Definitions Relevant to Immigration Discussion
Acculturation (acculturate)-to cause (a society) to change; the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group (dictionary.com).
Alien-a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization; a foreigner; a person who has been estranged or excluded; noncitizen; a creature from outer space (extraterrestrial) (dictionary.com). The consensus of those interviewed is that "alien" should be stricken from immigration discussions and "undocumented worker" or "noncitizen" be substituted.
Americanize-to make or become American in character; assimilate to the customs and institutions of the U.S. (dictionary.com)
Assimilate-to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust: to assimilate the new immigrants (dictionary.com). Some of those interviewed object to this word, as there are many definitions of what constitutes assimilation; preference is given to either Americanize or acculturate because of the forced or coercive nuance of "assimilate."
Asylee-a person who seeks asylum in the U.S., is in the U.S. and is unable or unwilling to to return to his or her home country for fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylees are in the U.S. legally (personal interview with Christine Kutschkau, State Refugee Program Coordinator with State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services).
Biliterate-a person who is able to read and write in two languages (dictionary.com).
Bilingual-a person who is able to speak in two languages with the facility of a native speaker (dictionary.com).
Documented Worker-a worker from a country other than the United States who has completed the appropriate and official paperwork and has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work legally in the U.S.
Fluent-ability to speak and/or read a language with ease (dictionary.com). There is significant difference of opinion among sources interviewed about the definition of "fluent" in the context of immigration - does it mean a person can speak AND read, speak OR read, and at what level?
Hispanic-from the Latin word for Spain, Hispanic has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. Only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the U.S. is a Hispanic. Hispanic is a label that borders on the offensive and lacks the authenticity and cultural resonance of Latino (dictionary.com).
Integration-an act or instance of integrating a racial, religious, or ethnic group (dictionary.com).
Immigrant-a person who voluntarily leaves his or her country of nationality to work, study or live in another country. Legal immigrants may be eligible for certain public assistance benefits (personal interview with Christine Kutschkau, State Refugee Program Coordinator with State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services).
Latino-in Spanish means "Latin" but which, as an English word, is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericano-Latino refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin, such as Mexico, Central America and South America. One cannot substitute Latino for Hispanic without garbling the meaning. When referring to residents of the U.S., most of whom are of Latin American origin, one can theoretically use either Hispanic or Latino. Latino is a term of ethnic pride and can also be changed to the feminine form (Latina) when referring to women (dictionary.com).
Mexican-a native or inhabitant of Mexico, or a person of Mexican descent (dictionary.com).
Mexican-American-a citizen or resident of the U.S. of Mexican birth or descent (dictionary.com).
Nativism-the policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants (dictionary.com).
Refugee-a person who is outside his or her country of nationality and is unable or unwilling to that country because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion (personal interview with Christine Kutschkau, State Refugee Program Coordinator with State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services).
Secondary Migrant-a refugee who has lived in the U.S. legally for three years or less and has moved to another state (personal interview with Christine Kutschkau, State Refugee Program Coordinator with State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services).
Undocumented Worker-a worker who has not completed appropriate and official paperwork to work legally in the United States and has not received the approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work in the United States. This group also includes persons who have overstayed their legal visas and have no current documentation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)-formerly the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the USCIS is a government agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The USCIS is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization functions and for establishing immigration services policies and priorities (www.uscis.gov).
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE, called ICE as an acronym)-the ICE organization is the largest investigative branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This organization combines the enforcement branches of the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the former U.S. Customs Service. The purpose of ICE is to enforce U.S. immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE targets illegal immigrants; the people, money and materials that support terrorism; and other criminal activities. The focus of ICE inclues: gang activities; employers who hire illegal workers, fraudulent immigration document and benefit applications; organizations that smuggle and traffic in humans; organizations responsible for smuggling and distributing counterfeit products (www.ice.gov).
Xenophobia-an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange (dictionary.com).
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