The Utopian/Dystopian American Dream: Immigration and Labor in Latina/o Science Fiction

The Dangers of Being a Non-Citizen

Don Chipote’s illegal entrance into the U.S. puts him in one of the most vulnerable positions: he is temporary, exploitable, and expendable. Historically, when the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, Mexican immigrants became the scapegoat for the lack of employment opportunities. Camille Guérin-Gonzales in Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration, Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900-1939 explains that major deportations were initiated beginning in 1931 and the Bureau of Immigration was tasked with finding and deporting any and all illegal aliens in the U.S. (79). During this time, racial prejudice increased against Mexicans (both immigrant and U.S. born), and these two groups were “repatriated” back to Mexico, even some who were Mexican American citizens. Guérin-Gonzales reports that more than 365,000 Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans were deported between 1929 and 1932 (94). Interestingly, this anti-immigrant sentiment also alludes to the political climate of the 21st century with an increasingly xenophobic government after 9/11. In 2010, Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants faced racial discrimination from the implementation of Arizona’s SB 1070 law[1], which permitted police officials to stop those who appeared to be of Mexican descent, question their citizenship status, and deport them if they were found to be undocumented. This type of discrimination is further exposed in Lunar Braceros 2125-2148’s 22nd century, when thousands of people are displaced onto Reservations based on class and race.  

[1] Arizona SB 1070 was a 2010 legislative Act in the U.S. state of Arizona that was the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in a long time. This law spurred much controversy and appeared to encourage racial profiling to interrogate a person’s immigration status. Also in 2010, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne declared the school district’s Mexican American Studies program out of compliance with HB 2281—a law enacted in May 2010 that effectively banned the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona’s K–12 schools and primarily targeted TUSD Mexican American Studies.

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