One of the quintessential goals of the American Dream is to own land and a home, a place to raise one’s family and prove one’s prosperity. Particularly for immigrant families, home ownership is a way to assimilate into American culture and community. However, Latinos, who make up the country’s largest minority population, have largely been unable to gain this level of inclusion. Instead, they are forced to cling to the fringes of property rights and ownership through overcrowded rentals, transitory living arrangements, and, at best, home acquisitions through subprime lenders.
In Tierra y Libertad, Steven W. Bender traces the history of Latinos’ struggle for adequate housing opportunities, from the nineteenth century to today’s anti-immigrant policies and national mortgage crisis. Spanning southwest to northeast, rural to urban, Bender analyzes the legal hurdles that prevent better housing opportunities and offers ways to approach sweeping legal reform. Tierra y Libertad combines historical, cultural, legal, and personal perspectives to document the Latino community’s ongoing struggle to make America home.