JAEH Archive / Vol. 40, No. 2, Winter 2021

Journal of American Ethnic History

Vol. 40, No. 2, Winter 2021

Table of Contents


Reagan's Cold War on Immigrants: Resistance and the Rise of a Detention Regime, 1981–1985

By: Kristina Shull


Through migrant and activist testimonies, media coverage, and government documents, this article explores the modes of resistance inside and outside of immigration detention that arose in response to new, more punitive detention policies enacted by the Reagan administration that specifically targeted Caribbean and Central American asylum-seekers in the early 1980s, and the modes of retaliation adopted by the administration in response. It argues migrant detention operates as a form of counter-insurgency, re-centering the geopolitics of asylum within the transnational scope of counter-insurgent warfare and its role in the rise of carceral trends more broadly. Reagan’s “Cold War on immigrants”—defined as a suite of new immigration enforcement measures that was adopted by the Reagan administration during its first term and buttressed the subsequent growth of the detention system—sparked mass resistance. Mounting public dissent against Reagan’s foreign and immigration policies, as evidenced by “inside-outside” and transnational activism, Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign, and the Central America peace and Sanctuary movements, prompted the administration to wage a total war against its opponents to maintain its immigration control and foreign policy aims. The contemporary US immigration detention system emerged, and continues, out of this dialectic of resistance and retaliation.

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Tejas, Afuera de México: Newspapers, the Mexican Government, Mutualistas, and Migrants in San Antonio 1910–1940

By: Daniel Morales


Half a million Mexicans left Mexico during the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), and another half a million left in the 1920s. San Antonio became home to the largest Mexican community in Texas; new immigrants joined both older immigrants and Mexican Americans. Some looked to the United States as the focus of their new lives while others promoted a Mexican identity based on the nationalist rhetoric of the Mexican Revolution. This paper looks at the latter and the institutions that supported it in San Antonio—La Prensa newspaper, the mutualistas, and the Mexican consulate—to understand how the ideology of México de Afuera worked on the ground. I argue that, more than simply a conservative ideology, México de Afuera enjoyed widespread support because it fit into migrants’ worldviews. Central to the idea of México de Afuera was the belief that people would return to Mexico one day. The Great Depression put this to the test and led nearly every Mexican organization in Texas to support and organize repatriation. México de Afuera ultimately hindered the creation of a forceful defense of Mexican migrants as members of the US polity.

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Butchers, Bakers, and Jewish Strong-Arm Men: Organized Crime in the Kosher Food Trades During the Age of Mass Jewish Migration, 1900–1917

By: Aaron Welt


Throughout the era of Jewish mass migration to the United States, organized crime played a central role in stabilizing the business practices and union affairs in the kosher food industries of the New York metropolitan area. Two key sectors of New York’s kosher foods trades, kosher poultry and Jewish baked goods, demonstrate the various ways in which underworld leaders came to informally police chaotic business sectors upended by laissez-faire capitalism and the large-scale relocation of European Jews to urban America. In kosher poultry, a cartel of butchers, teamsters, and various other workers mobilized organized crime and violence to remove the threat posed by Barnett Baff, an ambitious Jewish immigrant entrepreneur who aimed to vertically integrate the industry. In Jewish baked goods, the labor chieftain Max Kazimirsky managed a brutal and corrupt regime in the Hebrew bakers ‘unions. But despite his widely documented use of violence and coercion, Kazimirsky succeeded in maintaining a closed shop system among New York’s bakeries and union control over production and distribution. The domineering role of organized crime in kosher foods during this period conveys the ways immigrants to Gilded Age and Progressive Era America forged their own methods of imposing order over ethnic capitalist marketplaces, ones not approved by city authorities but which, nevertheless, provided a modicum of industrial stability.

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Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice by Enrique M. Buelna

By: Verónica Martínez-Matsuda

Preserving the White Man's Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism by Joshua A. Lynn

By: Mark R. Cheathem

Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States by Kimberly D. McKee

By: Kit Myers

Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel

By: Giuliana Perrone

Two Irelands Beyond the Sea: Ulster Unionism and America, 1880–1920 by Lindsey Flewelling

By: Cory Wells

Understanding Muslim Political Life in America: Contested Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century by Brian R. Calfano, Nazita Lajevardi Understanding Muslim Political Life in America: Contested Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century by Brian R. Calfano, Nazita Lajevardi

By: Abdulkader H. Sinno

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth by Kevin M. Levin

By: Jonathan Lande

Teaching Empire: Native Americans, Filipinos, and US Imperial Education, 1879–1918 by Elisabeth M. Eittreim

By: Jacki Thompson Rand

The People's Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism by Gregg Cantrell

By: Donna A. Barnes