Hispanics in Rural America The Influence of Immigration and Language on Economic Well-Being



Following the 19th-century annexation of Mexican territory, non-Hispanic or Anglo farmers acquired large amounts of ranchland from Mexican owners, often by contesting Mexican land titles. As a result, many Mexicans became agricultural laborers rather than landholders, particularly in California and Texas. Former Mexicans in New Mexico and Colorado retained their land to a much greater extent and have sustained more independent, self-sufficient communities. A concentration of landless Mexican- Americans in California and Texas, however, in economically dependent, unincorporated settlements known as colonias has sustained poverty through lack of access to government services, poor educational facilities, and limited employment. Those conditions are aggravated through continual new immigration to these settlements (Rochin and de la Torre, 1991; Saenz and Ballejos, 1993; Rural Sociological Society, 1993). 

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