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History, U.S. Latino/Latina Studies

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Book Chapter

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Published Version

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Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transitional World

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In 2006, immigrant rights protests hit almost every major city in the United States. Propelled by a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment and proposed immigration legislation that developed out of the 2004 presidential election, Latino/a activists demanded an end to the biased, and often racist, immigration reform debate, a debate that characterized immigrants as violent criminals who wantonly broke American law. Individuals of all ethnicities and nationalities, but mainly Latinos, participated in massive demonstrations to oppose the legislation and debate. In the Southwest, in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, and El Paso, Mexican Americans showed by force of numbers that they opposed this debate. Activists waved Mexican flags, Catholic iconography, and American flags to show their militancy and to demand recognition as Americans. Somos americanos became the movement's catchphrase: "We are Americans."


This is a chapter from Brian D. Behnken. 2013. "Mexico's American/America's Mexican: Cross-border Flows of Nationalism and Culture between the United States and Mexico". In: Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transnational World. Brian D. Behnken and Simon Wendt, Editors. Lexington Books. pp.63-81. Reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield,


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Lexington Books



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