There are three predominant Latinx populations in the United States: Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Dominicans. The populations were forced to flee their countries and become immigrants in the US, eventually facing an array of prejudices. The significant issues that led to their migration include racism and ethnic differences, discrimination in housing and education, and employment. However, the migration of Puerto Ricans is considered migration within one country since they were already U.S. citizens. Therefore, Hispanic and Latinx people in the United States overcame many challenges to obtaining the same opportunities as the rest of the population.
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The first Dominican immigrants to arrive in the United States were all refugees and settled in the country’s Northeast part. Between 1961 and 1986, there were more than 400,000 immigrants in the United States, with another 40,000 entering Puerto Rico (Gonzalez 109). There was an increase in the number of Latinxs who entered the U.S. territory, with thousands of them as illegal immigrants. New York City itself had over 300,000 Dominicans at the time (Gonzalez 109). It was thought that by early 2000, over 700,000 Dominican immigrants in the city would make it one of the largest migrations (Gonzalez 109). Consequently, the Dominican ethnicity became more widespread during this period.
The first Dominican riot in the United States took place in 1992, where they protested the shooting of a Dominican drug dealer by a white police officer. Police brutality was rampant during this era to the extent that if a Hispanic person happened to look at a police officer and run, police would hunt down their families and shoot them. Therefore, people sat in their homes, waiting for the police to execute them. The same politicians and unresolved conflicts controlled the Dominican political life over the next 30 years. In 1961, after the rebels killed the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, the United States sheltered many Dominican immigrants (Gonzalez 111). Most immigrants during the 1980s were poor individuals coming from the working class who lacked a chance to obtain higher education. Thus, many Dominican immigrant youths used to have lower academic achievements than their American native counterparts and other foreign-born people.
United States’ central region was popular among the Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans who had fled their home countries due to war and poverty. The U.S. government to an extent contributed to the war in the three countries by supporting their dictators (Geyer par. 4). The fact that the U.S. intervened in the three countries’ matters propelled the war, leading to most of its population fleeing the countries to seek refuge in the country (Gonzalez 120). Latinxs in the United States have been subjected to ethnic discrimination for a long period. They were denied equal opportunities in education and political representation, fuelling riots and demonstrations across the population.
In addition to social and economic disadvantage, Latinx immigrants received health care of worse quality. Inferior health care commonly results in poorer health outcomes and quality of life (Calvo 44). Due to lower incomes and education levels, the immigrants also had limited access to preventive care and medical consultations, which led to a lack of health literacy and more risky behaviors (Calvo 44). The situation made Latinxs more vulnerable to illnesses and death.
Considering the discrimination against the Latinxs in the United States of America, producing a female president from their group is a great achievement. It indicates that the country is evolving and that the Latinxs are getting fair treatment similar to their native counterparts across the country. The extensive oppression that they have faced over the years and their struggle against it has yielded results in the end.
Calvo, Rocio. “Health Literacy and Quality of Care Among Latino Immigrants in the United States.” Health & Social Work, vol. 41, no. 1, 2015, pp. 44–51.
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Geyer, Georgie Anne. U.S. Support for Brutal Central American Dictators Led to Today’s Border Crisis. Chicago Sun Times, 2018. Web.
Gonzalez, J. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Penguin, 2011.