How Normative Debates About Immigration Shape Analyses of the Assimilation Process for Second-Generation Youth: Lesson from Spanish Legacies

N. Iskander
Ethnic and Racial Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies. 41 (3) 484-491

In Spanish Legacies, Portes, Aparicio, and Haller offer the results of their longitudinal study on the assimilation of the children of immigrants in Spanish society. Thanks to their study design, which parallels the earlier Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study conducted by Portes and Rumbaut, the authors are able to compare assimilation trajectories in Spain with those of second-generation youth in the United States. This comparison raises important considerations about how immigration policy shapes assimilation processes. More centrally, the contrast between the cases invites a deeper consideration of normative questions that not only undergird immigration policy but also shape the assimilation experiences of the second generation. The juxtaposition of the two cases also elicits provocations about how the sociological theories about assimilation might have been different if they had been developed based on the Spanish, rather than the American, experience, and how those Spanish-inflected theories might support different directions of inquiry.

Wagner Faculty