Underlying the recent debates over immigrants and immigration policy is the most unspoken belief that recent immigrants cannot or will not “melt” into U.S. society because of their Asian, Latin American, and Caribbean origins. A cross-town bus ride in almost any American city will bolster this belief – as riders encounter foreign languages, accents, styles of dress, etc. But the foreignness of foreign-born people fades with time and especially with the passing of generations. This presentation will use the U.S. Census Data to trace patterns of social and economic integration among the U.S. born children of immigrants in the 21st century and find out whether they are succeeding and/or assimilating the way children of 20th century immigrants did. This is a crucial question since they must help fill the shoes of retiring Baby Boomers. The success and assimilation of this “new second generation” will significantly influence the character and prosperity of our society going forward. In this way, we will spend the evening glimpsing our country’s future.
Amon Emeka is an associate professor of sociology at Skidmore College. He teaches courses on immigrant adaptation, racial inequality, demography, and statistical techniques for social scientists, and his latest research focuses on the experiences and achievements of African immigrants to the U.S. since 1965. His research and writings have been published in scholarly journals such as International Migration Review, Social Science History, and Social Science Research and cited in popular media outlets including The New York Times.