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Fresh Blood: The New American Immigrants / Edition 1

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Drawing on richly textured interviews conducted from one end of the country to the other, veteran journalist Sanford J. Ungar documents the real-life struggles and triumphs of America's newest immigrants and assesses their contributions. He finds that the self-chosen who arrive every day, most of them legally, still enrich our national character and experience and make invaluable political, economic, social, and even gastronomic contributions. Ungar takes us inside immigrant communities - the Koreans in Los Angeles, the Poles in Chicago, the Cubans in Miami, the Ethiopians in Washington - and shows how our melting pot is becoming a mosaic in which ethnic groups proudly maintain their identities and yet add to the common good. He also introduces us to remarkable individuals - an Indian hotel keeper in Pensacola, a Vietnamese samaritan in rural Ohio, a Syrian traditionalist in Houston, a Haitian community organizer in Boston - all grappling with what it means to become an American today. Here, too, are glimpses inside the little-known worlds of the undocumented Irish, competing to win visas in the federal lottery, and of the tiny community of Iranian Jewish immigrants from Mashad, fighting to preserve their uniqueness from the perceived threat of assimilation. Ranging the country's southern frontier, the author goes on night duty with Border Patrol agents in Texas and California, crosses from Tijuana with Mexicans trying to evade the law, and visits a sanctuary for illegal immigrants in Brownsville. He explores immigration crises on both coasts and examines the new anti-immigrant mood sweeping America, finally concluding that California's Proposition 187 is as un-American a law as any we have today.

Who are today's immigrants? Are they a drain on the country's resources, or do they add to our wealth and well-being? Taking readers inside immigrant communities across the nation, Ungar shows how the melting pot is becoming a salad bowl, where a rich mix of ethnic groups maintains their identities and contributes to American society.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Today's immigrants ``are transforming-and constantly improving-America,'' declares former All Things Considered host Ungar with measured optimism in this readable potpourri of reportage and analysis. He offers sketches of individuals and of crises like that in a California town overrun by Border Patrol agents. In contrast to the newly conventional wisdom, Ungar argues that today's immigrants of color are not significantly different from previous arrivals, though some of his reportage is thin-no, he reports, New York schools have not quite been rejuvenated by immigrants. Ungar thoughtfully untangles why Californians are far more nativist than Texans and offers intriguing snapshots of groups such as the Poles in Chicago and the often unhappy Koreans in Los Angeles. Warning against short-term political expediency, he recommends Mexican border controls that fluctuate with economic cycles, because most immigrants don't want to stay; a revamping of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, including a better-trained Border Patrol; and a recognition that most illegal immigrants merely overstay their visas. Not a full response to Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, but at least Ungar has actually talked with his subjects. (Oct.)
Anthony Day
"here is a book that every American interested in immigrtion will profit from reading." -- Los Angeles Times
Philip Kazinitz
"A fascinating and eminently readable tour of an America which, because of immigration, is changing before our eyes." -- New York Newsday
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252067020
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: ILLINI BOO
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader 9
Prologue: The Road to Tusice 11
Introduction 19
Pt. 1 Immigration Today 25
I We Call Ourselves Americans 29
II Life on the Frontlines of Immigration: Paradise Lost 53
III Life on the Frontlines of Immigration: Trouble on the Beach 71
Pt. 2 History and Reality 87
IV Coping with Diversity: The Magnitude and the Impact of Immigration Since World War II 91
V On the Border: Texas and California 115
Pt. 3 From Melting Pot to Mosaic 171
VI Manipulated by History: The Hmong 175
VII A Long Vacation: The Cubans 195
VIII "Taking the First Step to Heaven": The Poles 218
IX Getting Down to Business: The Ethiopians and the Eritreans 247
X Chosen to Live at the Flashpoint: The Koreans 273
XI "We Know Who We Are": The Mashadi 304
Pt. 4 The Politics of Immigration 331
XII Playing the Odds: The Visa Lottery and the Luck of the Irish 335
XIII The Backlash: Closing the Door to "The Country of Sunshine and Freedom" 349
XIV The Future of Immigration and the Nature of America: Rediscovering Our Values 366
Source Notes and Bibliographic References 374
Acknowledgments 381
Index 385
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