Enrique's Journey Questions and Answers
by Sonia Nazario

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How is the current wave of immigration different from past waves?

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As Nazario makes clear in the prologue to Enrique's Journey, at the time of writing, the United States was experiencing the largest wave of immigration in its history, with nearly a million legal additional newcomers arriving each year. On top of that, 700,000 illegal immigrants enter the country annually.

All waves of mass immigration, both legal and illegal, transform the country, and this wave is no different. The vast influx of immigrants, many coming from Latin America, has fundamentally changed the demographic make-up of the United States, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

The current wave of immigration to the United States is different to previous ones in that it's no longer just fathers who migrate to the country but single mothers too. This is a direct consequence of the breakdown of traditional family structures in Latin America. Whereas previously children would be left in the care of mothers while their husbands emigrated, now children are left by their single mothers with grandparents, other relatives, or neighbors.

The collapse of the traditional family unit in Latin America has left many single mothers unable to provide for their children. So they emigrate to the United States, where many of them find work as nannies and housecleaners.

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