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Don't stereotype all immigrants

By David Rahni, Pleasantville (opinion letter to The Journal News)

Since I am a naturalized American, the Nov. 6 article, "Immigrants better educated upstate," prompted me to reflect on my personal perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by immigrants. Whereas the mostly European immigrant waves through World War II have arrived in the U.S. leaving behind religious persecutions or economic disparities, the more recently arrived immigrants came to the U.S. with advanced education and substantial capital, leaving behind political or ethnic persecutions in their respective homelands. This is particularly true of Asians, Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners, who have mostly arrived with college credentials while aspiring to pursue post-graduate studies or with capital to invest in (small) business enterprises. Such cohorts, now nearly 20 million strong, rank in the upper socio-economic echelons and contribute immensely toward the advancement of American quality of life, for all. Due to their apprehension and fear of authoritative repression in their homelands, they remain below the radar and among the most law-abiding model citizens.

The public at large, however, tends to stereotype all immigrants as one convoluted group with the presumption that they, by and large, remain on government handouts; are primarily of daily labor capacities; and do not, therefore, carry their fair share for society. By the same token, the representation of the otherwise educated and manifestly qualified immigrants in government sectors are disproportionately low.

The writer is a professor at Pace University.

... Payvand News - 11/13/07 ... --

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