NOVA and Immigration

This week we were asked to read three articles about immigration in Northern Virginia.

“Identity and Assimilation Among Young Ethiopian Immigrants in Metropolitan Washington”

Ethiopians have been immigrating into the United States in increasing numbers since the 1980s. In the article by Elizabeth Chacko, she examines the role of race and ethnicity in young Ethiopian immigrants. Chacko specifically examines how young immigrants “adopt different subject identities” based on where they are and depending on what benefits what they need most to support their sense of self. She highlights the importance that self-determination plays in the way that young Ethiopian immigrants develop and express their sense of identity. However, there are other extremely important factors that play into the identity that young Ethiopian immigrants adopt (socioeconomic status, community norms, religious institutions). The Ethiopian immigrants that Chacko studied expressed their self-identity in many different ways depending on the setting. However, the common themes of the factors that aided in the molding of these identities are “ethnic ties, racial hierarchy, and the dominant American culture.” Many young immigrants tend to feel torn between wanting to hold onto their ethnic identity while also wanting to fit into American society.

“Hybrid Sensibilities: Highly Skilled Asian Indians Negotiating Identity in Private and Public Spaces of Washington, DC”

This article, also written by Chacko, discusses the hardships that many first-generation immigrants from India have faced in assimilating into American culture. Many of the first-generation immigrants were of a higher socioeconomic status and expected to be able to transition into American society with relative ease. However, upon arriving in the United States, they were met with the complete opposite. First-generation Indian immigrants are often subjected to microaggressions and made to feel as if they are unworthy of participating in mainstream American culture in public spaces. The first-generation Indian immigrants believed that they would have been embraced by white, native-born Americans. However, that exact group subjected the Indian immigrants to marginalization and othering that was not anticipated.

“Feminised Financial Flows: How Gender Affects Remittances in Honduran-US Transnational Families”

In Allison Petrozziello’s article, she focuses on Honduran immigrants in Alexandria and the remittances that are transferred to their families back in Honduras. In addition to this, Petrozziello explores how these remittances impact other issues when dealing with immigration. Remittances are often perceived as a solution to poverty in Honduras. Petrozziello argues that remittances are not this desired solution. Instead, they place an undue burden on the family members that have immigrated and make it extremely difficult for those who have immigrated to obtain legal residency and well-paid employment, amongst others. Much of this burden tends to be placed on the women who immigrate into the United States. This has led the UN-INSTRAW to offer recommendations to form a better way of understanding immigration from a rights-based and gender perspective. These suggestions hope to prompt others to view immigration and migration from a similar standpoint with the end goal being to support families and make transnationalism a choice.

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