Latin American Immigration
Pre-reading: Explain the word “Spanglish”.
The majority of immigrants today come from Latin America and Southeast Asia, with Hispanics as the fastest growing ethnic group. About 800,000 immigrants enter legally, and in addition, thousands cross the border from Mexico illegally. Some of these are nicknamed “wetbacks” (this is a derogatory term), because they swim across the Rio Grande. The illegal immigrants are often very poor, and because they have no rights as citizens they are easy victims for employers who seek cheap labor.
Like most other immigrants, Hispanics are assimilating into the American culture. A high percentage of their children speak English, even at home. Very few speak only Spanish. Florida, especially Miami, is an exception. Here, Spanish is becoming the first language for a large number of inhabitants.
Tasks and Activities
Discuss Life Along La Linea
The long border between the United States and Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous borders in the world. The presentation, Life Along "La Linea", gives a portrait of the complexities of life along the U.S. - Mexican border. These complexities are at the forefront of a growing debate over U.S. immigration and border security.
- What is the Mexican nickname of the border?
- What makes it so attractive for Mexicans to cross the border?
- Mexico borders four American states. Which?
- How many people cross the border each year legally and illegally?
- Why is the border controversial?
- What is implied in the statement that “Fortunes are made overground and underground”?
- How many illegal immigrants in the USA are of Mexican descent?
- Discuss the complexities of life along the U.S. - Mexican border as presented in Life Along "La Linea". Do you think the building of a wall or the passing of stricter immigration laws will make a difference?
- Write a newspaper article about the complexities of life along the U.S.-Mexican border. See .
- You are interviewing illegal immigrants for The Washington Post. Write the interview. Include questions such as how they came here, why they came here, where they live and what they do for a living.
- You have just immigrated to the U.S. Write a letter to your family back home telling them about your new life.