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Immigrant America

Immigrant America: A Portrait, Third edition. Revised, Expanded, and Updated

Alejandro Portes
Rubén G. Rumbaut
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 3
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pq07x
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  • Book Info
    Immigrant America
    Book Description:

    This third edition of the widely acclaimed classic has been thoroughly expanded and updated to reflect current demographic, economic, and political realities. Drawing on recent census data and other primary sources, Portes and Rumbaut have infused the entire text with new information and added a vivid array of new vignettes and illustrations. Recognized for its superb portrayal of immigration and immigrant lives in the United States, this book probes the dynamics of immigrant politics, examining questions of identity and loyalty among newcomers, and explores the psychological consequences of varying modes of migration and acculturation. The authors look at patterns of settlement in urban America, discuss the problems of English-language acquisition and bilingual education, explain how immigrants incorporate themselves into the American economy, and examine the trajectories of their children from adolescence to early adulthood. With a vital new chapter on religion—and fresh analyses of topics ranging from patterns of incarceration to the mobility of the second generation and the unintended consequences of public policies—this updated edition is indispensable for framing and informing issues that promise to be even more hotly and urgently contested as the subject moves to the center of national debate..

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94048-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Preface to the Third Edition
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  7. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  8. Acknowledgments for the Third Edition
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
    Alejandro Portes and Rubén G. Rumbaut
  9. Acknowledgments for the Second Edition
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  10. Acknowledgments for the First Edition
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxvi)
  11. 1 Nine Stories
    (pp. 1-11)

    After spending eleven days in jail for antigovernment activities, Remedios Díaz Oliver and her husband, Fausto, left Cuba in 1961. A graduate of two Havana business schools, she went to work as a bookkeeper for Richford Industries, a container distributor. Fausto found work at Bertram Yacht, located nearby; that meant the couple could manage with a single old car. Within a year, Remedios had been moved to Richford’s international division. Fausto took his two weeks’ vacation, and the couple traveled to Central America with a bag of Richford’s samples. They returned with $300,000 in orders from pharmaceutical companies in Honduras...

  12. 2 Who They Are and Why They Come
    (pp. 12-36)

    After a lapse of half a century, the United States has again become a country of immigration. In 1990, the foreign-born population reached 19.8 million, or 7.9 percent of the total. By 2005, the number had grown to 37 million, or 12.5 percent of the total. Although not yet reaching the situation a century ago, when immigrants accounted for 14.7 percent of the American population, that figure is being approached fast, while the impact of contemporary immigration is significant and growing. Numerous books and articles have called attention to this revival and sought its causes—first in a growing American...

  13. 3 Moving: Patterns of Immigrant Settlement and Spatial Mobility
    (pp. 37-66)

    In his 1926 studyMigration and Business Cycles, Harry Jerome concluded that the inflow of population was “on the whole dominated by conditions in the United States. The ‘pull’ is stronger than the push.”¹ By that time, the gradual integration of the world economy had advanced sufficiently to make many Europeans aware of economic opportunities on the other side of the Atlantic, so deliberate recruitment became unnecessary. The question remains, however, about the destination of these flows. Labor economists frequently write as if immigrants have perfect information about labor market conditions in the receiving country and adjust their locational decisions...

  14. 4 Making It in America: Occupational and Economic Adaptation
    (pp. 67-102)

    As we noted in chapter 2, a common perception of contemporary immigration is that it is predominantly a low-skilled labor flow and that its quality is declining over time. This perception not only is common among the public at large but has been given academic credibility as well. Some time ago, an economist described his version of the trend as follows:

    As one moves from one country to another . . . one begins to believe that there is something in common among jobs held by migrants in widely diverse geographic areas and very different historical periods: the jobs tend...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 103-116)
  16. 5 From Immigrants to Ethnics: Identity, Citizenship, and Political Participation
    (pp. 117-167)

    In 1916, Madison Grant, in a book calledThe Passing of the Great Race, deplored the “mongrelization” of America as the waves of Eastern and Southern European peasant immigrants threatened to overwhelm the great Anglo-Saxon traditions of the past. Grant minced no words: “The immigrant laborers are now breeding out their masters and killing by filth and by crowding as effectively as by the sword.”¹

    Exactly eighty-eight years afterThe Passing of the Great Race, the Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington sounded the same themes with reference to Mexican immigration. In his article “The Hispanic Challenge,” Huntington bemoaned the harm...

  17. 6 A Foreign World: Immigration, Mental Health, and Acculturation
    (pp. 168-204)

    These words could well have been spoken by turn-of-the-century immigrants whose harsh experiences in America were portrayed by William I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki inThe Polish Peasant in Europe andAmericaand later by Oscar Handlin inThe Uprooted.¹ But they are the words of two middle-aged Hmong refugees from Laos—illiterate and of peasant origins—reflecting on their situation in one of the largest cities in the United States. They arrived on the West Coast with their families in 1980, after spending five years in refugee camps in Thailand. The Hmong are a sizable group among the more...

  18. 7 Learning the Ropes: Language and Education
    (pp. 205-243)

    In 2005, the U.S. National Spelling Bee champ was a thirteen-year-old boy in a California public school, Anurag Kashyap, who beat 272 spellers from around the country after correctly spellingappoggiatura, a type of musical note. The next three finishers—Aliya Deri, Samir Patel, and Rajiv Tarigopula—were, like Anurag, children of Indian immigrants. It has become commonplace for children of immigrants to dominate this national English language competition, in particular those of Indian ancestry, who won the top prize in five of the previous seven years. When Indian-born Chicago schoolboy Balu Natarajan, who spoke Tamil at home, won the...

  19. 8 Growing Up American: The New Second Generation
    (pp. 244-284)

    Since Oscar Handlin noted that to write the history of immigrants in America is to write American history, the phrase has become de rigueur in any introduction to the subject. In reality, however, American history is not so much the history of its immigrants as of their descendants, for it is they who, as citizens and full participants in the culture, have had the heaviest role in the evolution of American society. In the previous chapters, we have examined the diversity of contemporary immigration, its settlement patterns and modes of incorporation into the American economy and polity, and aspects of...

  20. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 285-298)
  21. 9 Religion: The Enduring Presence
    (pp. 299-342)

    It’s 1:00 p.m. on a Sunday in 2005, and the Spanish-language mass in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Miami is about to begin. The devout keep arriving in large numbers, delaying the start of the ceremony. Despite the church being packed, the choir is feeble, numbering only five women and no men. Its weakness is more evident because they sing the chants alone, without the rest of the congregation joining in. When the time comes for the sermon in Spanish, the young Cuban American priest, Father Tomás, alludes vaguely to the gospel of the day but uses it...

  22. 10 Conclusion: Immigration and Public Policy
    (pp. 343-372)

    Periods of high immigration are invariably marked by a tide of nativist resistance that characterizes the waves of newcomers as a threat to the integrity of national culture and a source of decay of the qualities of the native population. Such pronouncements are issued both by crusading journalists and politicians and by academics who cloak it in the garb of scientific knowledge. The statement by President Roosevelt is exemplary of the genre. The spoof by anthropologist Ralph Linton is illustrative of how absurd those statements can be.

    By the beginning of a new millennium, one would have surmised that the...

  23. Notes
    (pp. 373-400)
  24. References
    (pp. 401-446)
  25. Index
    (pp. 447-460)