Immigrant Communities in Colorado

May 6, 2009

Course Description:

The current era of globalization has generated the apparent contradiction between the free flow of capital across borders and restrictive immigration policy. In order to gain a greater understanding of these trends, this course will examine changing patterns of Latino immigration in the US-Mexican border region and in Colorado Springs. The course will consider a range of issues including: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the multifaceted nature of integration between US and Mexican economies, economic development in Mexico that has generated emigration to the US, the nature of the Mexican migrant journey to the US, the role that Latino labor plays in the US economy, and US immigration policies including the militarization of the US-Mexican border. The class will travel for seven days to the Tucson/Nogales region of the US-Mexican border.

(Prerequisite for class: Any Sociology 100 Course)

Course Goals:

  1. To demonstrate to students an understanding of the dynamics associated with the current era of globalization that propel migration from the global south to the United States
  2. To demonstrate to students an understanding of the role Latino immigrants play in the U.S. economy
  3. To demonstrate to students an appreciation of the difficulties both immigrants and community institutions confront as immigrants integrate into urban communities such as Colorado Springs

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the steps involved in the immigrant journey from Mexico to the United States
  2. Develop an understanding of sociological theory that focuses on causes and effects of international migration to the U.S. including an understanding of the relationship between globalization and migration
  3. Develop an understanding of theoretical work focused on border militarization
  4. Demonstrate an ability to weave personal reflection from the border trip into literature reviews on migration and globalization
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of skills needed by immigrants and community agency personnel to negotiate the U.S. immigration system
  6. Develop an analysis concerning immigrant integration into urban communities in the U.S. and the possibilities that this process will contribute to social change

Service Learning Placements:

Students will choose between two service learning field placements for the course. The first placement involves a Public Achievement Project in Wasson High School. The second placement involves teaching English as a Second Language to adults through the Adult and Family Education program in local school district 11. See the guidelines on these projects at the end of the syllabus.

Field Trip to U.S.-Mexican Border:

The class will travel to the Tucson/Nogales region of the border from Jan. 14-21, 2005. We will concentrate specifically on Mexican migration to the United States and actually trace the migrant journey from northern Sonora, Mexico to the border region and into the U.S. A tentative itinerary is included at the end of the syllabus.

Reading Journals:

Students are required to turn in critical summaries of 150 words or less on each of the readings during the first and last weeks of the course. Each book and article is a separate entry (please note: these summaries are not a substitute for a student’s own personal system of taking notes). For each entry, include the citation and a brief description of the central argument and main points. Concentrate on your own critical reaction to the piece. See the examples at the end of this syllabus. I will grade these assignments with a check, check plus, or check minus. See examples at end of syllabus.

Class Writing Assignments:

There will be three papers in this class. The first paper is due on Friday Feb. 4, the second paper is due Feb. 26, and the final paper will be due on Friday May 6. The first two papers will both require a literature review of the relevant theoretical and empirical work that we will have considered in the class as well as a reflection on your observations/findings/thoughts from the border trip. In order for you to be best prepared to answer this question, I suggest that you keep a journal during the trip. Suggested guidelines for the journal are included at the end of the syllabus and will be discussed on the first day of class. The final paper will focus on your field placements. Guidelines for the papers are included at the end of this syllabus.

Class Format/Attendance/Deadlines

The format of the class will emphasize discussion. I will look for evidence of daily preparation for class discussion and engagement with the course materials. All of the readings are important, but I will not discuss every point from every reading. Class time will not be limited to repeating the material in the readings; rather class time is an opportunity to extend the readings to the questions and issues that interest us as class members. To a large extent which readings we discuss and the level of detail of our discussion is up to us as class members You are responsible for making sure that any reading that you thought was particularly interesting, fantastic, totally misinformed, confusing, etc. is discussed to your satisfaction.

Scrupulous attendance is assumed for classes held at CC and meetings during the trip to the border. For class, you should always arrive prepared and having thought about the readings. You are obligated to submit your work by the date and time specified in the syllabus. Handing in assignments late disadvantages you in getting on with other work in the course. Late assignments will be penalized one grade per day.

Honor code and good faith agreement:

In addition to adhering to the college honor code, students in this class must adhere to the following good faith agreement:

  1. We assume that our colleagues are not motivated by hate, unless we have definite evidence to the contrary. If we learn of attitudes or positions colleagues hold that contribute to or reinforce wrong, we assume that these arise out of ignorance. Ignorance is educable.
  2. Until or unless we have definite evidence to the contrary, we assume each of us is educable, and that each comes to our shared task with good faith.
  3. We assume our colleagues, like ourselves, desire for the world to be a more humane and just place, unless we have definite evidence to the contrary. Ensuing disagreements, then, constructively focus on different visions of how this may be accomplished rather than whether it is of interest.
  4. We assume that there will be people here with more and less experience and knowledge than we hold; we assume that there are those among us who are more “enlightened,” and those who are more “ignorant” on specific points, and that there are diverse standards for what constitutes enlightened or ignorant. We agree to start from where we stand, in our lives, each day.
  5. We, therefore, seek to avoid creating hierarchies amongst ourselves: more-politically-correct-than-thou, more-committed, more-experienced, more informed.
  6. This is not a muzzle, nor is it intended to suggest that anger, passion, vehemence, or other powerful expressions do not have a place in what we come together to do. Indeed, we wish to encourage those kinds of expressions by providing baseline understandings for a constructive atmosphere.


  • Reading Journals, Class Participation, and Class Trip: 20%
  • First Paper: 25%
  • Second Paper: 25%
  • Final Paper: 30%

Grading Criteria:
I will evaluate both written and oral work on an overall basis: while separate ratings are not made on each, the following are the major criteria I use:

  • ORIGINALITY: Is your topic or position significant? Do you suggest new interpretations or are you merely rearranging old ones? Do you present a fresh organization of material or are you merely regurgitating what you have read?
  • CONTENT: Is your paper a careful analysis of the issues or does it represent unsubstantiated personal opinion?
  • ORGANIZATION: Is there a logical structure to what you are presenting or are you merely throwing a number of unrelated things together without demonstrating their connection? Have you presented a compelling argument?
  • DEPTH: Do you just note issues or do you develop and analyze them in some depth? BREVITY: Have you edited your paper to make your argument as tight and succinct as possible? Note: Achieving this will require several rewrites.
  • STYLE: Do you write with some grace? Are your sentences and paragraphs designed to communicate your ideas or are you simply stringing words together with no thought on their impact on the reader? Have you written for a general, well-educated audience or is your paper so specialized that only an “expert” can understand your argument? Have you avoided sexist language? Papers should be typed and well-edited for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Pages should be numbered. Persistent errors will count against you.
  • HONOR CODE: You are encouraged to discuss your work with your peers, but the papers and the exam must be individually thought-out and written. If you do not know how the Honor Code applies to a particular assignment, be sure to ask. Honor Code violations result in an automatic “NC.”

Class Trip Evaluation Criteria:

I will take a number of things into account when evaluating your participation on the border trip including degree of participation during class reflection sessions, quality of participation during these discussions including ability to make connections between the different trip meetings and reading material covered in class, punctuality to meetings and activities, and willingness to work as a group with your fellow students (colleagues).

Reading material:

All of the readings for the course have been posted on the course web page.

Course Schedule:

Monday Jan. 10: Causes of International Migration: Poverty, Capital Accumulation, Globalization, Relative Deprivation, Political Violence, Migrant Networks
Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut, Immigrant America, (Berkeley: University of California), 1996, pp. 1 -92
Douglas Massey, et al., “Theories of International Migration: Review and Appraisal,” Population and Development Review] 9(3):431-466, 1993
Douglas Massey et al. Return to Aztlan: the Social Process of International Migration (Berkeley: University o(California Press), 1987, pp. 139-171
Class meets from 9-12

Tuesday Jan. 11: Causes of International Migration Continued: Role of Latino Labor in the U.S. Economy
Saskia Sassen, Globalization and its Discontents (New York: New Press), 1998, pp. 31-53
Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (New York: Monthly Review Press), 1997, pp. 1-8,265-285
Aristide Zolberg, “Wanted But Not Welcome: Alien Labor in Western Development,” in William Alonzo (cd.), Population in an Interacting World, 1987, pp. 36-73
Paul Ong, Edna Bonacich, and Lucie Cheng (eds.), The New Asian Immigration in Los Angeles and Global Restructuring, (Temple University Press), 1992, pp. 3-35
Urban Institute, “Undocumented Immigrants: Facts and Figures,” 2004
Dawn Thilmany, “The Hispanic Labor Force in Colorado’s Agricultural and Rural Economy,” 2002
E. Helen Berry and Almabel Kirschner, “Rapid Growth of Hispanic Populations in Western States, ” WRDC Information Brief, 2002
National Immigration Forum, “Immigrants and the Economy”, 2003
National Immigration Law Center,”NILC Reflections on President Bush’s Immigration Reform Proposal,” 2004
Class Meets from 9:30-12:30

Wed. Jan. 12: Economic Integration and Immigration
Oxfam, “Dumping Without Borders,” 2003 Walden Bello, Deglobalization, pp. 1-31
Dani Roruik, “Globalization for Whom?”
Oxfam, “Rigged Rules and Double Standards” and Assorted Responses Food article – New York Times
Class Meets from 9:30-12:30 and 1:30-3 :30
*Field Project Orientation from 11:00-12:30
*Exercise in Altar, Mexico

Thursday Jan. 13: U.S. Immigration Policy and the U.S.-Mexican Border
Douglas Massey et al., Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in An Era of Economic Integration, (New York: Russell Sage Foundation), 2003, pp. 105-141
Peter Andreas, Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 2000, pp. 85-103
Kitty Calavita, Inside the State: the Bracero Program, Immigration and the LN.S. (New York: Routledge), pp. 1-41
Class Meets from 9:30-12:00

Friday Feb. 4: 5:00-7:00: Why Border Militarization?
**Paper #1 due
Peter Andreas, Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide (Ithaca: Cornell University Press), 2000, pp.1-39; review pp. 85-103; 103-112
Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the Illegal Alien and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (New York; Routledge), 2002, pp. 1-37; 95-149; 165-188

Friday Feb. 25: 5:00-7:00: Restricting Latino Immigration in the US
Brenda Walker, “Save the Sierra Club From the Treason Lobby – Act Now.” 2003
Stanley A. Renshon, “Dual Citizenship and American National Identity,” Center for Immigration Studies, 2001
Roy Beck et al., “Outsmarting Smart Growth: Population Growth, Immigration, and the Problem of Sprawl,” 2003
Steven Camarata, “Immigration From Mexico: Assessing the Impact on the United States,” 2001
Huntington article

Friday March 11: 5:00-7:00: Immigration, Urban Restructuring, and Ethnic Tension
Roger Waldinger, “Black – Immigrant Competition Reassessed: New Evidence From Los Angeles,” in Sociological Perspectives, v.40, no. 3, 1997, pp. 365-386
Paul Ong, “The Korean-Black Conflict and the State,” in Paul Ong, The New Asian Immigration in Los Angeles and Global Restructuring,(Temple University Press), 1994, pp. 264-294
George Sanchez, “Face the Nation: Race, Immigration, and the Rise of Nativism in Late Twentieth Century America,” in International Migration Review, v.31, Winter 1997, pp. 1009-1030

Friday April 1: 5:00-7:00: Immigrant Networks: Social Capital and Ethnic Niches in the Labor Market
Roger Waldinger, Still the Promised City? African Americans and New Immigrants in PostIndustrial New York (Harvard University Press), 1996, pp. 1-32
Mary Waters “Ethnic and Racial identities of Second-Generation Black Immigrants in New York City,” International Migration Review, 1994
Sarah Mahler: American Dreaming: Immigrant Life on the Margins, (Princeton University Press), 1995, pp. 83-158

Friday April 15: 5:00-7:00: Immigration and Gender Dynamics
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Gendered Transitions: Mexican Experiences of Immigration (Berkeley: University of California Press) 1994, pp. 53-147
**Possible Presentation by a CC alum who has been working in Guatemala

Friday May 6: 5:00-8:00
Final Presentations on Field Projects – Wasson and Hunt ESL folks will be invited
**Final Papers Due

School: Colorado College
Professor: Eric Popkin
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