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Porous BordersMultiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands$
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Julian Lim

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635491

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635491.001.0001

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Forged in Revolution

Forged in Revolution

(p.124) 4 Forged in Revolution
Porous Borders

Julian Lim

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyzes the multiracial intersections of the Mexican Revolution, using the case of Pershing’s Expedition into Mexico in 1916 1917 to explore the escalating importance that both states attached to race, immigration, and citizenship in the borderlands. South of the border, military service clarified the citizenship status of African Americans while Mexicans and Chinese immigrants found themselves caught in a dangerous space between two states – one state (Mexico) that could not sufficiently protect them from revolutionary violence and another (the United States) that remained uncertain about whether to protect them at all. As U.S. immigration officials tightened the border against thousands of men, women, and children fleeing for their safety and security, the power of the U.S. state became more clearly visible in the borderlands. This chapter analyzes how people caught between revolution and exclusion renegotiated their relationship with the state. In desperate straits, Mexican immigrants reconstructed their identities from political refugees to desirable laborers, while Chinese immigrants re-branded themselves as deserving refugees rather than excludable laborers. The chapter thus elaborates the ways in which immigrants and officials refined the distinctions between the diverse groups in the borderlands.

Keywords:   Mexican Revolution, John J. Pershing, Punitive Expedition, Chinese in Mexico, Apache scouts, African American soldiers, Citizenship, Refugees, Mexican immigrants, Chinese Exclusion Act

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