The Museum of South Texas History will host a Sunday Speaker Series Online presentation, “Incarcerating Mexican Immigrants in South Texas, 1929-1930,” with Cristina Salinas, who holds a doctorate in U.S. history, on Facebook Live.

In March 1929 a new reality went into effect at the U.S.-Mexico border. A new law created criminal fines and penalties for undocumented migration, thus making a crime what had previously been solely an administrative violation, punishable by deportation. Now, crossing the border at unauthorized ports of entry could be punished by jail time, as well as deportations. Immediately afterward, Border Patrol officers in South Texas began sending captured immigrants to the Hidalgo County Jail in Edinburg, Texas. The jail quickly became overwhelmed and overcrowded, becoming a humanitarian disaster for the jailed immigrants and a law enforcement headache for the county. The Sunday Speaker Series Online presentation will consider this early period of immigrant incarceration, a problem that has usually been considered as a 21st century concern. It will also explore a moment in South Texas border history which illustrates, at its very inception, the process of criminalization of immigration.

Salinas is a native of the Rio Grande Valley with deep roots in the border region of South Texas and northern Mexico. After graduating from Edcouch-Elsa High School, Salinas attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor of arts in history. She returned to UT-Austin to earn a master’s degree and doctorate’s degree in U.S. history, with a focus on Mexican-American and border history.

The presentation will be streamed at Guests are encouraged to interact with the presenter by posting questions and comments on the live chat. The video will also be recorded and posted for public access on the Museum’s Facebook page and website at

This program is made possible by the generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was committed to educational causes in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created by her family to honor her memory and to continue providing educational opportunities for the community.

About Museum of South Texas History
The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are Sunday 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit, like us on Facebook and Instagram, follow on Twitter, find on YouTube or call +1-956-383-6911.