New Chosen People, The

New Chosen People, The: Immigrants in the United States

Guillermina Jasso
Mark R. Rosenzweig
Copyright Date: 1990
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610443111
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  • Book Info
    New Chosen People, The
    Book Description:

    Stories of immigrant success have traditionally illustrated the basic principles of political and economic freedom in the United States. In reality, the presence and achievements of the foreign-born are the complex result of attitudes, choices, and decisions, not only of the immigrants themselves but also of the U.S. government and its native-born citizens.

    Based on census data and government administrative records,The New Chosen Peoplepresents a comprehensive picture of this interaction as the authors examine immigrant behavior in the United States. Jasso and Rosenzweig trace the factors that influence the immigrants' adjustment and achievements in a broad area of concerns-learning English, finding work and earning a living, and raising a family. The authors devote special attention to family relationships-kinship migration, family reunification, and the marriage market-and to the factors determining where immigrants choose to settle. Jasso and Rosenzweig also consider the situation of the largest recent groups of refugees-Cubans and Indochinese-who have entered the U.S. under very different rules than those governing the selection of immigrants from other countries. They also look at how the foreign-born population has changed over time, drawing comparisons between post-1960 immigrants and those of 1900 through 1910. For all foreign-born, the authors discuss the factors that influence decisions to naturalize and the economic and social consequences of achieving legal status.

    Jasso and Rosenzweig also detail the policy choices that affect the composition of the foreign-born population. What criteria determine who is eligible to enter the country? How do these regulations differ for each country of origin, and how have they changed over the years?The New Chosen Peopleemphasizes the determining influence of choice and selection on the foreign-born population of the United States. For policymakers and social scientists, the book provides a valuable assessment of the economic and social well-being of the nation and its newcomers.

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-311-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Charles F. Westoff

    The New Chosen Peopleis one of an ambitious series of volumes aimed at converting the vast statistical yield of the 1980 census into authoritative analyses of major changes and trends in American life. This series, “The Population of the United States in the 1980s,” represents an important episode in social science research and revives a long tradition of independent census analysis. First in 1930, and then again in 1950 and 1960, teams of social scientists worked with the U.S. Bureau of the Census to investigate significant social, economic, and demographic developments revealed by the decennial censuses. These census projects...

  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xvii-xxvii)
  6. List of Figures
    (pp. xxviii-xxxiv)
  7. List of Forms
    (pp. xxxv-xxxvi)
  8. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-25)

    The absorption of persons born outside the United States into full participation in U.S. society represents one of the enduring hallmarks of the United States as a country. Stories of immigrant success, for example, are used to illustrate the openness of opportunities in the United States that are derived from principles of political and economic freedom. But the foreign-born are also at times seen as competitors for scarce resources who may alter the cherished traditions and ways of life of native-born U.S. citizens—despite the relatively small proportion of foreign-born in the total U.S. population, never higher since 1900 than...

  9. 1 HOW THE CHOSEN ARE CHOSEN
    (pp. 26-97)

    The substantial changes in world conditions over the past several decades and the no less substantial shifts in the criteria used by the United States for the selection of immigrants are likely to have had a profound influence on the characteristics of newly entering cohorts of immigrants. Such “cohort effects” would manifest themselves in two ways: differences in the initial, at-entry, characteristics of immigrants and differences in the extent and pace of their progress in the United States. To understand the historical patterns of immigration and the experience of different immigrant groups it is thus necessary to understand immigration policies...

  10. 2 TAKING ROOT: NATURALIZATION
    (pp. 98-121)

    Admission to permanent resident alien status marks the beginning of the immigrant career—of the process of social, economic, and political integration into the United States. For some immigrants, permanent residence status is indeed “permanent,” lasting until death. For others, immigrant status is a transitory state culminating in either citizenship or emigration. In this chapter we examine naturalization and in the next chapter we consider emigration.

    There are two reasons to begin a study of immigrant behavior with what for many immigrants is the end point of their immigrant status. First, as we have stressed, most immigrants are sponsored by...

  11. 3 TAKING LEAVE: EMIGRATION
    (pp. 122-152)

    Not all immigrants take root. Some find the new country less congenial than envisioned prior to immigration or the old country more endearing than previously appreciated. Others may be marked by “wanderlust” and go on to experiment in different climes. Still others may never have intended to live permanently in the United States, obtaining an immigrant visa merely because it was the only way to live and work legally and freely in the United States. For still others, disruptive emergencies (e.g., medical difficulties of aged parents) may precipitate an extended “visit” in the origin country, which, if it occurs prior...

  12. 4 THE MARRIAGE MARKET AND THE MELTING POT
    (pp. 153-187)

    Among the rights that are considered basic in the United States is the right to marry almost any person of one’s choosing¹—including a foreigner—and to live with that person in the United States. Official U.S. commitment to the principle of free marital choice is reflected in its signing the Helsinki Accords of 1975 (which called for the easing of restrictions on marriages to foreigners and for the reunification of families) and in the relatively massive governmental efforts to secure the emigration from the Soviet Union (also a signatory of the Helsinki Accords) of approximately 100 “divided spouses.”² Perhaps...

  13. 5 FAMILY REUNIFICATION AND FAMILY STRUCTURE
    (pp. 188-211)

    The word “nepotism” has been used to describe the selection criteria of recent and current U.S. immigration laws. And, indeed, except for the skilled persons who enter as principals in the third- and sixth-preference categories—categories whose total number of visas, including visas for the spouses and minor children of the skilled principals, may not exceed 54,000 annually—all of the 270,000 numerically limited visas are, under current law, awarded on the basis of a kinship tie to a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States.¹ Moreover, in FYs 1981–1988 the number of third- and sixth-preference principals...

  14. 6 SPONSORSHIP, FAMILY REUNIFICATION, AND THE IMMIGRATION MULTIPLIER
    (pp. 212-236)

    As we have seen, for the overwhelming majority of persons around the world who desire to immigrate to the United States, the attainment of a legal immigrant visa depends on a kinship tie (of a certain kind) to a person already a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States. Over one third of all non-refugee/asylee adult immigrants achieve permanent residence as the spouses of U.S. citizens.¹ Eighty percent of all numerically limited visas are designated for relatives of citizens or permanent resident aliens;² and more than half of the remaining 20 percent are awarded to the spouses and...

  15. 7 IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S. ECONOMY
    (pp. 237-307)

    The economic status of new immigrants to the United States, their post-immigration economic progress, and their effects on the employment, earnings, and well-being of the native-born have been central concerns of both policymakers and researchers, almost to the exclusion of other aspects of immigrant experience. As we have seen, few immigrants are awarded a visa on the basis of their potential contributions to the economy; eligibility to immigrate is based most often on a kinship tie to a U.S. citizen. Yet the decision to immigrate is surely influenced by earnings prospects and/or experience in the United States.

    Despite the interest...

  16. 8 ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY AND THE LOCATIONAL CHOICES OF IMMIGRANTS
    (pp. 308-337)

    In the decade 1971-1980, over 25 percent of new legal immigrants were from countries whose official or dominant language is English.¹ In that same period, however, over 32 percent of legal immigrants originated in countries whose official or dominant language is Spanish.² The dominance of the Spanish language among recent immigrants has led to fears that, at least in certain parts of the United States, English could be displaced by Spanish as the local language. This possibility has raised concerns about the appropriate methods of teaching English in schools and has led to suggestions that English language skills become a...

  17. 9 FINDING REFUGE IN THE UNITED STATES
    (pp. 338-381)

    The classical view of immigration is that prospective migrants compare their own future well-being in the home country with that in another country, both forecasts conditioned by the information available to them. Subject to the laws on exit and entry, migrants make their choices to enter a particular country and, to improve their chances for success, pursue a particular route to immigration. Thus, a potential migrant may “shop” for a new country, much like a prospective tourist. Moreover, if dissatisfaction with the home country is strong, the migrant may apply for visas to several countries, subsequently going to whichever of...

  18. 10 THE IMMIGRANT’S LEGACY: INVESTING IN THE NEXT GENERATION
    (pp. 382-410)

    In Chapter 6 we examined how the characteristics and behavior of immigrants influence the size and composition of future immigrant flows through the family-reunification immigration multiplier; immigrants “reproduce” through the mechanisms created by immigration laws. Yet, even if all immigration were to cease, immigrants already in the United States would affect the future size and composition of the U.S. population throughnaturalincrease. The long-term effects of immigration depend, however, not only on the number of offspring of immigrants but on how these offspring differ, if at all, from those of the native-born. The children of the foreign-born are thus...

  19. 11 THE IMMIGRANTS OF THE 1980s: ASSESSING THE 1965–1980 REFORMS
    (pp. 411-428)

    Since the 1920s the criteria by which foreign-born persons may qualify for a U.S. legal immigrant visa have undergone a number of important changes, as outlined in Chapters 1 and 9. The last major alterations in this set of criteria were embodied in 1965 and 1976 legislation, which established the immigrant selection system that, with only minor changes, has been in effect since 1978. Although the 1980 census provides information on only a few of the foreign-born admitted under these latest immigration laws, our analysis of census data and of INS data pertaining to immigrants in the 1980s provides a...

  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 429-434)
  21. Name Index
    (pp. 435-436)
  22. Subject Index
    (pp. 437-460)