Immigrant and Refugee Experience Readings

Defining immigrant newcomers in new destinations: symbolic boundaries in Williamsburg, Virginia:
The reading introduces the main the idea of immigration issues by discussing immigration patterns and how they coincide with smaller communities. The study works to fill the literature gap by investigating the public reactions of new immigrant residents in a community as well as community changes due to the arrival of immigrants. The study uses a content analysis of over 500 texts to investigate public analysis of immigration issues. The reading identifies two patterns including constructing community and nation boundaries that shows how media recognizes local problems and events. The second pattern represents how the local boundaries establishes a “us” and “them” separation that views the differences of economic condition, demographics, and cultural understandings. The localized symbolic boundaries also produces a definition of “good” and “bad” immigrants. The “bad” immigrants are seen as illegal, dangerous and a threat to communities. The reading concludes by discussing the importance of understanding how symbolic and social boundaries are established and applied in community sites for immigrants. It is important to understand such boundaries to be able to fix such representations of immigrants small communities to create a more accepting societies.

Perfectly American: Constructing the Refugee Experience:
The reading introduces the topic of constructing the refugee experiences by explaining the responses of the receiving countries towards refugees. One response is the humanitarian response, which includes providing public and governmental support for refugees by seeing their individual experiences and understanding the dangers they are fleeing from. Humanitarian relief represents American decency towards refugees. The other response is the negative response from society towards refugees. The fear of refugees taking jobs that enforces economic competition and the fear of using limited resources like housing as well as the refugees increasing tax payers rates that supports public assistance usage. Refugees goes through the trauma of their dangerous home countries then they suffer from the negative views and experiences when resettled in America. The reading continues to talk about the refugee experience by focusing on Richmond, Virginia and discusses resettlement areas in relation to large metropolitan gateway cities in the U.S.. and the issues of resettlement of refugees and economic patterns. Refugee stories present Richmond as an economic and moral community due to these refugees having meaningful stories that shows strength and durability in the media. Although this paints an overall stereotyped view of all refugees in America instead of individual experiences of refugees.


The Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley:

The reading introduces Latinization as a way to document movement of Latinos. More specifically is refers to the demographic changes due to the settlement of Latinos. This also includes changes of services, housing, education, new cultural interests, and the incorporation of Spanish language in such communities. The reading uses the term Latinization to discuss the growth of Latinos in Harrisonburg, Virginia and focuses the conversation about the diversity of Latino immigrants in Harrisonburg . The reading discusses the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors of immigrant destinations in the U.S., which involves immigrants getting pushed out of their communities and pulled towards new specific locations. The ‘pull’ factors include immigrant labor for low wages and non-unionized industries. Social networks also draw people to certain areas. The reading concludes with discussing the policy implications that is designated from the historical process of Latinization.

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