In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration

In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration

In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration

In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration

Synopsis

2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title!

According to the 2000 census, more than 10% of U.S. residents were foreign born; together with their American-born children, this group constitutes one fifth of the nation's population. What does this mass immigration mean for America? Leading immigration studies scholar, Nancy Foner, answers this question in her study of comparative immigration. Drawing on the rich history of American immigrants and current statistical and ethnographic data, In a New Land compares today's new immigrants with the past influxes of Europeans to the United States and across cities and regions within the United States. Foner looks at immigration across nation-states, and over different periods of time, offering a comprehensive assessment and analysis.

This original approach to the study of recent U.S. immigration focuses on race and ethnicity, gender, and transnational connections. Centering her analysis on the groups that have come through and significantly shaped New York City, Foner compares today's Latin American, Asian, and Caribbean newcomers with eastern and southern European immigrants a century ago and with immigrants in other major U.S. cities. Looking beyond the United States, Foner compares West Indian immigrants in New York with those in London. And, more generally, the book views the process of immigrants' integration in New York against other recent immigrant destinations in Europe.

Drawing on a wealth of historical and contemporary research, and written in a clear and lively style, In a New Land provides fresh insights into the dynamics of immigration today and the implications for where we are headed in the future.

Excerpt

By now, it is almost a cliché to say that immigration is transforming the United States. At the time of the last census in 2000, more than 10 percent of U.S. residents were foreign-born; together with their American-born children, this group constituted one-fifth of the nation's population. Not surprisingly, the massive recent immigration has given rise to a growing scholarly literature as academics in different disciplines try to grapple with the complexity of the subject.

This book is based on the premise that a comparative perspective can yield new insights into the nature and impact of the new wave of immigration to the United States. A product of my own long-standing engagement with comparative research, in this book I look at migration in terms of multiple dimensions. I focus on three types of comparisons: comparisons of migrants across cities or regions within the United States, across nation-states, and across different periods of time. The analysis centers on three main themes that are fundamental to understanding the migration process: race and ethnicity, gender, and transnational connections.

The constant, or base-line, in virtually all the comparisons is New York—America's quintessential immigrant city, that in 2000 was home to 2.9 million immigrants or 9 percent of the nation's foreign-born. This book compares today's Latin American, Asian, and Caribbean newcomers in New York City with eastern and southern European immigrants a century ago, as well as with immigrants in other major U.S. receiving cities in the current period. Looking beyond the United States, it compares the experiences of a major group in New York City—West Indians—with their cousins in London. More generally, it views the dynamics of immigration in the United States, in the past as well as present, against those in western Europe.

To some degree, of course, virtually all migration research is comparative. Any study that follows migrants from their country of origin to . . .

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