When Carrots Become Sticks: An Exploration of Assimilation Drivers and Barriers among Latina Immigrants in the United States

By Patricia B. Strait and Katie M. Botha.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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Rising nationalism and fear of rapidly increasing immigrant populations have resulted in urgent calls for cultural integration of immigrants into host country societies. This paper begins with a transnational view of assimilation that draws from a variety of sources including scholarly journals, news media, government and non-governmental organizations. To more closely investigate the variables which effect the assimilation of female immigrants, three generations of Latina immigrants in the United States were examined. Using an online survey, first-hand perspectives on assimilation were collected from 102 Latina immigrants in the United States. The results of this investigation indicate that certain influencers can function simultaneously as both drivers and barriers to Latina assimilation in the US.

Keywords: Assimilation, Immigration, Latina, Nationalism, Women, Integration

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.9-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 519.248KB).

Dr. Patricia B. Strait

Professor and Program Chair, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Dr. Strait began her career in the United States Navy, where she served as an air traffic controller for four years. Upon finishing her tour with the Navy, she held various positions in airport management. After completing her Ph.D., she served as a visiting professor of public management at Virginia Tech and as a faculty member at Old Dominion University. She has published and written articles in both English and Spanish involving topics such as labor economics, immigration, and employee ethics. She has also been a speaker at several international conferences including: London, Quebec, Brussels, Vancouver, Valencia, Spain, Berne, Switzerland, and Barcelona, Spain. She currently serves as a full-time faculty member and chair of the programs in Human Resource Management at the University of Richmond.

Katie M. Botha

Graduate Student, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Katherine McGinty Botha’s career in communications, recruitment, and nonprofit development has led her to live in Europe, East Africa, South Africa, and the United States. She is employed by Special Olympics Virginia, Inc., where she manages relationships with major corporate donors. Her current graduate studies in human resource management are funded through the Stettinius Award for Nonprofit Leadership, managed by the Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia. She holds a B.A. degree in French language and literature from the University of Virginia.