How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

For children of immigrants, can family trump opportunity?

Photo by Stephen Zacharias/Flickr (Creative Commons)


An intriguing post on the Being Latino website today points out, if unscientifically, the tug-of-war between family and career that pulls at some young Latinos - and which I suspect pulls at other children of immigrants, too.

In the post, contributor Orlando Rodriguez connects the dots between a Pew Research Center report from a couple of years ago titled "Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where's Home?" and Latino mobility, examining whether family ties hinder the sort of mobility that could lead to greater professional achievement.

According to the Pew report, U.S-born Latinos are "markedly more likely" than other Americans to have lived in only one state, with 72 percent doing so. When they do move, family reasons are an issue as well: Nearly half (48 percent) of the Latinos surveyed who moved said it was because their community was a good place to raise their children, compared to only a third or so of black and white Americans.

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Star-crossed: Love in a cross-status relationship

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A contributor to the Being Latino blog recently published a candid first-person essay about her relationship with her partner and the father of her child, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who was deported two years ago.

Nancy Sepulveda wrote:

That was two years and a thousand tears ago. Hours spent scavenging the Internet for immigration information. Wrestling with the idea of moving my children to a third-world country (Guatemala) and sacrificing reliable education and health-care systems, my own fledgling career, and the comparative safety of American life, to reunify our family. The heartache of knowing a separation of thousands of miles and a vicious border meant other romantic interests would inevitably be pursued. Our official breakup, and inability even now to stop the desperate I still love you’s whispered across endless coils of phone line.

I admit we played a role in creating our own tragedy. He chose to come here paperless and I “chose” to love him, and at every subsequent fork in the road we went the wrong way. Why didn’t we get married before he was picked up? I was a college student dependent on financial aid and didn’t want to jeopardize it by including his spousal income. I graduated two months before he was detained.

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