Some 16.6 million people nationwide live in mixed-status families, containing a combination of U.S. citizens, residents, and undocumented immigrants. U.S. immigration governance has become an almost daily news headline. Yet even in the absence of federal immigration reform over the last twenty years, existing policies and practices have already been profoundly impacting these family units.
Based on ethnographic fieldwork in San Diego over more than a decade, Border Brokers documents the continuing deleterious effects of U.S. immigration policies and enforcement practices on a group of now young adults and their families. In the first book-length longitudinal study of mixed-status families, Christina M. Getrich provides an on-the-ground portrayal of these young adults’ lives from their own perspectives and in their own words.
More importantly, Getrich identifies how these individuals have developed resiliency and agency beginning in their teens to improve circumstances for immigrant communities. Despite the significant constraints their families face, these children have emerged into adulthood as grounded and skilled brokers who effectively use their local knowledge bases, life skills honed in their families, and transborder competencies. Refuting the notion of their failure to assimilate, she highlights the mature, engaged citizenship they model as they transition to adulthood to be perhaps their most enduring contribution to creating a better U.S. society.
An accessible ethnography rooted in the everyday, this book portrays the complexity of life in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It offers important insights for anthropologists, educators, policy-makers, and activists working on immigration and social justice issues.
“My father bought me from the council for 365 francs,” recalls the narrator in Monica Cantieni’s novel The Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons. She’s a young girl, an immigrant to Switzerland whose adoption is yet to be finalized. When she finally moves into her new home with her new family, she recounts her days in the orphanage and how starkly different her life is now. Her new community speaks German, a language foreign to her, and she collects words and phrases in matchboxes. Though her relationship with her adoptive parents is strained, she bonds with her adoptive grandfather Tat, and together they create the eponymous “Encyclopaedia of Good Reasons.”
Set in the time of the crucial 1970 Swiss referendum on immigration, Monica Cantieni introduces us to a host of colorful characters who struggle to make Switzerland their home: Eli, the Spanish bricklayer; Toni, the Italian factory worker with movie star looks; Madame Jelisaweta, the Yugoslav hairdresser; and Milena, the mysterious girl in the wardrobe. This is a book with a very warm heart, and rarely has a young girl’s narrative been at once so uproariously hilarious and so deeply moving.
In a developing nation like the Philippines, many mothers provide for their families by traveling to a foreign country to care for someone else’s. Families Apart focuses on Filipino overseas workers in Canada to reveal what such arrangements mean for families on both sides of the global divide.
The outcome of Geraldine Pratt’s collaboration with the Philippine Women Centre of British Columbia, this study documents the difficulties of family separation and the problems that children have when they reunite with their mothers in Vancouver. Aimed at those who have lived this experience, those who directly benefit from it, and those who simply stand by and watch, Families Apart shows how Filipino migrant domestic workers—often mothers themselves—are caught between competing neoliberal policies of sending and receiving countries and how, rather than paying rich returns, their ambitions as migrants often result in social and economic exclusion for themselves and for their children. This argument takes shape as an open-ended series of encounters, moving between a singular academic voice and the “we” of various research collaborations, between Vancouver and the Philippines, and between genres of “evidence-based” social scientific research, personal testimony, theatrical performance, and nonfictional narrative writing.
Through these experiments with different modes of storytelling, Pratt seeks to transform frameworks of perception, to create and collect sympathetic witnesses—in short, to promote a wide-ranging public discussion and debate about a massive worldwide shift in family (and nonfamily) relations of intimacy and care.
During the past ten years, legal and political changes in the United States have dramatically altered the legalization process for millions of undocumented immigrants and their families. Faced with fewer legalization options, immigrants without legal status and their supporters have organized around the concept of the family as a political subject—a political subject with its rights violated by immigration laws.
Drawing upon the idea of the “impossible activism” of undocumented immigrants, Amalia Pallares argues that those without legal status defy this “impossible” context by relying on the politicization of the family to challenge justice within contemporary immigration law. The culmination of a seven-year-long ethnography of undocumented immigrants and their families in Chicago, as well as national immigrant politics,Family Activism examines the three ways in which the family has become politically significant: as a political subject, as a frame for immigrant rights activism, and as a symbol of racial subordination and resistance.
By analyzing grassroots campaigns, churches and interfaith coalitions, immigrant rights movements, and immigration legislation, Pallares challenges the traditional familial idea, ultimately reframing the family as a site of political struggle and as a basis for mobilization in immigrant communities.
The family lives of immigrants and ethnic minority populations have become central to arguments about the right and wrong ways of living in multicultural societies. While the characteristic cultural practices of such families have long been scrutinized by the media and policy makers, these groups themselves are beginning to reflect on how to manage their family relationships in a world where migration is a transnational piece of the pluralized global puzzle. Exploring case studies from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Australia, The Family in Question explores how those in public policy often dangerously reflect the popular imagination, xenophobically stereotyping immigrants and their families, rather than recognizing the complex changes taking place within the global immigrant community.
In the border shantytown of Ysleta, Mexican immigrants Pilar and Cuauhtémoc Martínez strive to teach their four children to forsake the drugs and gangs of their neighborhood. The family’s hardscrabble origins are just the beginning of this sweeping new novel from Sergio Troncoso.
Spanning four decades, this is a story of a family’s struggle to become American and yet not be pulled apart by a maelstrom of cultural forces. As a young adult, daughter Julieta is disenchanted with Catholicism and converts to Islam. Youngest son Ismael, always the bookworm, is accepted to Harvard but feels out of place in the Northeast where he meets and marries a Jewish woman. The other boys—Marcos and Francisco—toil in their father’s old apartment buildings, serving as the cheap labor to fuel the family’s rise to the middle class. Over time, Francisco isolates himself in El Paso while Marcos eventually leaves to become a teacher, but then returns, struggling with a deep bitterness about his work and marriage. Through it all, Pilar clings to the idea of her family and tries to hold it together as her husband’s health begins to fail.
This backdrop is then shaken to its core by the historic events of 2001 in New York City. The aftermath sends shockwaves through this newly American family. Bitter conflicts erupt between siblings and the physical and cultural spaces between them threaten to tear them apart. Will their shared history and once-common dreams be enough to hold together a family from Ysleta, this wicked patch of dust?
Family-related migration is moving to the center of political debates on migration, integration, and multiculturalism in Europe. Still, strands of academic research on family migrations and migrant families remain separate from—and sometimes ignorant of—each other. This volume seeks to bridge the disciplinary divide. Collectively, the authors address the need to better understand the diversity of family-related migration and its resulting family forms and practices, to question simplistic assumptions about migrant families in public discourse, to study family migration from a mix of disciplinary perspectives, and to acknowledge the state’s role in shaping family-related migration, practices, and lives.
This collection explores how Western countries have historically distinguished between categories of migrants—such as labor, refugee, family, and postcolonial migrants. Covering France, the United States, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark, the contributors explain how concepts such as “refugee,” “family,” and “difference” have been defined through policy and public debate. Tightly intertwined, these definitions are continuously changing with the economic and geopolitical climate, as well as in relation to migrants’ gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and countries of destination and origin.
Land of Milk and Money tells the story of the Francisco family, Portuguese immigrants who build a prosperous California dairy farm. With their growing success, plans to return to the Old Country fall by the wayside, and the legacy of the older generation becomes a source of contention among descendants competing to inherit herds of cattle and tracts of farmland. As matriarch, Teresa had devoted her life to keeping the peace in her big family. But when she dies long-simmering resentments and feuds burst into the open—and into the courtroom. Teresa, however, had seen it all coming, and her will contains a few surprises.
This ethical and poetic ethnography analyses the upheavals to gender roles and marital relationships brought about by Somali refugee migration to the UK. Unmoored from the socio-cultural norms that made them men and women, being a refugee is described as making "everything" feel "different, mixed up, upside down." Marriage, Gender and Refugee Migration details how Somali gendered identities are contested, negotiated, and (re)produced within a framework of religious and politico-national discourses, finding that the most significant catalysts for challenging and changing harmful gender practices are a combination of the welfare system and Islamic praxis. Described as “an important and urgent monograph," this book will be a key text relevant to scholars of migration, transnational families, personal life, and gender. Written in a beautiful and accessible style, the book voices the participants with respect and compassion, and is also recommended for scholars of qualitative social research methods.
The massive scale and complexity of international migration today tends to obscure the nuanced ways migrant families seek a sense of belonging. In this book, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg takes readers back and forth between Cameroon and Germany to explore how migrant mothers—through the careful and at times difficult management of relationships—juggle belonging in multiple places at once: their new country, their old country, and the diasporic community that bridges them.
Feldman-Savelsberg introduces readers to several Cameroonian mothers, each with her own unique history, concerns, and voice. Through scenes of their lives—at a hometown association’s year-end party, a celebration for a new baby, a visit to the Foreigners’ Office, and many others—as well as the stories they tell one another, Feldman-Savelsberg enlivens our thinking about migrants’ lives and the networks and repertoires that they draw on to find stability and, ultimately, belonging. Placing women’s individual voices within international social contexts, this book unveils new, intimate links between the geographical and the generational as they intersect in the dreams, frustrations, uncertainties, and resolve of strong women holding families together across continents.
Redefining Multicultural Families in South Korea provides an in-depth look at the lives of families in Korea that include immigrants. Ten original chapters in this volume, written by scholars in multiple social science disciplines and covering different methodological approaches, aim to reinvigorate contemporary discussions about these multicultural families. Specially, the volume expands the scope of “multicultural families” by examining the diverse configurations of families with immigrants who crossed the Korean border during and after the 1990s, such as the families of undocumented migrant workers, divorced marriage immigrants, and the families of Korean women with Muslim immigrant husbands. Second, instead of looking at immigrants as newcomers, the volume takes a discursive turn, viewing them as settlers or first-generation immigrants in Korea whose post-migration lives have evolved and whose membership in Korean society has matured, by examining immigrants’ identities, need for political representation, their fights through the court system, and the aspirations of second-generation immigrants.
Tiger Mom. Asian patriarchy. Model minority children. Generation gap. The many images used to describe the prototypical Asian family have given rise to two versions of the Asian immigrant family myth. The first celebrates Asian families for upholding the traditional heteronormative ideal of the “normal (white) American family” based on a hard-working male breadwinner and a devoted wife and mother who raises obedient children. The other demonizes Asian families around these very same cultural values by highlighting the dangers of excessive parenting, oppressive hierarchies, and emotionless pragmatism in Asian cultures.
Saving Face cuts through these myths, offering a more nuanced portrait of Asian immigrant families in a changing world as recalled by the people who lived them first-hand: the grown children of Chinese and Korean immigrants. Drawing on extensive interviews, sociologist Angie Y. Chung examines how these second-generation children negotiate the complex and conflicted feelings they have toward their family responsibilities and upbringing. Although they know little about their parents’ lives, she reveals how Korean and Chinese Americans assemble fragments of their childhood memories, kinship narratives, and racial myths to make sense of their family experiences. However, Chung also finds that these adaptive strategies come at a considerable social and psychological cost and do less to reconcile the social stresses that minority immigrant families endure today.
Saving Face not only gives readers a new appreciation for the often painful generation gap between immigrants and their children, it also reveals the love, empathy, and communication strategies families use to help bridge those rifts.
Kalita, S. Mitra Rutgers University Press, 2003 Library of Congress F142.M6K35 2003 | Dewey Decimal 929.208991411073
Winner of the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Book Award for Popular Non-Fiction
From movie theaters showing the songs and gyrations of “Bollywood” to valedictorians named Patel and Shah, signs are everywhere that Middlesex County, New Jersey is home to one of the largest Indian populations in the world outside India. By tracing the migration of three families, this book delves into how immigration has altered the American suburb, and how the suburb, in turn, has altered the immigrant.
In this updated edition, journalist S. Mitra Kalita shows that although the reception from long-time residents has not been entirely welcoming, Indians have come to achieve economic success and their desire for political and social parity continues to grow stronger. She traces the evolution of the suburb from a destination for new arrivals to a launching pad for them.
In the late nineteenth century, tourists descended upon Edison to gawk at its Christmas lights displays. Today, thousands of Indians from all over the United States arrive in the same bedroom community to celebrate their own festivals of lights and colors. Suburban Sahibs attempts to answer the question of how and why they arrived, and offers a window into what America has become: a nation of suburbs as well as a nation of immigrants.
The coveted “Made in Italy” label calls to mind visions of nimble-fingered Italian tailors lovingly sewing elegant, high-end clothing. The phrase evokes a sense of authenticity, heritage, and rustic charm. Yet, as Elizabeth L. Krause uncovers in Tight Knit, Chinese migrants are the ones sewing “Made in Italy” labels into low-cost items for a thriving fast-fashion industry—all the while adding new patterns to the social fabric of Italy’s iconic industry.
Krause offers a revelatory look into how families involved in the fashion industry are coping with globalization based on longterm research in Prato, the historic hub of textile production in the heart of metropolitan Tuscany. She brings to the fore the tensions—over value, money, beauty, family, care, and belonging—that are reaching a boiling point as the country struggles to deal with the same migration pressures that are triggering backlash all over Europe and North America. Tight Knit tells a fascinating story about the heterogeneity of contemporary capitalism that will interest social scientists, immigration experts, and anyone curious about how globalization is changing the most basic of human conditions—making a living and making a life.
Through family interviews, original photographs, and national records, Beatrice Loftus McKenzie traces the many lives of a resilient multigenerational family whose experiences parallel the complicated relationship between America and China in the twentieth century. In the early 1900s, Charles Wong moved from Guangdong Province to the United States and opened the Nan King Lo Restaurant in Beloit, Wisconsin. Soon after, his wife Yee Shee joined him to build the "Chop House" into a local institution and start a family. When the Great Depression hit, the Wongs shared what they had with their neighbors. In 1938, Charles's tragic murder left Yee Shee to raise their seven children—ages one through fourteen—on her own. Rather than return to family property in Hong Kong, she and her children stayed in Beloit, buoyed by the friendships they had forged during the worst parts of the 1930s.
The Wongs thrived in Beloit despite facing racism and classism, embracing wartime opportunities, education, love, and careers within the U. S. McKenzie's collaboration with descendent Mary Wong Palmer reveals a poignant story of Chinese immigrant life in the Upper Midwest that adds a much-needed Wisconsin perspective to existing literature by and about Asian Americans.