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Blurred BordersTransnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States$
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Jorge Duany

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834978

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807869376_duany

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A Transnational Colonial Migration: Puerto Rico's Farm Labor Program

A Transnational Colonial Migration: Puerto Rico's Farm Labor Program

(p.81) 4 A Transnational Colonial Migration: Puerto Rico's Farm Labor Program
Blurred Borders

Jorge Duany

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter approaches the Puerto Rican diaspora as a transnational colonial migration. In so doing, the author defines Puerto Rico as a nation, an imagined community with its own territory, history, language, and culture. At the same time, the island lacks a sovereign state, an independent government that represents the population of that territory. This unsovereign state has long sponsored population displacements from Puerto Rico to the United States. During the first half of the twentieth century, colonial officials embraced migration as a safety valve for the island's overpopulation. During the 1950s and 1960s the Commonwealth government spurred the “Great Migration” to the U.S. mainland. In particular, the Farm Labor Program, overseen by the Migration Division of Puerto Rico's Department of Labor, illustrates the complicated negotiations required by a transnational colonial state. In many ways, Puerto Rico's postwar migration policies anticipated those of contemporary transnational nation-states, such as the Dominican Republic.

Keywords:   Puerto Rican diaspora, transnational colonial migration, imagined community, sovereign state, independent government

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