Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term colonia is often used in the Spanish language to describe a community or neighborhood. Along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of colonias are home to thousands of the working poor in the United States. Although some diversity can be found in these communities, the preponderance of the colonia residents are of Mexican descent, which allows these enclaves to nurture Mexican culture, traditions, practices, and beliefs. While some have existed for more than 100 years, efforts to improve the environment of colonias and the lives of their residents have come only recently, and they are rather limited. In 1990, the United States set forth an official definition for colonias in Section 916 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (NAHA) as a preliminary to providing a limited amount of aid. In this federal legislation, colonias are defined as identifiable communities in the U.S.-Mexico border region (Texas, New Mexico, Colonias ...