In the current immigration reform discourse, it’s easy to focus on first generation immigrants. Yet, it’s essential to also take into account of the fact that many of those immigrants settle down and eventually have families- U.S. born citizens who will and do have an impact on the social, economic and the political state of the nation.
According to the US Census, the United States’ total population is 313,914,040 (U.S. Census), and just Latinos and Asian Americans make up “about seven-in-ten of today’s adult immigrants and about half of today’s adult second generation” (Pew Social Trends: Second-generation America). Interestingly, these particular groups greatly parallel the socioeconomic state of the general U.S. adult population. In terms of education and income, they fare the same or better and fewer tend to live in poverty, compared to first generation immigrants. Furthermore, an additional 16 million children, 16 years and younger, of immigrant parents comprise the U.S. population, which will also fall into the same results.
Despite multiple barriers that immigrant parents face, such as learning a new language, health care access, and adaptation to a new culture, what I found encouraging is the level of progression that the second generation groups demonstrates. As a second generation immigrant myself, I find that my family’s background of hard work and persistence is one of my motivations to keep striving for my personal goals. At the same time, as part of this group, I believe we show a continuation of our nation’s history. That is the attainment of the American Dream, though the definition has evolved over time.