Warmth of the Welcome: The Social Causes of Economic Success for Immigrants in Different Nations and Cities

By Jeffrey G. Reitz | Go to book overview

ami by 1.2 years, and consistent with a community size effect. On the other hand, New York Cubans are a small group, and New York Cubans are no better educated than those in Miami. Other factors must play a role in New York.


Conclusions

The findings of this chapter suggest that policy is important but is only one part of the explanation for the different entry-level status of immigrants in U.S., Canadian, and Australian cities. A lack of occupational selectivity and a greater orientation toward family reunification in U.S. immigration policy compared to Canada and Australia may help explain the lower entry-level earnings of immigrant groups in the United States, particularly in certain urban areas. An examination of policy content shows that immigration in Canada and Australia is intended to be more carefully regulated than in the United States, but the regulation is oriented toward occupational selectivity more than toward skill selectivity. This fits with the institutional environment of immigration policy in the three countries. There is no mandate in Canada and Australia for an immigration policy which would be expected to select immigrants more highly educated than immigrants to the United States. The data on the educational levels of immigrants in the 1970s are fully consistent with this policy aspect--educational levels are higher in the United States for every significant origin category except Hispanics.

Possible effects of immigration policy in directing immigrants to certain areas on a skill-selective basis are noteworthy, however. The most significant effect of the U.S. emphasis on family reunification on immigrant entrance status may be that family networks bear upon the settlement process. Less-educated family-class immigrants may be more likely to utilize these networks. Occupationally selected immigrants, more numerous in Canada and Australia, may have fewer networks of contact, and intended area of settlement is a formal selection criterion in itself. In this way, immigration policy differences may affect the impact of immigrants on particular urban areas within countries.

Differences in immigration policy reflect other differences in institutional and cultural contexts, and these other differences may have a direct impact on immigrants and their entry-level status. The significance of these direct effects is considered in the following three chapters.

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