Immigration

In the article “Latinization of the Shenandoah,” we are told how this valley in western Virginia is becoming more and more “Latinized” as immigrants from Latin America continue to move into it. For instance, Harrisonburg was once 99% white, but now has one of the most diverse schools in the entire country, which is a drastic change in terms of demographics, where there are students from 64 different countries. This “Latinization” is forcing people to live in a changing world, and it is having perhaps the most drastic of a change in a region that was once, for all intents and purposes, completely white.

In the article “Perfectly American,” we look at the refugee experience and how they have a difficult time assimilating into American life, and how distinct yet similar their experiences are from immigrants. Over time, we also see differences in the refugee reflected in society through the way refugees have been either accepted or not by society, from how refugees from Communist countries were mostly accepted into American life vs. refugees today from Arab countries not being accepted by society. This change in society tells us that refugees will live successful lives if society allows them to, otherwise, they will have difficulties getting past the stigma of “the other.”

In “Defining Immigrant Newcomers,” the authors talk about the immigrant experience, specifically in Williamsburg, Virginia. What we see is a town that has lots of opportunities for immigrants to be successful in providing a better life for them, but they are also in an unaccepting community–by many, but not all–of people in Williamsburg, which makes it difficult for them to assimilate into American society. For instance, when looking at this hostile environment to immigrants, we see how people are hostile to those who do not speak English, or barely speak English, so if immigrants come from a non-English speaking country, they likely speak English as a second language so are open to attacks because of their difficulties with English.

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