November-December 2013

Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/214317

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READER'S CORNER by Teresa A. Statler How Immigrants Impact Their Homelands I n her introduction to How Immigrants Impact Their Homelands, editor Susan Eckstein reminds the reader that "when moving to new countries, today's immigrants do not necessarily sever ties with their homelands. Through transnational engagement, even the most humble of immigrants may transform the communities and countries they left behind." This, in short, is the thesis of this interesting and somewhat scholarly collection of 11 short articles by sociologists, which contains chapters on such subjects as Cuban Americans, Moroccan migrants, Filipinos, and Central American gangs. In an introductory chapter, Eckstein, who is a professor of sociology and international relations at Boston University, states that immigrants have never had as great and diverse an impact on their home economies and cultures as they do now. As the different articles point out, this may or may not be good for immigrants' home governments, economies, and societies. An example of the positive impact of immigration is that of the Chinese diaspora, whose financial investment in their homeland has spurred "an economic miracle." Overseas Chinese, not any particular country or nation, were the largest investors "THIS INTERESTING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING BOOK ... PUTS THE STORIES OF OUR CLIENTS AND THE OTHER IMMIGRANTS AMONG US INTO AN IMPORTANT AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE." How Immigrants Impact Their Homelands Purchase > in the People's Republic of China between 1985 and 2008. Along with financial resources, overseas Chinese provided manufacturing technology and similar skills, along with excellent world-market trade networks. Also, many Taiwanese have returned to the mainland in recent years, bringing their thriving small businesses with them. These returning immigrant entrepreneurs have "imbued old Shanghai with a modern lifestyle," making the city attractive to foreign visitors, tourists, and investors. I found the chapter on Moroccan immigrants' remittances from France back to their families to be one of the most interesting. The chapter's author calls them "unlikely captains of industry" because of the special kind of financial institutions the Moroccan state set up to channel their financial remittances to national development. In 1969, the Moroccan government used its state-controlled bank to create "financial tools" and "political leverage" that allowed these workers in France to send money to N OVEMBER/ D ECEMBER 2013 17

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