The 1929 Law That Turned Undocumented Entry Into a Crime

By Treating Migrants as Felons, the Undesirable Aliens Act Reinforced a Punitive Approach to Unauthorized Immigration

Too often, discussions of modern immigration policy are ahistorical, focusing on recent events while ignoring the past policies that led us, as a country, to where we are today.

That’s especially true when undocumented immigrants are characterized as criminals—often merely on the basis of their legal immigration status. This rhetoric isn’t new—it has long been used to justify immigration crackdowns. But the framing of unauthorized migration as illegal does have an origin point: a little-known law in 1929.

The law—Senate Bill 5094, also known as the Undesirable Aliens Act—was notable because it …

The Ancient Maya Cosmology of Conservation

In Their Worldview, Humans Were Not Superior to Nature. They Were But One Element Needed to Maintain Universal Balance.

In the middle of the jungle in central Belize excavating an ancient Maya water temple, I’m at the edge of a sacred pool, praying to Chahk, the Maya rain god, …

Guadalajara’s Transition From Tequila to High Tech

Offering a Model for Mexico's Future, the City Reinvented Itself as an R&D Hub

In 2009, as the economy of Silicon Valley started to recover from the financial crisis, Bismarck Lepe, a tech entrepreneur with a Stanford pedigree and a few years working at …

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

And Neither Will the 2017 Tremor—Unless Public Disillusionment Erupts

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?

This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, …

How Mexico and India Fused in My L.A. Kitchen

A Friendship Reveals Two Cultures That Are Distant but Simpatico

It’s a paradox, both of our globalized culture and of Los Angeles: My mother’s quest to cook authentic Indian food when she visits here has taught me a lot about …