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Americas Salad Bowl

Kenneth Ray Fisher

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According to research by Lambert (2000), in New York City the 2000 census figures show that 40% of the people living in the five boroughs of the city were born in other countries (that is, are first generation immigrants), up from 28% in 1990. Foreign-born populations of nearly 30% in 2000 (U. S. Census Bureau, 2001) are prevalent in Los Angeles, and according to Deaux, (2006), these two cities alone account for one-third of the population of the United States. As a result of this steady influx of mostly Hispanics, Mexicans and Latinos, two highly significant questions relative to whom and how to civically integrate these groups into mainstream culture have developed. This paper will discuss whether institutions should be responsible or accountable for integrating these immigrants into America's communities and why? The discussion will conclude focusing on the extent new immigrants should rely on their own resources and abilities to create opportunity in their adopted countries and why?

Most research shows that political, educational and faith-based institutions invariably serve as the greatest socio-economic integrators of immigrants to the American way of life. In his article, “Citizenship begins at Home: A New Approach to the Civic Engagement of Immigrants, " Peter kerry (2003), emphasizes a resurgent need for renewed American institutional guidance for immigrant populations. While immigrants need specific rights and programmatic benefits, according to Skerry (2003), these would be of greatest help if provided within the context of communal and institutional settings, providing the structure and guidance we all need, to make intelligent use of the choices, whether as consumers or as citizens, that material resources and rights afford us.
This same author adds that, “to succeed in the United States, to make their way through the thicket of choices they and their children encounter, immigrants need some sort of institutional guidance.

Past research shows that University preparation of career professionals into scholar/practitioners improves their chances significantly of being selected as leaders in educational, social, political and faith-based institutions. These same leaders could serve as change agents to offer institutional guidance to immigrants throughout America. kerry's views are significant, because they can be interpreted as a necessity for community learners, political and social leaders, and faculty and administrators, to originate from many different cultural, racial and ethnic groups. Many of these scholars and leaders from these various immigrant groups can advocate for social, political and economic justice on behalf of their brothers and sisters that don't have a voice. Therefore, because of many University's emphasis on diversity of students, faculty and other staff, immigrant group members can provide this guidance. The greater American institutions’ staff reflects America's salad bowl, the greater opportunity for cultural specificity and the hope for more equitable service/resource delivery.

Immigrants should rely to the greater extent on their own resources. They should learn to create opportunities for themselves from the use of these resources. Historically, all minority groups have gained some stability by using self-help strategies and resources they brought with them to America. Currently, America's model minority group (Asian-Americans) is using their intellect and group cohesiveness to earn utmost respect from mainstream American institutions.

In the institution of education, immigrants can promote self-reliance through inner-group social solidarity in advocating for private schools in which members of their groups form a majority. In this way, though they are living in mainstream America where the dominant group is Euro-American, they may be able to retain important aspects of their cultural identity. Assimilation into the mainstream is still important, but not to the extreme of continuous group isolation and exploitation by all other mainstream groups.

Faith-based institutions are another area immigrants must use their resourcefulness and learn to support their community religious leaders and politicians with their own monies. In their short American history, thus far immigrants are off task concerning this. For example, in an article by Amy Frykholm (2007), she reports how the efforts of Luis Cortez', an immigrant church leader operates with very minute funding from members of his ethnic group. Frykholm (2007), points out that Cortez says he became aware that his network Hispanics Hope could not rely on Hispanic churches and denomination for money. Thus, Cortez through his own resourcefulness, (educational achievement and political awareness), has been able to tap into Bush's Faith-based initiative funding programs. According to Frykholm (2007), Cortez’ reports that they now have over 10,000 congregations from 27 denominations and adjudicator organization, Additionally, Cortez's organizations give out 3 million dollars in grants to these agencies every year, (Frykholm, 2007).

In conclusion, educational institutions, such as Walden University and many of the Ivy League schools as well as MIT, Stanford, John Hopkins etc. , must continue as the fore-runners in preparing minority men and women for leadership positions in their own communities. Finally, though there is a continued debate between U. S. Immigrants policy and immigration policy, the same clause in the U. S. Declaration of Independence concerning Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that certain U. S. citizen's enjoy, should only be applicable to all American Citizens. The improvements in educational, political, scientific, artistic, culturally plural and all Corporate Sectors Institutions and their guidance is one area that must be ameliorated at all levels of society. In the end, this improvement may act to ensure equality to all civically integrated American citizens.


Census Bureau (2001). Profile of the foreign-born population in the United States: 2000: December. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Commerce.

Deaux, K. (2006). A nation of immigrants: living our legacy. Journal of Social Issues, vol. 62, no. 3, 2006.

Fanning, K. (2005). today's immigrants. Junior Scholastic. March, 2005. U. S. Frykholm, A. (2007).

Esperanza U. S. A. Hispanic Hopes. Christian Century. August 2007.

Kerry, P. (2003). Citizenship begins at home: A new approach to civic integration of immigrants. The Responsive Community. Winter, 2003/04.

Lambert, B. (2000). 40 percent in New York born abroad. New York Times, July, 24, B 1, 5.

Kenneth R. Fisher


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