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The Impact of Welfare Reform on America's Newcomers
The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America’s collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society. Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy. Contributor Ron Haskins makes a case for welfare reform’s ultimate success but cautions that excluding noncitizen children (future workers) from benefits today will inevitably have serious repercussions for the American economy down the road. Michael Wishnie describes the implications of the law for equal protection of immigrants under the U.S. Constitution. The second part of the book focuses on empirical research regarding immigrants’ propensity to use benefits before the law passed, and immigrants’ use and hardship levels afterwards. Jennifer Van Hook and Frank Bean analyze immigrants’ benefit use before the law was passed in order to address the contested sociological theories that immigrants are inclined to welfare use and that it slows their assimilation. Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Everett Henderson track trends before and after welfare reform in legal immigrants’ use of the major federal benefit programs affected by the law. Leighton Ku looks specifically at trends in food stamps and Medicaid use among noncitizen children and adults and documents the declining health insurance coverage of noncitizen parents and children. Finally, Ariel Kalil and Danielle Crosby use longitudinal data from Chicago to examine the health of children in immigrant families that left welfare. Even though few states took the federal government’s invitation with the 1996 welfare reform law to completely freeze legal immigrants out of the social safety net, many of the law’s most far-reaching provisions remain in place and have significant implications for immigrants. Immigrants and Welfare takes a balanced look at the politics and history of immigrant access to safety-net supports and the ongoing impacts of welfare.
Undocumented Parents and Their Children
There are now nearly four million children born in the United States who have undocumented immigrant parents. In the current debates around immigration reform, policymakers often view immigrants as an economic or labor market problem to be solved, but the issue has a very real human dimension. Immigrant parents without legal status are raising their citizen children under stressful work and financial conditions, with the constant threat of discovery and deportation that may narrow social contacts and limit participation in public programs that might benefit their children. Immigrants Raising Citizens offers a compelling description of the everyday experiences of these parents, their very young children, and the consequences these experiences have on their children’s development. Immigrants Raising Citizens challenges conventional wisdom about undocumented immigrants, viewing them not as lawbreakers or victims, but as the parents of citizens whose adult productivity will be essential to the nation’s future. The book’s findings are based on data from a three-year study of 380 infants from Dominican, Mexican, Chinese, and African American families, which included in-depth interviews, in-home child assessments, and parent surveys. The book shows that undocumented parents share three sets of experiences that distinguish them from legal-status parents and may adversely influence their children’s development: avoidance of programs and authorities, isolated social networks, and poor work conditions. Fearing deportation, undocumented parents often avoid accessing valuable resources that could help their children’s development—such as access to public programs and agencies providing child care and food subsidies. At the same time, many of these parents are forced to interact with illegal entities such as smugglers or loan sharks out of financial necessity. Undocumented immigrants also tend to have fewer reliable social ties to assist with child care or share information on child-rearing. Compared to legal-status parents, undocumented parents experience significantly more exploitive work conditions, including long hours, inadequate pay and raises, few job benefits, and limited autonomy in job duties. These conditions can result in ongoing parental stress, economic hardship, and avoidance of center-based child care—which is directly correlated with early skill development in children. The result is poorly developed cognitive skills, recognizable in children as young as two years old, which can negatively impact their future school performance and, eventually, their job prospects. Immigrants Raising Citizens has important implications for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the structure of community services for immigrant families. In addition to low income and educational levels, undocumented parents experience hardships due to their status that have potentially lifelong consequences for their children. With nothing less than the future contributions of these children at stake, the book presents a rigorous and sobering argument that the price for ignoring this reality may be too high to pay.
Understanding the American Experience
The popular debate around contemporary U.S. immigration tends to conjure images of men waiting on the side of the road for construction jobs, working in kitchens or delis, driving taxis, and sending money to their wives and families in their home countries, while women are often left out of these pictures. Immigration and Women is a national portrait of immigrant women who live in the United States today, featuring the voices of these women as they describe their contributions to work, culture, and activism.
Through an examination of U.S. Census data and interviews with women across nationalities, we hear the poignant, humorous, hopeful, and defiant words of these women as they describe the often confusing terrain where they are starting new lives, creating architecture firms, building urban high-rises, caring for children, cleaning offices, producing creative works, and organizing for social change. Highlighting the gendered quality of the immigration process, Immigration and Women interrogates how human agency and societal structures interact within the intersecting social locations of gender and migration. The authors recommend changes for public policy to address the constraints these women face, insisting that new policy must be attentive to the diverse profile of today's immigrating woman: she is both potentially vulnerable to exploitative conditions and forging new avenues of societal leadership.
¿Sí se puede?
Crisis in Zimbabwe and its effects in Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia
Zimbabwe has cast a powerful regional and international shadow since it became independent in 1980 and more recently, through the crises of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The 2000s were a decade of combined political, economic and social crises in Zimbabwe following what had been a relatively successful twenty years of independence since 1980. The scale, depth and severity of the crises evolving since 2000 have been as dramatic as they have been unexpected. While there has been substantial coverage of the internal consequences of Zimbabweís crises less attention has been paid to its regional and cross-border consequences. In explaining the ongoing processes stemming from the crises, this book looks at three neighboring countries ñ Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia ñ to depict how, over time, they have experienced and interpreted events in Zimbabwe, how they have dealt with Zimbabweans entering their territories, and how they have or have not formulated policies and developed practices to cope with the arrival of new and mainly undocumented Zimbabwean immigrants.
The Children of Immigrants Come of Age
The United States is an immigrant nation—nowhere is the truth of this statement more evident than in its major cities. Immigrants and their children comprise nearly three-fifths of New York City’s population and even more of Miami and Los Angeles. But the United States is also a nation with entrenched racial divisions that are being complicated by the arrival of newcomers. While immigrant parents may often fear that their children will “disappear” into American mainstream society, leaving behind their ethnic ties, many experts fear that they won’t—evolving instead into a permanent unassimilated and underemployed underclass. Inheriting the City confronts these fears with evidence, reporting the results of a major study examining the social, cultural, political, and economic lives of today’s second generation in metropolitan New York, and showing how they fare relative to their first-generation parents and native-stock counterparts. Focused on New York but providing lessons for metropolitan areas across the country, Inheriting the City is a comprehensive analysis of how mass immigration is transforming life in America’s largest metropolitan area. The authors studied the young adult offspring of West Indian, Chinese, Dominican, South American, and Russian Jewish immigrants and compared them to blacks, whites, and Puerto Ricans with native-born parents. They find that today’s second generation is generally faring better than their parents, with Chinese and Russian Jewish young adults achieving the greatest education and economic advancement, beyond their first-generation parents and even beyond their native-white peers. Every second-generation group is doing at least marginally—and, in many cases, significantly—better than natives of the same racial group across several domains of life. Economically, each second-generation group earns as much or more than its native-born comparison group, especially African Americans and Puerto Ricans, who experience the most persistent disadvantage. Inheriting the City shows the children of immigrants can often take advantage of policies and programs that were designed for native-born minorities in the wake of the civil rights era. Indeed, the ability to choose elements from both immigrant and native-born cultures has produced, the authors argue, a second-generation advantage that catalyzes both upward mobility and an evolution of mainstream American culture. Inheriting the City leads the chorus of recent research indicating that we need not fear an immigrant underclass. Although racial discrimination and economic exclusion persist to varying degrees across all the groups studied, this absorbing book shows that the new generation is also beginning to ease the intransigence of U.S. racial categories. Adapting elements from their parents’ cultures as well as from their native-born peers, the children of immigrants are not only transforming the American city but also what it means to be American.
The Children of Immigrants in Turn-of-the-Century America
The 1960s are commonly considered to be the beginning of a distinct "teenage culture" in America. But did this highly visible era of free love and rock 'n' roll really mark the start of adolescent defiance? In Inventing Modern Adolescence Sarah E. Chinn follows the roots of American teenage identity further back, to the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. She argues that the concept of the "generation gap"-a stereotypical complaint against American teens-actually originated with the division between immigrant parents and their American-born or -raised children. Melding a uniquely urban immigrant sensibility with commercialized consumer culture and a youth-oriented ethos characterized by fun, leisure, and overt sexual behavior, these young people formed a new identity that provided the framework for today's concepts of teenage lifestyle.
Migration, Politics, and Ethnic Identity
A vivid exploration of ethnic identity and political mobility among Iranian immigrants and their descendants in Texas in the wake of the 1978–1979 revolution and its American aftermath, including heightened xenophobia after 9/11 and the response of the Bush administration.
Immigrants, Politics, and Society in the United States and Australia, 1815–1922
Irish Immigrants in New York City,
Linda Dowling Almeida
The story of one of the most visible groups of immigrants in the major city of immigrants in the last half of the 20th century.
offers a dynamic portrait of Irish New York, one that keeps reinventing itself under
-- Hasia Diner, New York University
"[Almeida's] close attention to changes in economics, culture, and politics on both sides of the Atlantic makes [this book] one of the more accomplished applications of the 'new social history' to a contemporary American ethnic group." -- Roger Daniels, University of Cincinnati
It is estimated that one in three New York City residents is an immigrant. No other American city has a population composed of so many different nationalities. Of these "foreign born," a relatively small percentage come directly from Ireland, but the Irish presence in the city -- and America -- is ubiquitous. In the 1990 census, Irish ancestry was claimed by over half a million New Yorkers and by 44 million nationwide. The Irish presence in popular American culture has also been highly visible.
Yet for all the attention given to Irish Americans, surprisingly little has been said about post--World War II immigrants. Almeida's research takes important steps toward understanding modern Irish immigration. Comparing 1950s Irish immigrants with the "New Irish" of the 1980s, Almeida provides insights into the evolution of the Irish American identity and addresses the role of the United States and Ireland in shaping it.
She finds, among other things, that social and economic progress in Ireland has heightened expectations for Irish immigrants. But at the same time they face greater challenges in gaining legal residence, a situation that has led the New Irish to reject many organizations that long supported previous generations of Irish immigrants in favor of new ones better-suited to their needs.
Linda Dowling Almeida, Adjunct Professor of History at New York University, has published articles on the "New Irish" in America and is a longtime member of the New York Irish History Roundtable. She also edited Volume 8 of the journal New York Irish History.
232 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, index, append.
cloth 0-253-33843-3 $35.00 s /