Immigration Patterns and History of Mexican-origin Latin@s in the Midwest: Educational Implications and Future Considerations
The accelerated growth of the Latin@ population in the United States in the last few decades represents one of the most significant demographic changes in the nation. Alongside this population shift, some other trends have started to emerge: the Latin@ population, especially Mexican-origin people, has begun to move and settle outside traditional large cities (Murillo & Villenas, 1997; Stamps & Bohon, 2006). The numbers of Mexican-origin Latin@s concentrated in so-called “gateway” states, such as California and Texas, have started to decline and populations of immigrants settling in non-traditional destinations are now growing (Passel & Zimmerman 2001; Zuñiga & Hernandez-Leon, 2005). This demographic flow has been referred to in academic literature as the new Latino diaspora (Murillo & Villenas, 1997) or new Latino destinations (Suro & Singer, 2002). Against this background, this essay explores the literature with a focus on the history of Mexican-origin Latin@ presence in the Midwest, as well as the more recent immigration trends of this population in the region. The essay aims to extend current understandings of Latin@ immigration patterns in the Midwest, analyze their implications for education and policy, and offer additional questions and considerations for future research in the field. A nuanced examination of these facts will help us to better understand the significance of the Mexican-origin Latin@ presence in the Midwest, the vulnerable status of this group over the years, and the need to recognize this population as an asset, not a liability, in the present and future considerations of the United States as a nation.