Concepts, Research, Policy
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 40: Latino Immigrants, Gender and Poverty in the United States
Cecilia Menjívar The foreign-born make up 40 per cent of the Latino population in the United States. Thus, instead of taking a broad look at the intersection of gender and poverty in the entire Latino population, I concentrate on the foreign-born, highlighting the case of Central Americans, among whom the foreign-born comprise 70 per cent of the population. I will underscore the central place of legal status in shaping the lives of these immigrants and what it might mean for their futures in the United States (US). Latin American-origin immigrants in the US, like contemporary immigrants around the world, face increasingly hostile environments in receiving countries, which affect deeply how they fare economically. Immigrants’ prospects for socio-economic advancement are intimately tied to this broader context of reception, and ‘making it’ economically depends only partially on individual motivations and abilities (Portes and Rumbaut, 2006). Historically, immigrants also encountered unfriendly environments that impinged on their economic advancement, but certain conditions coalesce today to make immigrant contexts of reception qualitatively different from those in the past. Technological improvements in travel have led to increased migrant mobility; migration flows have concentrated highly in regions and countries; economic crises have led to fewer opportunities for advancement for both native and immigrant populations; and publics in immigrant-receiving countries have felt threatened by images linking migrants with terrorists and drug smugglers and therefore their governments have been less inclined to extend rights and protection to foreigners. A particularly important factor in the context of reception that...
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