History Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2014


Perhaps the best place to begin is with two brief conversations that took place after one of my classes. In the first, a student told me that his family recently sold a part of their portion. Here in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and México, the term “portion” refers to a grant of land of at least 4,428 acres given to the Spanish settlers who first came to this Valley during the 1750s and 1760s. 1 So this student, barely into his twenties, formed part of a link extending back for more than a quarter of millennium and which crossed five national histories.2 The second young man conveyed a grimmer message; his mother’s deportation hearing would be taking place on Thursday morning and so he would not be able to attend class. She had entered the United States without federal authorization decades ago and now was to be separated from her family. Together, these two conversations tell us much about this valley, which remains a unique juncture of the United States, México, and Texas. Perhaps the best way to understand this saga is to begin at the beginning.


© 2014, Journal of the West.

Publication Title

Journal of the West

Included in

History Commons



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