Article Title

Teenage Immigrant


Anne Ipsen


immigrants, assimilation, acculturation


The poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty defines the classical model of immigrants fleeing from poverty, oppression, or persecution. They are refugees, forced by intolerable circumstances to move from their homeland. Less stereotypic is the highly skilled or educated individual who makes a positive choice towards better opportunity. These immigrants tend to come as individuals or as a nuclear family and are less likely to live in or identify with an ethnic group. They assimilate more readily, especially if they have some English before arrival, while keeping closer ties with relatives and making more frequent trips to the mother country. These two general models form the ends of a spectrum, with many examples in between. In contrast, children and adolescents form yet other groups whose assimilation present special problems because they had no choice; they were forced to immigrate, however benign the intent and support of the family.