America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity

America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity

Frank D. Bean
Gillian Stevens
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    America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity
    Book Description:

    The attacks of September 11, 2001, facilitated by easy entry and lax immigration controls, cast into bold relief the importance and contradictions of U.S. immigration policy. Will we have to restrict immigration for fear of future terrorist attacks? On a broader scale, can the country's sense of national identity be maintained in the face of the cultural diversity that today's immigrants bring? How will the resulting demographic, social, and economic changes affect U.S. residents? As the debate about immigration policy heats up, it has become more critical than ever to examine immigration's role in our society. With a comprehensive social scientific assessment of immigration over the past thirty years, America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity provides the clearest picture to date of how immigration has actually affected the United States, while refuting common misconceptions and predicting how it might affect us in the future. Frank Bean and Gillian Stevens show how, on the whole, immigration has been beneficial for the United States. Although about one million immigrants arrive each year, the job market has expanded sufficiently to absorb them without driving down wages significantly or preventing the native-born population from finding jobs. Immigration has not led to welfare dependency among immigrants, nor does evidence indicate that welfare is a magnet for immigrants. With the exception of unauthorized Mexican and Central American immigrants, studies show that most other immigrant groups have attained sufficient earnings and job mobility to move into the economic mainstream. Many Asian and Latino immigrants have established ethnic networks while maintaining their native cultural practices in the pursuit of that goal. While this phenomenon has led many people to believe that today's immigrants are slow to enter mainstream society, Bean and Stevens show that intermarriage and English language proficiency among these groups are just as high—if not higher—as among prior waves of European immigrants. America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity concludes by showing that the increased racial and ethnic diversity caused by immigration may be helping to blur the racial divide in the United States, transforming the country from a biracial to multi-ethnic and multi-racial society. Replacing myth with fact, America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity contains a wealth of information and belongs on the bookshelves of policymakers, pundits, scholars, students, and anyone who is concerned about the changing face of the United States.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-035-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. About the Authors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Frank D. Bean and Gillian Stevens
  5. Chapter 1 Introduction: Immigration′s Nuances and Complexities
    (pp. 1-15)

    The destruction of the twin towers of New York′s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—carried out by persons who were neither citizens nor legal permanent residents—cast into bold relief the importance and contradictions of U.S. immigration policy. Those responsible for the suicide missions were able either to enter the country fraudulently or to remain here illegally after visas for legal entry had expired (Gorman 2001; Jenks 2001). A dramatic slowdown in international travel after the attacks took place, together with an apparent acceleration of a downturn in the U.S. economy that had begun well before the incidents...

  6. Chapter 2 Migration Flows, Theories, and Contexts
    (pp. 16-41)

    Assessing the importance of immigration for the United States requires not only that we become knowledgeable about the shifting magnitude and nature of migration flows into the country occurring over the past few decades but also that we develop an understanding of the various theories about why such flows take place. It is also crucial that we consider the changes in the demographic and economic contexts that mark this period, shifts that may have altered the reception newcomers receive after they arrive. In doing so we must not lose sight of the diversity in the kinds of flows that have...

  7. Chapter 3 Mexico and Unauthorized Migration
    (pp. 42-65)

    Up to this point we have considered the general phenomenon of international migration to the United States, noting the several kinds of flows that make up this migration, theories as to why such flows occur, and the economic and labor market contexts within which they have taken place. Often, analyses of immigration to the United States that are intended to shed light on immigration-related policy issues tend to treat immigration as a single phenomenon (see, for example, Borjas 1999). There are three major problems with such approaches. First, migrants from different origin countries are viewed as similar in terms of...

  8. Chapter 4 Immigrant Welfare Receipt: Implications for Policy
    (pp. 66-93)
    Jennifer Van Hook

    The issue of immigrant welfare receipt has played and continues to play a major role in national debates over the need to reform immigration policy (Bean et al. 1997; Borjas 2002; Van Hook, Glick, and Bean 1999). As noted in chapter 1, discussions about immigration policy reform tend to revolve around three broad questions: How many and what kinds of immigrants come to the United States? What happens to them after they arrive? And what effects do they have on other residents of the country? Patterns of immigrant welfare receipt are relevant to all three of these issues. Some observers...

  9. Chapter 5 The New Immigrants and Theories of Incorporation
    (pp. 94-113)
    Susan Wierzbicki

    Just how rapidly the new immigrants—by which we mean post-1965 immigrants—are becoming part of the American mainstream has constituted one of the major research issues fueling debates in recent years about the need to reform U.S. immigration policy. The general process marking this transition has most often been called assimilation. During the latter third of the twentieth century critics have often argued that this term has normative connotations that imply immigrantsshouldbecome more like natives (see Brubaker 2001; Alba and Nee 1999; and Gans 1999b for discussions). This semantic controversy lies mostly outside the purview of this...

  10. Chapter 6 Immigrant Economic Incorporation
    (pp. 114-142)

    The extent to which the new immigrant groups are experiencing successful economic incorporation is one of the central issues driving current debates about the need to reform U.S. immigration policy. Political controversy about whether existing admissions policies should be changed is likely to intensify to the degree that immigrants are not experiencing positive economic incorporation, or are undergoing slower or more difficult incorporation processes than immigrants in the past. In recent years, the question of successful incorporation has also been raised in the case of the second generation. Attention has focused on the offspring of immigrants because it is the...

  11. Chapter 7 Linguistic Incorporation Among Immigrants
    (pp. 143-171)

    The social and cultural integration of immigrants and their children into American society is a critical issue for the immigrants, national descent groups, and American society. Theories concerning the social and cultural integration of national-origin groups in American society have largely focused on the language characteristics of immigrants as measures of the incompleteness of integration into a society firmly dominated by the English language and by English speakers. Speaking a non-English language has been assumed to attest to an attachment to a culturally defined group, and English skills have been viewed as a prerequisite for socioeconomic mobility. As noted in...

  12. Chapter 8 The Incorporation of Immigrants: Patterns of Marriage
    (pp. 172-198)

    The incorporation of immigrant groups into the mainstream of American life is a central element in the debates about immigration policy. Whether—and how rapidly—racial and ethnic groups who immigrate to the United States are incorporated into the social and cultural fabric of American society is a particularly important aspect of immigration. High levels of racial and ethnic intermarriage provide strong evidence of sociocultural incorporation because the familial relations between members of different racially or ethnically defined groups bespeaks the lack of barriers to social interaction between group members and the fading or acceptance of cultural differences. High levels...

  13. Chapter 9 The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration
    (pp. 199-223)

    In previous chapters we have focused on theory and research that help answer two of the three broad questions that, we suggested in chapter 1, drive most policy debates about immigration: What kinds of people immigrate to the United States? What happens to them after they arrive? In this and the next chapter we shift gears and focus on theory and research that can help answer the third broad question: What are the consequences of immigration for the United States and its residents? We focus in this chapter on the general aggregate economic and fiscal consequences of immigration, including an...

  14. Chapter 10 Immigration and Race-Ethnicity in the United States
    (pp. 224-249)
    Jennifer Lee

    Given the United States′ long and unfortunate experiences with racial exploitation and discrimination, an especially important topic involves the implications of immigration for race or ethnicity. This is true whether we are considering the consequences of the new immigration for the United States as a whole or for particular groups of native residents living in the country. As noted in chapter 2, the new immigration has increased considerably the racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. population. And as noted in the previous chapter, research on the general economic implications of immigration for African Americans has revealed that somewhat lower...

  15. Chapter 11 Conclusions: Diversity and Change in America
    (pp. 250-262)

    The evidence and arguments introduced in the previous chapters demonstrate that immigration has become a phenomenon of critical importance for American society. Recent annual levels of immigration are almost as high as, and in some years higher than, they have ever been. The national origins of immigrants have changed dramatically such that newcomers now swell the ranks of U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups. Unauthorized migration, predominantly Mexican in origin, continues largely unabated. These trends engender both optimism and pessimism. On the one hand, the economic boom of the United States in the latter half of the 1990s, which created...

  16. References
    (pp. 263-296)
  17. Index
    (pp. 297-312)