Julian Lim

Porous Borders

Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

University of North Carolina Press 2017

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Asian American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network March 30, 2018 Lori Flores

With the railroad’s arrival in the late nineteenth century, immigrants of all colors rushed to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, transforming the region into a booming...

With the railroad’s arrival in the late nineteenth century, immigrants of all colors rushed to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, transforming the region into a booming international hub of economic and human activity. Following the stream of Mexican, Chinese, and African American migration, Julian Lim presents a fresh study of the multiracial intersections of the borderlands, where diverse peoples crossed multiple boundaries in search of new economic opportunities and social relations. However, as these migrants came together in ways that blurred and confounded elite expectations of racial order, both the United States and Mexico resorted to increasingly exclusionary immigration policies in order to make the multiracial populations of the borderlands less visible within the body politic, and to remove them from the boundaries of national identity altogether.

In Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (UNC Press, 2017), Lim reveals how a borderlands region that has traditionally been defined by Mexican-Anglo relations was in fact shaped by a diverse population that came together dynamically through work and play, in the streets and in homes, through war and marriage, and in the very act of crossing the border.

Julian Lim is an Assistant Professor of History at Arizona State University. She holds a B.A. in literature and a law degree from U.C. Berkeley, and received her Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. Trained in history and law, she focuses on immigration, borders, and race, and has taught in both history department and law school settings.


Lori A. Flores is an Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University (SUNY) and the author of Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale University Press, out in paperback May 2018).

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