Immigrants and the Community: Community Perspectives

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As related in our previous reports, the populations of many rural New York communities are becoming more ethnically diverse. This diversification became especially noticeable in the 1990s with the upsurge in Mexican migration. When agricultural production is found in or near communities, immigrants often first come there as farmworkers. As indicated in our previous report, our research has shown that after a fairly short time (less than 10 years), many of the workers leave seasonal farm employment for more steady work in agriculture or other industries. For these workers a departure from agricultural employment often does not mean that they leave the communities where they work. In fact, many of them told us they would like to settle here provided they can find work. The increasing tendency for Mexican immigrants to settle in the U.S. has been observed in many regions and in urban as well as rural areas. Diversifying communities are faced with a range of opportunities and challenges associated with this population change. However, this situation may be a source of confusion in communities that have only recently experienced increased immigrant settlement. The purpose of our study has been to document changes associated with the ethnic diversification of rural communities and to provide a factual foundation for community deliberations about how to capture opportunities and address challenges associated with this population change.
Description: Fourth in a series based on the research project "Integrating the Needs of Immigrant Workers and Rural Communities," which attempts to inform New York communities about the nature and consequences of increasing immigrant settlement.

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Cornell University


Immigrant workers; Rural communities; Latino immigrants; New York State; Immigrant social integration; Immigrant economic integration; Community perspectives on immigration


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