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CSLS Speaker Series – “Patronage Protection: The Impact of Politics and Violence on Mexican Repatriation During the Great Depression”

Monday, October 25, 2021 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

The Center for the Study of Law and Society 

Cosponsored with the Center for Race & Gender, Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, and the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice

are pleased to announce the next speaker in our Fall 2021 CSLS Speaker Series




Leonardo Arriola is Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley


Speaking on his research

“Patronage Protection: The Impact of Politics and Violence
on Mexican Repatriation During the Great Depression”


During the Great Depression, thousands of Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants repatriated from the United States to Mexico. There remains considerable debate concerning the extent to which these migrants left voluntarily or were coerced to do so. While prior research has mainly emphasized factors such as the depth of economic crisis or the surge of xenophobic sentiment, we argue that local electoral politics conditioned the migration of Mexican communities within the United States. We claim that local political bosses had an incentive to shield Mexican Americans from repatriation pressures because, wherever sufficiently concentrated, they provided votes on which political machines often depended. Mexican immigrants, however, lacked the ability to trade votes for political protection. To assess this patronage protection hypothesis, we examine net migration in Texas counties between 1930 and 1940. We find that Depression-era outmigration among Mexican Americans was significantly lower in counties controlled by patronage machines. We find higher outmigration from counties with a history of anti-Mexican mob violence, but this effect only holds for Mexican immigrants. We further show that these electoral and violence dynamics were specific to Mexican populations; they have no correlation with the net migration of White American, White European, or African American populations in Texas.


Please join us on Monday, October 25 from 12:45-2:00 p.m.


Please register here for the Zoom link.


We are looking forward to seeing you soon!


Catherine Albiston, Faculty Director

Pamela Erickson, Executive Director


If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) to fully participate in this event, please contact csls@law.berkeley.edu with as much advance notice as possible and at least 10 days in advance of the event.


NOTE: All participants and hosts are now required to sign into a Zoom account prior to joining meetings hosted by UC Berkeley. See “How to sign into your UC Berkeley Zoom account” for how to sign in.

Participants who are not eligible for a UC Berkeley-provided Zoom account can use a Zoom account provided by their institution, can create a free, consumer Zoom account (at https://zoom.us/freesignup/), or can dial in via the phone


Monday, October 25, 2021
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:
Will participants be asked to keep cameras on?
Will there be breakout rooms?
Will the public chat be on or off?




Center for the Study of Law and Society

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

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