and Political Problems and
Prospects in New York
Robert C. Smith
What made me realize it? Well, my family, like most of my family from the girls' side, they like—[got] pregnant, have kids, and I don't want to go through that. … Half my friends are gone … like half that group is locked up, half of that group already has two or three kids. … And I don't wanna go through that.
Juana, now a college student, made these comments in 1999 to explain how she realized she was putting her future at risk and why she stopped cutting classes and started studying in high school. The choice that Juana made
This chapter was written while the author was a Fellow at the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University, in a program supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. It also draws on research and writing done with the support of the following institutions: the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Program in International Migration, with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the National Science Foundation (NSF), Sociology Program; the Barnard College Project on Migration and Diasporas; and the Barnard College Small Grants Program. The author very gratefully acknowledges these sources of support. Excellent research on the projects funded by NSF, Barnard, and SSRC was done by three graduate students, Sandra Lara, Sara Guerrero Rippberger, and Antonio Moreno; and several undergraduates: Agustin Vecino, Griscelda Perez, Carolina Perez, Lisa Peterson, Sandra Sandoval, Linda Rodriguez, Katie Graves, Brian Lucero, and Judit Vega. Errors of fact or interpretation in this article are mine alone. I also thank Nancy Foner for inviting me to contribute to this volume, and for the help of John Mollenkopf of City University of New York and Joseph Salvo of the New York City Department of City Planning in getting some of the census and Current Population Survey (U.S. Bureau of the Census, various years a, b) figures.