Pragmatic approaches to incorporating the enormous waves of immigrants arriving in the United States.
As an outgrowth of her One Nation Indivisible project, Eaton (Director, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy/Brandeis Univ.; The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial, 2007, etc.) presents in discrete essays an array of compelling and persuasive regional efforts across the country that have risen in response to Arizona’s recent punitive immigration policy and others like it. Immigration has soared in the U.S., especially in the South, and in certain attractive pockets of the country, the local governments have had to come up with more creative, workable approaches to meeting the needs of the new settlers so that they can become full, participating members of the community. In contrast to the former embrace of “assimilation,” whereby immigrants were encouraged to suppress their native cultures and languages in favor of the values and interests of the “receiving community,” the current favored policy of “integration” allows immigrants to celebrate their own cultures side by side with those of receiving communities—so that, in theory, each enriches the other. Effectively, integration is being practiced successfully in schools, such as in Heber City, Utah, a conservative community that has seen its Latino population surge and thereby required a two-way immersion program. Eaton crisscrossed the country to investigate other examples of truly progressive approaches to immigration needs in surprising places—e.g., in Hinds County, Mississippi, where African-American legislators are advocating for the disenfranchised Latino community as a part of their deep-seated sense of civil rights. Some of the examples emerge from faith-minded groups—e.g., the Mormon community of Utah, the Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha, Nebraska—yet the organizers speak just as forcefully about the economic incentive to help the new immigrants as the moral imperative.
From Indiana to Georgia to Maine, these intelligent model programs should inspire others.