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End Of The Melting Pot

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Tejinder Ranu

Due Date: November 21, 2007

Professor: Jonathan Baker

After reading the article called “End of the melting Pot: The new wave of immigrants presents new challenges” by Ashley Pettus, I feel I have mixed reactions as to what the author is trying to convey by saying whether if it really is the end of the melting pot. United States is a country of Immigrants, where all cultures come and meet. Immigration is the act of relocating to another country or region, whether temporarily or permanently (Will). “Today an estimated 7 million or more people live in the United States with no legal documents” (Frieden). More than half of the total number of illegal immigrants who are here come from South America. In an article, Passel calculates, “Mexicans make up more than half of the undocumented immigrants, the total of about 5.3 million”. Significantly the Latino minority is one such which is undergoing mass mobilization. “It is predicted by 2050 the Latino minority is going to be the largest in number by overtaking the black minority group” (Winters 44). The new wave of immigrants definitely presents some challenges as the author says. The factors affecting the immigrants most are those of assimilation, economic condition and educational opportunity.

“Hispanic is a term denoting a derivation from Spain, its people and culture” (Wikipedia). I think that assimilation is one of the most important factors affecting the Hispanic people, specially from Mexico. Without getting involved in American lifestyle

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and learning to speak the English language, its impossible to be successful in the United

States. Assimilation is when immigrants are absorbed into a larger community. The region where it occurs is known as the melting pot. But this is not the case with Mexicans as Ashley Pettus explains. The reason being the use of Spanish language, and not learning the English language. The author as done a good comparison with the older assimilation pattern and the newer one. In the late 1890 to 1920, when estimated 18 million immigrants arrived to the United States from southern and eastern Europe, the population adjusted to the American life. In the article, who are we ? The challenges to Americas national identity, Huntington says the Hispanic immigrants pose the greatest threat to the country’s national cohesion, which I feel is not true. Around 1940’s many Hispanics began getting skilled jobs with good pay and benefits. “The percentage of well paid, unionized Hispanic labor, rose highly between 1950 and 1970” (Martinez 125). And I feel it is continuing to rise till the present time. But the assimilation among Mexican people is definitely low and needs to be a point of concern. The reason might being since most of them live in the southern states bordering their home country of Mexico. And since Spanish is the second language of United States, they do not feel the need to learn English. But assimilation is very important to strengthen the economic ties between various Spanish speaking countries and the United States.

Economic conditions help the immigrants in many ways. As the author states in the early 1920’s laws were passed to reduce the flow of undesirable foreigners into the united states. But after 1965, thanks to the Hart-Celler Immigration Reform Act, it

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opened the doors for immigration from Latin America and Asia. But it seems the new

wave of Immigrants face many challenges as compared to the early European immigrants. As the author states economic factors helped the early European immigrants as they benefited from well paying manufacturing jobs, leading to an increase in average weekly earnings between 1947 and 1973. But however the manufacturing industry era has changed to a service based economy. And this requires immigrants to be more educated and have a college degree. I agree with authors concern about a college degree for immigrants as professional skills are needed to succeed in today’s world.

Education is the key to a successful life in the United State. Early education history is pointed out by the author as being not that important. Eight grade was the limit as to what a student needed to be educated. And most of them did not even complete eight grade and dropped out midway. But the point is they still lived a middle class life in those times. And the focus of the schools were to develop hardworking Americans. But in today’s world the schools focus on a more skill oriented based education to meet the demands of the high tech global economy. But I feel English is very important to succeed. And most students do not complete high school and drop out midway. Latino immigrants have hurdles in getting higher education in the United States, because many of them are not frequent speakers of the English language, and don’t earn enough to pay for college. There is an example in the journal of Higher education: Jordan illustrates the story of Padilla, a 21 year old student of Princeton University. Dan-el Padilla beat poverty and homelessness to become a star student. The story of Padilla deeply explains the

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