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This article focuses on important developments in Latina/o experience in the United States. Latinas/os are now the majority minority group in the United States. Increasingly, Latinas/os are rural dwellers, living in areas without a historical Latina/o presence. Latinas/os are no longer concentrated into the land geography that was Mexico prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Rather, the most recent wave of Latina/o immigration has dispersed settlement throughout the United States. This article discusses these changes in Midwest rural communities, and describes this new pattern of Latina/o immigration to the United States. The article then focuses on the cultural, socio-economic, and racial tensions that Midwest rural communities are experiencing. Immigration shifts reconfigure familiar racial/ethnic geography, create new conflicts, and call for new concepts. On the other hand, these changes create opportunities for positive interventions that might yield new norms of co-existence. The article describes the key legal issues for Latinas/os who have settled in the rural Midwest. Post 9/11, Latina/o “foreignness” has made what should be routine, for example obtaining a driver's license, a source of tension between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. Finally, The article describes how the organization of the University of Missouri's Cambio de Colores conference, based on the LatCrit conferencing model, has created a venue for communities of learning and activism in the Midwest.

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13 La Raza L.J. 343 (2002).