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Rethinking Settlement Processes: The Experience Of Mexican Undocumented Migrants In Chicago

Maria de Lourdes Villar
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development
Vol. 19, No. 1/2, Immigrants in U.S. Cities (SPRING-SUMMER, 1990), pp. 63-79
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40553175
Page Count: 17
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Rethinking Settlement Processes: The Experience Of Mexican Undocumented Migrants In Chicago
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Abstract

Until recently, undocumented Mexicans were viewed as temporary migrants who would return to their country after short periods of residence in the United States. Contemporary evidence, however, has suggested that many stay for prolonged periods and even settle permanently in the United States. At present, analyses of settlement trends stress the gains that migrants with long-term experience make in this country. With time, income and job stability increase, and the migrants gain personal ties and familiarity with U.S. institutions. This makes their settlement seem a naturally evolving process. This article suggests that we have rarely gone far enough in exploring the circumstances that influence migrants' settlement. Drawing from the experience of undocumented Mexicans in Chicago, it argues that long-term residence in the United States does not necessarily imply progressive accommodation. Instead, it stresses the role that adverse economic factors play in the circumstances of settlement.

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