Cynthia Radding

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Migratory streams to and from Latin America have created human ebbs and flows over a century-and-a-half, since the borderlands were divided by the bi-national boundary between Mexico and the U.S. In truth, what we know as the borderlands, an extended region of changing ecological, cultural and political dimensions, running from the Californias to the Caribbean basin, has articulated the movements of diverse peoples through deserts, mountains and wetlands since long before the nation-state defined North American geography. The present paper outlines the historical context for migratory flows to and from the U.S. and Latin America, through the portal of Mexico, in the light of major political events and economic circumstances. Noting the diverse composition of migrant and immigrant populations, it discusses the pressures arising from the global economy over the last three decades that have increased the northward migratory paths from Latin America and the Caribbean to the U.S. Finally, it points to the complex processes of cultural identity that evolve from the demographic and spatial movement of peoples, including issues of citizenship and national affiliation.

Language (ISO)



United States Borderlands, Mexico, Cultural Identity, Latin America, Migrant Populations, Global Economy, Human Rights, Mixtec Indians

Historical Roots of Migration.ppt (2415 kB)