When “The Central Valley Opportunity Center 1984 Annual Report” was published, nearly all farmworker families living in the Central Valley of California lived below the Federal lower-living standard (CVOC, n.d., 8). Seventy five percent of migrant farmworkers spoke little to no English and language barriers combined with their itinerant existence meant that few were educated beyond the sixth grade. CVOC’s report gives a detailed account of the actions the organization took in 1984 to support migrant farmworkers’ struggle for survival. This report is valuable for understanding the foundations and efficacy of CVOC’s current operations.
The Central Valley of California is a temperate, 450 mile stretch of well irrigated, nutrient rich soil (Norton, n.d.). The 350 different crops grown there generate a quarter of the produce consumed in the United States (Perez 2019). This massive agricultural operation attracts a broad array of migrant workers to the region and wage growth is undermined by competition for unskilled positions. CVOC is one of many community-based organizations that emerged in the 1970s to address the needs of low-income migrant farmworkers in California (Tony Silva, pers. comm.).
There have been three major migration periods in the United States in the last century: a largely laissez faire outlook in the 1930s; the Bracero Program, in effect during and after World War II; and, following the elimination of the Bracero Program, passage of major immigration laws in 1965 (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 1). The Bracero Program was a formal agreement signed between the United States and Mexico in 1942, establishing “a migrant guest worker program,” which had favorable conditions for Mexican immigrants (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 4). The Bracero Program experienced significant pushback, and upon its expiration in 1964, was followed instead by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, which established per-country caps and a tiered preference system for rationing visas within a country (Rosenblum and Brick 2011, 5).
This letter is written to Father Lydio Tomasi on January 19,1983 from Eugene F. Higgins thanking him for his contributions and insights regarding refugee situations that is happening around the world during the 1980s. It is part of the Directors’ Files of CMS Collection #084A, Box 4, Folder 41.
Immigration has had an enormous role in shaping the United States as a nation. There are many reasons for one to immigrate and such decisions are major and life-changing. Conflicts between nations, as well as economic turmoil, displace millions of people all over the world. What happens when the people are forced to flee their homelands to escape and seek refuge in another nation? Thus, immigration becomes an essential topic for understanding and discussion. With such need, people like Father Lydio F. Tomasi, along with a few of his community of Catholic priests, nuns, and laypeople founded the Center for Migration Studies. Continue reading →
Screenshot of the panel’s proceedings during this day of the conference.
This video is part of a three day proceedings from June 7-9, 2017 by several groups coming together to discuss their actions and emerging strategies to face the increasing hostility and illegal action being taken against immigrants and others under the emerging Trump presidency. The event was hosted by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, and the South Texas College of Law Houston (Center for Migrations Studies 2017). Continue reading →
Elizabeth Holtzman, letter to Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Hoang Bao Son, 28 Feb. 1979, box 35, Garner J. Cline Papers, Center for Migration Studies, (New York, NY.).
In February of 1979, Elizabeth Holtzman, Chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and International Law wrote a letter to the Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency Hoang Bao Son, regarding the quick approval for visas for James Upshaw, an NBC reporter, and his television crew, to travel with her to Hanoi. The letter is part of a collection called the Garner J. Cline Papers, which currently resides in the Center for Migration Studies in New York. The Garner J. Cline Papers consists of fifty-one boxes containing the personal papers of Garner J. Cline, who, at the time the letter was written, was Staff Director for the Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Representatives.Continue reading →
Figure 1: Letter from Peter Regis to Garner J. Cline, in 1979, regarding the overflow of Soviet Jew refugees in Rome.
One of the hot topics in today’s political climate is the refugee crisis. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, and suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days. This contentious national issue is nothing new. In fact, the banning of refugees can be traced back through US history.
First of four pages summarizing projected refugee admissions for the 1986 fiscal year
More than a decade after Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho shook hands at the Hotel Majestic in Paris and the last weary American troops returned home, Vietnam still held the world’s attention in 1985. The Vietnamese endured economic and social hardship in the years following the official end of the Vietnam War and, with these new challenges, America turned its focus from war to the resettlement of refugees. The number is small; only 1035 Vietnamese refugees from the Dong Rek Camp were accepted for resettlement into the United States in 1985. Behind the numbers, though, is history that has been all but forgotten, hidden by the lingering shadow of the Vietnam War. Continue reading →
Cover of Voorhees’ January 1961 report on the Cuban refugee problem
On January 1, 1959, after years of guerrilla warfare, Fidel Castro’s forces ousted Cuban President Fulgencio Batista (Daniel, 2004, p. 193). Nowhere was the impact of Castro’s revolutionary socialist state felt more acutely than in Miami Florida, the principal port of entry for Cubans seeking refuge (Mitchell, 1962, p. 3).
The object featured is an issue of Refugees Magazine from 1985 that was published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). In this issue the main focus is on the emergency situation in Africa that occurred in the 1980s due to famine. This magazine serves as a way of calling out to give aid to this part of the world and make people aware of the issues at hand.