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Warhawk Spotlight: Henderson interviewed on Australian radio show

by Neil Probst | Mar 15, 2016

Diversity: Dr. Timothy Henderson, distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of History and World Languages & Cultures, recently was interviewed on “Rear Vision” on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Radio National.” Henderson spoke on the history of Mexican immigration to the United States and the nativist trend in recent U.S. politics, a dialogue that highlighted the importance of diversity.

Henderson was interviewed by host Annabelle Quince, who asked how Mexican immigration to the U.S. began, how it has changed over the years, and how it has been addressed.

Quince also asked Henderson about events like 1954’s “Operation Wetback,” a program of mass deportation, and the Bracero Program, which brought Mexican guest workers to the U.S. from 1942 to 1964.

“She was interested in why Mexican immigration has persisted for so long as well as the difficulties Mexicans have encountered in assimilating to U.S. culture,” Henderson said.

The dialogue also touched on current U.S. politics, including drastic measures suggested by presidential candidate Donald Trump — such as his proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border — as well as the nativist trend that, according to Henderson, Trump embodies.

The nativist trend refers to hostility toward immigrants and the tendency to blame them for the country’s problems, said Henderson, recalling that Quince asked “if Trump’s talk of walls and mass deportations is realistic.”

In light of the portion of the dialogue that focused on illegal immigration, Henderson urged a broader understanding.

“Mexican immigration to the U.S is the lowest in decades, and, in fact, more people are returning to Mexico than coming to the U.S.,” he said.

Also, according to Henderson, the labeling of many Mexican immigrants as “illegal” has caused more harm than good.

“The branding of Mexican immigrants as illegal has been an obstacle to assimilation, and it has also tended to associate Mexicans with criminality in the minds of many Americans,” Henderson said. “In many ways, Mexican immigration has been manipulated to keep those immigrants perpetually vulnerable and low-paid.”

(Editor’s note: The Warhawk Spotlight features news about people, projects and programs at AUM that illustrate our Core Values. Need a refresher on our Core Values?)

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Listen to the complete podcast or read a complete transcript.

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