beyond national borders. Her undying loyalty, commitment, and

self-sacrifice are not limited to Mexico. These traits are part of who Natalia is as in

individual. They are pieces of her identity.

What began as a case study on my grandmother resulted in an assortment of ideas

that will contribute to those learning more about Latino/a life and immigration studies.

This study is important in that it adds to the understanding of migration. Rather than

focusing on the process of border-crossing, this study describes a lifetime study following

migration.

Second, this proj ect brings innovation to the field of ethnography. Traveling with

Natalia proved to be an invaluable method of gaining information. I would encourage all

anthropologists to travel in the field with the informant. This method resulted in the

rekindling of memories and the birth of new interview questions, which otherwise would

have been overlooked.

Third, this study contributes a portrayal of immigrant life that refutes claims that

Mexicans and Latin American immigrants refuse to assimilate to U.S. culture. Natalia

spent her childhood in multi-ethnic communities, playing with immigrant children from










various countries. Natalia speaks English and Spanish fluently. She also has a wide

Czech and Italian vocabulary, which she learned from other immigrant children. Natalia

has a love for multi-ethnic foods, sports, and popular culture events. She is currently

planning a weekend vacation for the German holiday Oktoberfest. This case study

contributes an example and an illustration of a migrant worker who serves as a metaphor

for border culture.

She is Latina, Chicana, and Tejana. She is a border character. The aim of Natalia's

story is to contribute a sincere take on a tale that can be told by many immigrants. The

contribution of this analysis is meant to be one that is truthful and fresh, giving a voice

and a sense of power to a true survivor.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Veronica Lane Sparks received an Associate of Arts degree from South Plains

College in Levelland, Texas. She briefly lived in Seville, Spain before earning her

Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she

studied literature and language and political science. She began her studies at the

University of Florida in 2002. She currently resides in the Southern Plains of Texas as a

freelance writer and video producer specializing in creative nonfiction. She is presently

writing her first novel.