THE OTHER AMERICANS by Joel Millman

THE OTHER AMERICANS

How Immigrants Renew Our Country, Our Economy, and Our Values
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A journalist's upbeat appraisal of the substantive socioeconomic contributions non-European immigrants are making throughout the US. Drawing largely on his own reportage, Wall Street Journal correspondent Millman offers a wide-ranging overview of the many ways in which aliens (undocumented and otherwise) enrich the communities to which they flock. By way of example, he recounts how industrious West Indians, willing to take the health-care industry's dirtiest and worst-paid jobs, have helped renew previously blighted neighborhoods in New York's borough of Brooklyn; the same holds true elsewhere in the Big Apple for Mexicans willing to work long hours off the books in restaurants, and for ambitious Haitians in Florida's Palm Beach County. Covered as well are members of the Gujarati people, from India, who revivified and now dominate the budget sector of the motel business; the Asian groups that have become a force to be reckoned with in California agriculture; and the rural Brazilians making a place for themselves (initially as house-cleaners) in Massachusetts. While the author does not address the explosive issue of federal policy with respect to Third World immigration on a systematic basis, he is at pains to point out that, alarmist rhetoric notwithstanding, the new arrivals more than pay their own way. Nor, Millman observes, are they displacing Americans; indeed, those who do not start their own businesses invariably wind up with minimum-wage (or worse) jobs in the service sector, which native- borns won't consider. And easily assimilated, family-oriented ÇmigrÇs infuse the nation with fresh cultural blood, help suppress crime in once dangerous areas, and even boost their host country's international trade. An engaging and assured account of America's mutually advantageous relationships with its latest settlers. By no coincidence, the text (which seems sure to outrage Pat Buchanan and his fellow xenophobes) makes a strong (albeit tacit) argument for open-door policies. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-85844-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997