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

1
Social Causes of
the Economic Success
of Immigrants

Overview

What has been called the "new immigration" has had a profound impact on all three countries that are traditional recipients of immigration--the United States, Canada, and Australia--but that impact has been very different in each case. The new immigration essentially is immigration from non-European sources. Such immigration has been numerically significant in the United States, Canada, and Australia in the past three decades, and it has raised similar issues in all three countries. Yet there have been very substantial differences in the place that the new immigrants occupy in the social and economic hierarchies of the three countries, and hence important differences in the impact that immigrants have had. What exactly are these differences? What are the reasons for them?

Some of the differences are due to external circumstances which affect immigrant flows, such as the U.S. border with Mexico and proximity to Latin America, the Canadian and Australian connections to the British Commonwealth, and Australia's Pacific location near emerging Asian economies. However, the thesis of this book is that to a much greater extent than has been recognized, the differences reflect fundamental characteristics intrinsic to the three societies. The impact of immigration is, in effect, a social product shaped by the three countries' various institutional structures. Furthermore, the relevant institutions are rapidly changing, partly in response to global economic change, and thus are creating forces which are changing the impact of immigration in all three countries.

The similarities among the issues raised in public debate about the "new immigration" in all three countries are striking. In each country, the issues have both economic dimensions and racial or cultural overtones, and the salience of these issues has grown. As the numbers of immigrants have increased, so too has concern over whether immigration is a

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