unit 3 - Schaefer ch. 4 Two very different experiences of...

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Schaefer ch. 4 Two very different experiences of coming of age in the United States point to the different lives of immigrants in the United States. Growing up in Pennington, New Jersey, Pareha Ahmed watched Bollywood videos and enthusiastically attended with her parents the annual Pakistan Independence Day Parade in New York City. By middle school, such outward expressions of her Pakistani heritage had become uncool. She tried to fit in by dying her hair blond, wearing hazel contact lenses, and even avoiding home-cooked foods that might give her a distinct odor. IN college she began to embrace her heritage and the diversity of cultures of her fellow students. Now 23, she gets excited about not only celebrating her Pakistani heritage’s special days but those of her non-Asian friends such as the Islamic holiday Id- al-Fitr and Christmas- occasions never celebrated in her family’s home. Fernando Fernandez Jr., of Gila Bend, Arizona, speaks with pride how his father gained legal entry to the United States more than fifty years ago. Three years old at the time, Fernandez became a citizen and I snow married with two children. While holding down two jobs- one as a purchasing agent at a nearby Air Foce base and the other as a janitor- he has sought to sponsor his aunt and her son to come to the United States legally. Several years and after submitting lots of documents, they are here now. He’s financially responsible for them, and therefore they cannot seek public assistance or government medical assistance. Pondering the presence around him of many illegal immigrants, he sees some unfairness but does not regret the trouble he and his father went to give them security in a new country. These dramas being played out in Arizona and Pennsylvania illustrate the themes in immigration today. Immigrant labor is needed, but transition can be difficult, even if for immigrants individually it ultimately means a better life economically. For the next generation it gets a little easier and, for some, perhaps too easy as they begin to forget their family’s heritage. Many come legally, applying for immigrant visas, but others enter illegally. In the United States we may not like lawbreakers, but often we seek services and low-priced products made by people who come here illegally. How do we control this immigration without violating the principle of free movement within the nation? How do we decide who enters? And how do we treat those who come here either legally or illegally? The diversity of ethnic and racial backgrounds of Americans today is the living legacy of immigration. Except for descendants of Native Americans or of Africans brought her enslaved, today’s population is entirely the product of people who chose to leave familiar place to come to a new country. The social forces that cause people to emigrate are complex.
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course SOC 210 taught by Professor Koven during the Spring '08 term at University of Louisville.

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unit 3 - Schaefer ch. 4 Two very different experiences of...

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