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Immigrant Families

Course Code

of 4
Immigrant Families (August 5)
For Exam:
2 unique process
A.Separation: long-distance usually leads to divorce (single mom/dad)
B.gender dynamics: harsh economic conditions much more likely to trap in longer poverty for new
comers, economic structure & union protection is rigid => also hard for well-educated people
esp. men => downward mobility -> earning power declined, no patriarchy any more -> domestic
abuse higher
Two waves (types) of immigrant families
I. 1st wave (100 years ago)
a)Mostly poor Europeans from rural areas immigrated to North America to look for job
b) Low education, similar cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds
c)Rapid industrialization allowed them to engaged in manual labor of blue collar work
(agriculture etc)
d) They were ranked differently according to race
II. 2nd wave (after WW2; 1960s)
a)Tried to recover from war (shortage in labor market in North America) = door is opened,
not limited to race, cultural backgrounds
b) Economic situation allowed more low-level service jobs & high professional jobs
(knowledge economy)
Diverse forms of immigrant families
Female-headed families: the Caribbean and the Vietnamese
I. Jobs are not much available for their husbands in home countries
II. Gender imbalance because of war = no husbands
Transnational families
Immigrant families across the border: the Mexican men and women as seasonal workers in the
U.S. and Canada, leaving their children taken care by relatives in the original country
Transnational mothering. e.g., the Philippine women alone immigrated as domestic servants
leaving their children and husbands
Parachute” children aged 8-17 and satellite homes in the North America among the East
Transitional families in Vancouver: only women and children
Return migrants: young and old generation to Asia (parents return to home country after
children become independent = largely due to cultural barrier // 2nd generation kids return to
get jobs)
Extended families
Expanded extended families among the Vietnamese immigrants
Co-resident groups among lone immigrants to copy with financial difficulties and social
isolation, often temporary.
Contributing factors to diverse family forms
Patterns and dynamics of families in the original countries
I.South Asians: husbands come firstbring their wives and kidsbring their parents
sponsor their siblings to come over => several process to bring a large family
Immigration policies, particularly the criteria for admission
Immigration process itself: takes time to adjust to new economic and cultural system (average of 7
Economic conditions in the homelands and the host countries
Demographics of immigrants: gender, age, education, occupation, and family status, and so on.
Interplay of three factors
Labor market conditions: both the macro and the micro (labor shortage contributes to immigration
Immigration policies: labor supply and state formation (reflection of economic conflicts)
Radicalization and racism: interest-based = both economic and cultural
The state and IF: three cases
Key concepts:
Ethnic culture, including family ideology and forms, is flexible and context-embedded
Migrants and immigrant: two statuses
The separation of labor force maintenance and labor force reproduction and renewal is widely used
as a strategy to reduce the labor wage and cost.
Changes in policy: education is much more valued => encourage professionals to come over
Three cases:
The state outlawed the nuclear family reunification and directly created coercive separation of
family members: Chinese migrant labors
The state-actively-assisted family immigration: Ukrainians
Transformation from migrant workers to immigrant families: Italians
The state and IFs in Australia
Australian Immigration policies
I.Apply differential selection policies to different groups in facilitating or obstructing family
II. Political economy of immigration labor and racism
Differential family assistance
I.Post-war assisted passage scheme and complete family units for European Immigrants
II. It takes decades to reconstruct families for Non-European Immigrants
The state and IF after the World War II
After WWII and before 1962, labor shortage was a big problem
Assistant Passage Loan to facilitate the immigration of the favored White” families to Canada
Group Movement Plan, a system of not free” labor migrant, forcefully separating immigrants
with their families at least one-year without a family wage
The state and IF
After 1960s
Farm workers (the Caribbean and Mexican men) and domestic servants (the Philippine women):
I.Separation from family members, low wage (not family wage), and social and sexual life are
controlled to prevent from forming families
The regulations changed for domestic servants in the 1982. Why?
I.Seasonal agriculture, but servants were year-around => pushed government to change the
Family Reunification Policies (1976)
I. The dependents and assisted relatives are considered as burdens
II. Economic consideration: linking the immigrants skills and training to the labor market;
health conditions
III. Racial/ethnic consideration: diversified origins of immigrants and its meaning
Assimilated or not?
New immigrants adjust to a new environment differently depends on their brain resources
The classic assimilation perspective
Cultural perspective and straight-line assimilation path
Cultural of poverty regards the economic failure as a result of keeping the old culture
The segmented assimilation perspective
Social, political and economic conditions in the host country are segmented
Three modes for immigrant integration
I.the classic assimilation mode
II.the downward mobility mode: middle classresist to assimilate and keep strong
ethnic/cultural background of their own = integrate into their own cultural community
in a new country
III. the “accommodation not assimilation mode
Familism as a survival strategy for upward social mobility, not cultural antecedent
Astronaut households
Astronaut families: a process of capital accumulation with a global reach
Separation and also divergence of the attitudes and outlook of husband and wife
Confucianism ethics, patriarchal structure, and a strong sense of filial piety: wife as the trailing
Womens transformation and their newly-gained independence
The dynamics of the divergence
1st stage: an escalation of traditional gender roles, an unequal distribution of household labor’ and
a weakening of power inside and outside the home
2nd stage: husbands offer financial support but have no daily control, therefore once women have got
more agencies, they got more chances to develop themselves and become more independent. In this
case, mens appearance becomes a burden and a check to the newly developed independence.
3rd stage: Gap between them: strangers to each other, strained and broken relations, extra-marital
affairs and break-down of marriage.