Shaping a New Century
The third great surge in Mexican immigration
is taking place as you read this. According to the U.S. Census
Bureau, there are currently more than twenty million people of
Mexican origin in the U.S. In the 1990s, more legal immigrants
came from Mexico than from all the European countries combined.
In addition, immigration has become more permanent, as a greater
percentage of Mexican immigrants have chosen to stay in their
Mexican immigrants and their descendants occupy
a more significant place in American cultural life than ever
before. Mexican Americans often serve as high government officials,
as well as local mayors, sheriffs, and school board members.
Prominent artists and entertainers, such as the writer Sandra
Cisneros, the musician Carlos Santana, the boxer Oscar De La
Hoya, and the actor and activist Edward James Olmos, all help
keep Mexican Americans in the public eye. Mexican Americans now
live in all regions of the country and can be found in most professions
The greatest impact of Mexican immigration,
though, may be its contribution to the growing Latin American
influence on the everyday life of all Americans. Government projections
show that, by the next two generations, more than 25 percent
of the U.S. population will be of Latin American origin. The
nation's clothing, music, architecture, literature, and food
have all been influenced by our growing Latin and Mexican American
American English has been most profoundly affected
by immigration from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking nations.
More people in the U.S. speak Spanish than ever before, and many
find it a great advantage to speak more than one language.
Mexicans have been part of life in the present-day
U.S. even before it was a self-governing country. What impact
do you think this group will have on the nation's future?