Immigrant America Summary

Immigrant America

This second edition of IMMIGRANT AMERICA: A PORTRAIT by Alejandro Portes, Professor of Sociology and International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, and Ruben G. Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, addresses the changes in American society, immigration policy, and patterns of immigration since the first edition was completed in 1989. As a result of the Immigration Act of 1990, there has been an acceleration of immigration—the number of regular immigrant visas granted has increased by 40 percent over the number granted in the 1980’s—resulting in public resistance to immigration.

New data from the 1990 census and other sources since 1990 are included. The text, intended for a broad audience, is well written and well indexed, with fifty tables and figures, twelve pages of photographs, representing the diversity of background and orientation of different immigrant groups, and comprehensive chapter notes and references. Prefaces to both the first and second editions are included.

The authors propose to combat media cliches and stereotypes of immigrants by focusing on the adaption of the new immigrants from more than 100 countries and possessions, emphasizing in the first chapter, the diversity of their origins and significant differences in their experience in American society. Other chapters deal with different patterns of immigrant settlement, various strategies for upward economic mobility, the naturalization process, efforts to learn a new language and culture, and childrearing issues. Two new chapters in this edition discuss the new second generation of immigrants in America, and the implications of the new wave of immigration and political debate in the late 1990’s. The authors conclude that the wave of immigration will enhance the wealth and vitality of American society.