A Look Back in Time to Build Forward

Since the 1900’s, Mexican immigrants, more than any other group, have served as the backbone of the American Southwestern economy. Invited by the United States through multiple contracts, they came to America to fill urgent vacancies in labor triggered by World Wars.

Mexican migrants joined the ranks of the U.S. National Guard, the Army Reserve, and enlisted in all branches of the United States military. They signed Bracero agricultural agreements to work in U.S. farms, relocating al norte to provide a service to the United States. Housed in the outskirts of society they built community roots. As alliances with the United States were firmly established, many hoped that Mexico-American collaborations would lower racial barriers to allow Mexican laborers a degree to socioeconomic mobility, a path to citizenship and respect. However, post-WWII accounts reveal that as Mexicans set out to work alongside Americans, legal and social discrimination followed them.

Cold War anti-immigrant legislation exacerbated the discriminatory views of Mexicans as if their sacrifices had never happened. Discrimination engendered hostile policies and thousands of the once courted workers were forcefully returned to Mexico.

Yet not everyone left. Resilient and committed to the American Dream, courageous migrants stayed in the US, where they faced hostility, poor working conditions, and anti-immigrant tensions. They persevered with the hope that one day, discrimination would turn into appreciation, and the U.S. would become a living example of its constitutional values, a refuge for the hard-working immigrant.

Latina Republic honors the history behind the alliances tying the US to its Central American neighbors. Good Neighbors work to understand each other, help where they can and set out to collaborate and coexist peacefully for the good of our communities. As Dr. King said, “hate will never eradicate hate.” We are less effective when we are divisive. Instead, let us look to history to understand the background of our complex border histories, and use the present to compassionately rebuild together.

Today, immigrants are living through a new version of the Cold-War; we are at war with a disease and with old nativist attitudes. In the U.S. immigrant families are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and excluded from relief packages. Despite the grim outlook, Latina Republic is committed to being part of the solution, of empowering Latinos so that together, we can rise and meet the challenges that await us in the recovery story of a post-Covid-19, U.S.

Latina Republic was founded by a Latina immigrant woman who through hard work, and many sacrifices, earned a PhD in US Immigration history from UC Irvine. Our nonprofit first emerged as an ethnic media source reporting on wrongdoings suffered by Latino immigrants in detention in the US, and the conditions in the Northern Triangle that had pushed countless migrants out in pursuit of a more humane world. Our story advocacy revealed social problems in urgent need of support. We realized that storytelling without action could only take us so far, so we became a nonprofit to do more. We continue using our voice and space to provide a forum for silenced voices and shed light on topics surrounding the welfare of Latinos in the US and in their countries of origin. This dual care for Latino families at home and their extended families in the Northern Triangle birthed 2 interlinked missions: a domestic vision focused on dismantling public charge narratives through specific programming, outreach and resources, and an international one proposing development and investment in NGOs doing heroic work in the Northern Triangle. We believe in development and investment, not walls.  We believe that one community cannot be healed without the other.

Regardless of country of origin, age or financial status, Latina Republic believes that all immigrants should be able to live free of fear and to provide for their loved ones. Our partnerships with Latin American NGOs and our advocacy and empowerment of Latinos in the US reflect the vision for a future we want to see; a vision that is aspirational for a just and inclusive society. Our programs promote family well-being and self-sufficiency.  A post-COVID-19 society will require collective action to promote national and cross-border well-being. It will require setting aside political partisanship, the suspension of the harmful, discriminating public charge ruling and the building of coalitions to promote citizenship, safety, health, and economic prosperity.