2019 UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic Fellowship

2019 UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic Fellowship

Sponsored by the UConn Honors Program, El Instituto: Latina/o, Caribbean & Latin American Studies Institute, CT Area Health Education Center & the UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic

The UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic fellowship is a competitive award that allows students with an interest in migration studies and/or medicine to spend part of the summer working with a team of UConn medical professionals to provide services to migrant farmworkers. It includes direct service as well as the opportunity to assist in a research study. Honors students who speak Spanish and whose undergraduate research would be enhanced by work with migrant populations will be given preference.


This fellowship is complemented by an internship that allows the fellow to train for the clinic in the late spring, and contribute to the fall course LLAS/HIST 1570 Migrant Workers. The fellowship during the summer comes with a stipend of $1,000 to cover traveling expenses. For more detailed information, please see


Deadline for letter of interest: Friday, March 15th, 2019 to anne.gebelein@uconn.edu

New Joint MA Program in Latina/o Studies + Public Policy or Public Administration

In January 2019, El Instituto and the Department of Public Policy (DPP) debuted two new joint Masters degree programs in Public Administration (MPA) and Latina/o & Latin American Studies and Public Policy (MPP) and Latina/o & Latin American Studies.

The objective of the joint MPA/MPP and Latina/o & Latin American Studies degree programs is to prepare students with functional skills and knowledge in public administration and public policy and at the same time engage them in interdisciplinary study and in-depth research related to Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American worlds.

These joint Masters degree programs permit students to complete the requirements for the two MAs in three years rather than the four years it would take to complete both degrees separately.

Exciting research opportunities are available for students in this program to devise their own studies and contribute to UConn faculty research into the status of Latinx and Latin American populations. Our aim is to graduate Latinx and Latin American community-serving applied researchers, who are endowed with both the analytic and intercultural/international skills to address the information needs of policymakers, social service providers, and intergovernmental and non-governmental human development and social justice organizations.

If you are interested in applying for one of these joint Masters degree programs, you need to apply to, and be accepted to, both El Instituto’s and DPP’s graduate programs. Graduate stipends and tuition waivers from El Instituto are competitively available to students admitted to our International Studies MA with a concentration in Latina/o and Latin American Studies. Support through El Instituto is also competitively available for exploratory field research (typically done in the summer after year one in the Latina/o and Latin American Studies program). In year three of the program, DPP offers funding for students to do internships with employers in their preferred public administration or public policy area of specialization.

For more information please write to El Instituto: elinstituto@uconn.edu, or the Department of Public Policy: dpp@uconn.edu.

Library Notes

Happy New Year to all of you!


Last fall, I attended the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, La FIL as it is known to
the locals. From November 30 th  to December 8 th , 2018, thousands of people congregated at the
Guadalajara Convention Center to see and to be seen at the greatest book fair in Latin America.

This year Portugal was the Guest of Honor of the fair and the Portuguese language was
featured prominently across the many stands in the Mexico area. Two great additions to this
year’s fair were non-traditional displays of
comics and graphic novels and even things
gastronomical, featuring pre-Hispanic and
contemporary Mexican cuisine as well as talks,
demonstrations and tastings: beetles
and chapulines (crickets)!

As always, I make sure to purchase a wide
variety of books from all over Latin America
and the Caribbean, which I hope to showcase
later this semester at one of our HACHA

As always, please feel free to contact me
anytime if you have questions, want to make a consultation appointment or teach a class to your

Happy Spring Semester!
Marisol Ramos, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian

PRSA Conference

Contributed by Felix Padilla-Carbonell

The Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA) met at Rutgers University for its 13 th biennial
conference, 25-28 October 2018. This was the first PRSA conference to meet since Hurricane
María devastated the island. The conference theme was “Navigating Insecurity: Crisis, Power,
and Protest in Puerto Rican Communities.” Attendance, of academics, scholars, and activists,
from the island as well as the mainland, was the largest ever for a PRSA conference. Among
many outstanding panels, conference highlights included the pre-conference graduate student
mentoring workshop and the opening plenary, “Anthropological Perspectives on Colonialism,
Economic Crisis, and Disaster in Puerto Rico.” A public panel, “The Myth of Freely Chosen
Status: What the Historical Record Shows about Government Persecution of Puerto Rico’s
Independence Movement,” was moderated by Democracy Now! journalist and Rutgers professor,
Juan González, and featured former political prisoner Oscar López Rivera as one of its panelists.
A grassroots activists’ roundtable hosted community organizers from around the island, who led
the hurricane relief and recovery effort and stayed on to help meet people’s chronic needs. El
Instituto is the home of the PRSA Secretariat and we proudly recognize the outstanding work of
our core faculty member, Charles Robert Venator-Santiago, in leading the organization of the

Robert G. Mead Lecture Series with Dean Kevin R. Johnson

Contributed by Rocio Orozco

El Instituto had the privilege to host Kevin Johnson for its annual Robert G. Mead Lecture, 6 November
2018. Johnson, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law and long-time expert on immigration law, delivered
a lecture on “Immigration in a Time of Trump.” He began his lecture expressing his growing concern with
Trump’s lack of commitment to the rule of law in the immigration field. Tweets by the president that are
too racist to put on television and which propose removing birthright citizenship by executive order
contravene laws and norms about how the power of the executive can be rightfully used.
Even when considered within the United States’ long history of excluding immigrants of color, Trump
immigration policies look ugly. Johnson’s lecture covered several Trump immigration decisions with racial

The Travel Ban: A poorly written executive order that prevented Muslims from entering the country. The
first time it was struck down by the courts because it was not specific or had exceptions and created
chaos. The second attempt was also struck down in part because of Trump’s campaign comments
against Muslims. The third attempt was accepted by the courts because it was narrower and more
carefully written. Johnson stressed that all this was the administration’s attempt to push the envelope and
see what it can get away with.

Immigration Limitation/Refugee Limitations: Trump has criticized “chain migration,” a misinformed view
that existing, and highly restrictive and slow-moving family reunification provisions constitute an open
door for legal immigrants to bring unlimited numbers of their relatives into the country. Limited and slow-
moving as family preferences are, the Trump admiration is taking serious steps to change the racial
demographic of this nation by doing away with family preferences entirely and limiting the number of visas
allowed to immigrants from certain “s***hole” countries. Notable also is that Trump began his campaign
by stating Mexicans were criminals and rapists and Salvadorians were MS-13 members.
Social Services: The administration wants to make it more difficult to receive citizenship if you have ever
received social security benefits, even if your child is a U.S. citizen.

Zero-Tolerance: The most extreme measure this policy is taking is family separation, by which adult
Central American asylum seekers are jailed, leading to separation and detention of their children in
separate facilities. Johnson pointed out that there are other options instead of detention.
Attacking Sanctuary Cities: Jeff Sessions sued the state of California for not complying with federal law
requiring the cooperation of local law enforcers with ICE. States protecting their local autonomy are
fighting back. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) wants to remain separate from
federal immigration enforcement and not ask the immigration status of victims, because they need their
cooperation in fighting crime.

Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): A policy that provided relief from deportation and
work eligibility for 800,000. The majority who benefited from this program are from El Salvador, Mexico,
and Guatemala.

Ending Temporary Protection Status (TPS): TPS allows temporary protection from deportation to out-of-
status migrants from specific countries that were recovering from natural disasters and armed conflict.
The administration wants to end TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
Expanded Removals: The Obama administration deported record numbers of immigrants while also
seeking to prioritize recent border crossers and non-citizens with serious criminal records. It exercised
discretion to let immigrants stay who had been in the country for several years and had strong family and
community ties. The Trump administration has moved toward deporting any out-of-status immigrant,
regardless of their legal records or family ties.

The question and answer period following Dean Johnson’s talk focused on relief through the courts,
questions of racial injustice, activist strategies and sources of hope for a most just future.

Tinker Spotlight

Contributed by Ari Romano-Verthelyi

tinker spotlight

In the U.S., Latino children are more likely than non-minority children to have unmet mental health needs. In order to understand and promote Latino families’ treatment engagement, several studies have
examined the contribution of socio-cultural factors, identifying stigma as a key barrier. However, the term “Latino” encapsulates different national origins, which may differ in their attitudes towards mental health services. Indeed, Diguini, Jones, and Camic (2013) found that in Argentina perceived social stigma does not influence service-seeking behavior, and that Argentines hold fewer stigmas about seeking treatment than Americans. Other studies have echoed these findings, and added that neither financial status nor emigration affects stigma’s reduced impact on Argentines.

Thus, Argentina appears to be a country with low mental health stigma, the most psychologists per capita in the world, and yet still many of the same core cultural values as other Latin American countries. In light of this, greater understanding of Argentina’s mental health care culture, particularly in relation to recognition, referral, and treatment, could inform strategies for engaging Latino families from other nationalities in treatment. In particular, specific focus on the culture as it relates to the two most commonly-referred childhood disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), may be especially informative as their prevalence has been found to be consistent across countries.

Unfortunately, few have examined this. Thus, the purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore Argentine professionals’ conceptualizations of the etiology, identification, and treatment of ODD and ADHD, as well as their consideration of socio-cultural factors such as stigma that might act as barriers and/or facilitators to care. Thus, twenty-five Argentine teachers, pediatricians, and mental health providers with experience working with children and adolescents were recruited as participants using the snowball sampling method. Data collection took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the summer of 2018. In order to explore themes that might not be reflected in established questionnaires, open-ended questions were asked in an audio-taped, semi-structured interview. Interviews are currently in the process of being transcribed, translated, entered into a qualitative data analysis package (NVivo 12; QSR International, 2010), analyzed using a constant comparison analytic strategy, and developed into a codebook.

Prior to commencing this project, my experiences with research occurred primarily in the context of other scientists’ projects: I collected data from participants in both English and Spanish, coded qualitative portions, conducted analyses on quantitative portions, and presented posters at conferences. Support from the Tinker Foundation gave me the incredible, invaluable opportunity of designing and leading my own investigation. Already I have gained experience writing up and obtaining IRB approval, successfully applying for additional funding from the J. Conrad Schwarz and Carolina Herfkens Fellowship, recruiting participants, and supervising undergraduate research assistants. I have learned that leading an investigation requires a great deal of patience and flexibility, whether you’re waiting to hear back from the IRB or trying to see if a participant can squeeze you in to her busy schedule. Yet, nonetheless, being at the helm of your own study is also exhilaratingly satisfying. I flew back from Buenos Aires with twenty-five signed consent forms, twenty-five encrypted audio files, and an immense pride in my hard work. I hope to share my findings both as a peer-reviewed journal article and as a poster at the Society for Research inChild Development’s Biennial Conference in March of 2019. Furthermore, I will be applying for additional funding to further explore commonalities and differences between the values and characteristics described by the target population in Argentina and their colleagues in the United States, thus paving the road for future research aimed to improve service access and utilization for Latino communities in the United States.

The U Turn

Contributed by Megan Fountain

u turn poster

On May 12, 2008, the U.S. government sent 900 heavily armed immigration agents to the
tiny town of Postville, Iowa, to arrest 389 undocumented immigrant workers in the Agriprocessors
kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant. This event forms the backdrop for Luis Argueta’s
documentary film, The U Turn. Argueta visited UConn in September to screen his film and
answer questions.

Argueta flew to Iowa immediately after the raid and began documenting the stories of the
Guatemalan-American families who were torn apart. The result was AbUSed: The Postville Raid
(2010). Now, Argueta has produced a sequel, The U Turn (2016), exploring the raid’s aftermath.
In this long story, we meet everyday heroes from small-town America and the Iowa government
who “refused to give up” on their immigrant neighbors. According to census data, there are less
than 800 households in the entire town, so the arrest of 389 people left an indelible mark. At the
town’s entrance, a sign greets visitors, “Postville: Hometown to the World.” Argueta shows how
the town lived up to its motto, in defiance of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At the center of the story of The U Turn is the struggle of about 70 women and youth victims of
the raid eventually to win permanent legal status (green cards) through the U visa program.
Congress created the U visa in 2000 to encourage victims of domestic violence, sexual assault,
and other violent crimes to cooperate with the police without fear of deportation. An immigrant
victim of one of these crimes who helps the state prosecute it can apply for a U visa. Women and
youth at Agriprocessors who had endured sexual violence from managers, threats of retribution
for non-compliance, and child labor violations, ended up winning U visas. They were allowed to
petition for visas for their spouses, parents, children, and siblings. In total, 179 workers and family
members got green cards.

In Trump’s America, The U Turn’s happy ending seems almost from another era. (Argueta
finished the film before Trump took office.) And one cannot help but think about the other 300
immigrant workers who were deported from Postville and never benefitted from U visas.
Although the Attorney General for Iowa attempted to convict the factory owners on 9,311 counts
of child labor violations, a jury found them not guilty. The AG could not prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the owners had knowingly hired 32 child workers.
Spurred by this injustice, the Iowa legislature later amended its criminal statutes to make it easier
to convict employers for child labor violations; and to increase the penalty from $100 to $10,000
per violation.

The film dramatizes how vastly out of proportion the resources commanded by ICE are when
compared to what state governments have for enforcing workplace standards and punishing
abusive employers. Whereas ICE mobilized hundreds of agents and circled helicopters around
Agriprocessors, spending millions of taxpayer dollars just on the day of the raid, Iowa could afford
just one child labor inspector for the whole state. The U Turn shows how states and localities can-
-and must–invest in workers’ rights enforcement as an alternative to deportations.

Tertulia Con Solsiree del Moral

Contributed by Julia Marchese

On October 10th, 2018, Dr. Solsiree del Moral (Visiting Professor in History from UMass Amherst)
discussed her forthcoming book Street Children, Crime, and Punishment. It is the first historical study of
street children and incarcerated youth in post-World War II Puerto Rico. Minors in jails and correctional
schools suffered from dire conditions that to this day remain little known in Puerto Rico. Professor del
Moral described how, decades later, she was the first to touch many of the archival documents consulted
in her research.

Her presentation was divided up according to the chapters of her book: How the public saw the street
children and how the street children saw themselves; the history of holding minors in penal institutions;
the children’s stories; and the consequences of these reprehensible acts under the government of Luis
Muñoz Marín.

During the late 1940’s and early 50’s, many rural Puerto Rican workers were being recruited to urban parts of the island to work in the factories as a part of Operation Bootstrap, an industrialization program implemented by Muñoz Marín. This rural-to-urban migration sparked the formation of shantytowns in thecities. Many parents would work in the factories while children, ages nine to sixteen years old, roamed the streets with minimal adult supervision. These “street children,” not all of whom knew their parents, would sleep in allies, idle on streets, and work selling food and guarding cars. In the words of del Moral, the street children’s presence “offended the bourgeoisie,” prompting many upper-class Puerto Ricans to write to the government of Muñoz to fix the problem of the “pre-delinquent children.”

The minors were jailed in penal institutions, prisons, and correctional schools. Dilapidated conditions were common, and many of the incarcerated minors experienced overcrowding, lack of sanitation, poor
hygiene, insufficient food, prolonged solitary confinement, physical abuse, and sexual violence.
Incarcerated children were jailed with the mentally ill or with criminals. It was not until 1955 that federal and international attention was given to their predicament. When the government decided to release the children due to overcrowding, they soon realized the institutions into whose care they attempted to release these children were understaffed, negligent, and simply lacked sufficient services. The government realized they did not have good records of the detained children and many of the minors ran away and lived independently on the streets of cities such as Ponce.

Preliminary conclusions of del Moral’s book illustrate the challenges confronting Muñoz Marín in responding to the problem of unsupervised minors and the life-lasting effects that government initiatives had on this population. While the government romanticized the rural jíbaro lifestyle, the realities of the shantytowns were vastly different. For decades these stories have gone untold, and that is what del Moral’s book attempts to change.

Illuminating the Path with Maria Hinojosa

Contributed by Rocio Orozco

A vison in red and black six inch heels, Maria Hinojosa shared the Jorgensen Auditorium stage on the
evening of 10 September 2018 with PR/LACC director Fany Hannon, to share the wisdom of her
experience as a journalist and media entrepreneur. Hinojosa is best known for her NPR show, Latino
USA, but also runs her own company, Futuro Media, and produces another news opinion and analysis
podcast series, In the Thick.

Hinojosa was born in Mexico and grew up on the south side of Chicago. Reflecting on Trump’s policy of
separating immigrant families at the border, Hinojosa shared her own story of immigration and border
harassment. In 1963, her family received green cards when her dad was offered a job at the University of
Chicago. When her family arrived from Mexico, immigration officials told her mother that they had to keep
the infant Maria in quarantine because she had a rash, while letting her mom and the rest of her siblings
enter without the baby. Her mother refused to leave Maria behind, asserting herself vocally with such
determination that the immigration officials relented and let the whole family come into the U.S. together.
So traumatic was the prospect of being separated from baby Maria that it took many years before
Hinojosa’s mom could share this story with her.

Hinojosa equated the policy of family separation to children being kidnapped, trafficked across state lines
and held for ransom. She asked for critical attention to be given to the language being used to justify
family separation: “For their own good, for their safety.” She also warned about the long-term
psychological effects these traumatic events are causing the children and their families: “Some kids will
recuperate and some will never recuperate. It’s painful, it’s deep.” “A foreign government is taking
children from their parents.” She asked the audience to reflect on this question, “What if they were white?”
Hinojosa fights to combat the myth of the criminal immigrant. She reminded the audience that people are
not illegal, migrants commit less crimes than natural born citizens, and that we need to “bring the
humanity back to the conversation.” Hinojosa explained the importance of knowing your individual origin
story. We Latinos have not been in control of our own narrative and, for Hinojosa, it is vital that we take
control of it.

Hinojosa did not at first aspire to become a journalist. When she was young, there were not many
journalists who looked like her on TV. Hinojosa wanted to be an actress but a New York casting director
dashed her dreams when he told her that she did not stand out enough.
Hinojosa had experience doing a radio show while in college, and even though she was intimidated, she
applied for an internship at NPR and became the first Latina hired at the company. Hinojosa loved her job
at NPR but found that she needed to find her voice and decided to leave the company. She explored
other fields and worked many jobs simultaneously. Eventually, she came back to NPR in the 1990’s.
She said she understands she comes from place of relative privilege and with that comes responsibilities.
“We do not have time for imposter syndrome.” She says that she forced herself through the
uncomfortableness to pitch ideas in the newsroom and to focus not on the discrimination but on her
responsibility. Just like everyone else, she would at times doubt her ability to follow through on
assignments. She said that she built a support group to help her get through the difficult times and
encouraged the audience to make sure they have their own support group, too.
Latino USA is now celebrating its 25 th anniversary, over which time the show has won many awards
including a Peabody.

Maria Hinojosa was truly inspirational: “The perspective that you have from your experience matters,”
she said. “Own your voice, power, authenticity, authority.”

The History of the Largest Foreign-Born Population in the State

Dr. Fiona Vernal’s research on Connecticut’s West Indian immigration history has been featured on the Uconn Today page. Dr. Vernal’s research discusses–

“Guest workers arrived in America through bilateral labor agreements between British West Indian colonies and the United States, says Vernal, whose family origins are in Jamaica. They were men who replaced the thousands of Americans who left their jobs to fight in the war, some working in industry, but most in agriculture.

The shade tobacco workers from the West Indies islands lived in camps at Bradley Field and other locations, and soon began to develop a sense of community, Vernal says, when for the first time people from the island nations in the Caribbean got to know each other through a broader West Indian lens. Other than workers laboring in the banana and sugar industries, the only other large scale effort that previously brought men from the Caribbean island nations together was the building of the Panama Canal.”

Fiona Vernal is a native of Trelawny, Jamaica and grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. She earned her BA in history with a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University in 1995 and her MA and PhD from Yale. After completing her doctoral work in December 2003, she served as director of African Studies at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since 2005 she has taught at the University of Connecticut’s Department of History where her courses focus on precolonial, and colonial Africa, the history of South Africa, slavery, and the African diaspora. Since 2015, her teaching pedagogy has shifted to incorporate inquiry-based learning and human rights practice, yielding the exhibits: “Children of the Soil: Generations of South Africans under Apartheid” (April 2016) and the upcoming “Child Labor and Human Rights in Africa” in 2018.

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