Are We Addressing the Right Issues?
Debates about immigration in the news media and among politicians often focus on “problems” that social scientists can easily dismiss as misguided or lacking in factual basis. These public debates and news reports also often missed as important topics that could profit from rigorous analysis, discussion, and good reporting. This chapter reviews two of these misguided issues—the supposed refusal of immigrants and their children to learn English and the fears of downward mobility among immigrant children. It also explores what it believes is a “missing issue”—the ways in which the children of immigrants may be doing much better than comparable native minorities. It highlights the value of comparative research in Europe and the United States on a topic that is neither misguided nor missing: what to do about the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. The chapter overviews research on patterns of socioeconomic mobility and integration among the adult children of immigrants to the United States.
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