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The Latina/o Midwest Reader$
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Omar Valerio-Jiménez, Santiago R. Vaquera-Vásquez, and Claire F. Fox

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041211

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041211.001.0001

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Reshaping the Rural Heartland

Reshaping the Rural Heartland

Immigration and Migrant Cultural Practice in Small-Town America

Chapter:
(p.57) Reshaping the Rural Heartland
Source:
The Latina/o Midwest Reader
Author(s):

Aidé Acosta

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041211.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the ways new Latino settlement patterns in the rural Midwest have destabilized the notion of a static and quaint Midwestern heartland. It focuses on the arrival of Mexican immigrants from Jiménez, Nuevo León, in Lorraine, Illinois, to become the primary labor force in the local broom industry over the last four decades. During a period of increasing anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric that marginalized Latinas/os, Mexican immigrants settled and created a sense of home in the rural Midwest by engaging in various religious and cultural practices, including La Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe and quinceañeras. The chapter details how the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement redirected immigrant flows to the rural Midwest and led to new Latina/o cartographies. It argues that Mexican immigrants engaged in diasporic cultural practices to claim a place in the rural Midwest as cultural citizens, and in the process, reshaped the rural heartland.

Keywords:   rural heartland, broom industry, placemaking, diasporic cultural practices, NAFTA, seasonal migration, Illinois, Nuevo León, Texas, cultural citizenship

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