Abstract

This article examines how legal concepts of age and family shaped the status of immigrants in Argentina from 1869 to 1920. While historians have long explored the effects that immigration had on Argentina's culture, economic development, and political stability, they often overlook a fundamental aspect of this migration: approximately one-third of those who arrived to Argentina by 1909 were under the age of 22. They were, therefore, legal minors. Evidence from 300 suits filed in Buenos Aires civil tribunals indicates that these young people faced significant challenges obtaining the protections and rights of citizens promised foreign residents in Argentina's 1853 constitution. Immigrant parents also faced frequent challenges to their parental rights. The sociolegal construction of minorities and families fundamentally shaped the status of immigrants in Argentina.

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