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Many are alarmed about these population trends and a segment of the U.S. population is experiencing socio-cultural anxiety. The complex nature of this topic requires analysis beyond the scope of this chapter. Suffice it to say for now that different interest groups have promoted and supported different interests at varying times in U.S. history (see Burns and Gimpel 2000). As we have illustrated in our analysis, over the last couple of decades we have seen the expansion of Latino immigrant settlements to points beyond the group’s traditional settlement areas. Given the expansion of the Latino population, the social opinions that form the context of reception for these immigrants, range from hostility to embracement. Many views have influenced attitudes towards immigrant populations and these attitudes have colored the canvas of American history and identity. The social integration of the Latino population will be influenced by how they are received. There may be adverse consequences to the integration of Latinos if they experience racism, discrimination, prejudice, and hostility in their new communities. It is likely that these new immigrants will encounter ill-will in many regions of the country and this will limit the accessibility of many social and material resources for new immigrants. Still, despite their long presence in the United States—especially in the case of persons of Mexican descent—many xenophobic attitudes are still projected onto them.

However the Latino population is looked upon, members of this population are critical to the future social and economic future of the United States. The advent of globalization is blurring many boundaries. Language, cultural, religious, and economic boundaries are being altered by the new developing transnationalization of capital and economic and labor market demands will continue to shift with globalization. Given projected demographic scenarios, the United States will have to rely increasingly on a Latino workforce.

In conclusion, the type of influence that the Latino population has on the United States depends in large part on how they are integrated—either in a constructive and welcoming fashion or in a marginalized and hostile fashion. If our educational system embraces Latinos, then we may have a Latino labor force that is adequately prepared to participate in the increasingly technological and global markets. Similarly, if Americans embrace multilingualism as a desirable cultural trait, then Spanish-speaking people may more easily be integrated to a host society that values the ability to speak many languages (see Golash-Boza 2005).

The increasing Latino presence in the U.S. will affect all societal institutions. This will be seen in the educational institution, where the population of students and educators will increasingly be Latino. In the economic institution, the producers and consumers of our goods and services will increasingly be Latinos. In the political institution, voters and political candidates will increasingly be Latinos. In the health institution, health providers, caretakers, and consumers will be increasingly Latinos. In the religious institution, religious adherents and leaders will be increasingly Latinos. The growth of the Latino population in the coming decades provides opportunities and challenges for these institutions.

References

Burns, P.,&Gimpel, J.G. (2000). Economic insecurity, prejudicial stereotypes, and public opinion on immigration policy. Political Science Quarterly, 115:201-225.

Chiricos, T., McEntire, R.,&Gertz, M. (2001). Perceived racial and ethnic composition of neighborhood and perceived risk of crime. Social Problems, 48:322-340.

Davila, A.,&Mora, M.T. (2000). English fluency of recent Latino immigrants to the United States in 1980 and 1990. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 48:369-389.

Golash-Boza, T. (2005). Assessing the advantages of bilingualism for the children of immigrants. International Migration Review, 39:721-753.

Hernandez-Leon, R.,&Zuniga, V. (2003). Mexican immigrant communities in the south and social capital: The case of Dalton, Georgia. Southern Rural Sociology, 19:20-45.

Richardson, C.,&Resendiz, R. (2006). On the edge of the law: Culture, labor, and deviance on the south Texas border . Austin:University of Texas Press.

Saenz, R.. (2004). Latinos and the changing face of America . New York and Washington, DC: Russell Sage Foundation and Population Reference Bureau.

Saenz, R., Donato, K.M., Gouveia, L.,&Torres, C. (2003). Latinos in the south: A glimpse of ongoing trends and research. Southern Rural Sociology, 19 (1):1-19.

Saenz, R., Morales, M.C.,&Ayala, M.I. (2004). United States: Immigration to the melting pot of the Americas. In M.I. Toro-Morn and M. Alicea (eds.), Migration and Immigration: A Global View . Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 211-32.

Rogelio Saenz is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, and Carlos Siordia is a graduate student with the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University.

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Source:  OpenStax, Immigration in the united states and spain: consideration for educational leaders. OpenStax CNX. Dec 20, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11150/1.1
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