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American Sociological Association: Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut Award Statement
Portes’ and Rumbaut’s book, Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation (University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation, 2001), is the first large-scale study of the teenage children of post-1965 immigrants in San Diego and Miami. Following 4,200 children over a period of four years, using interviews with students and parents and school records to chart the trajectories of acculturation, the authors identify three patterns (dissonant, consonant, and selective acculturation) to describe the teens’ adoption of American ways and English language, and their relationship with their parents. By casting a wide net to assess school performance, self-esteem, racial identity, and language skills, Portes and Rumbaut have provided a rich narrative about the lives of second-generation immigrants and their parents. This book contributes a new theoretical framework for understanding assimilation, data on different ethnic groups and their experiences, myth-busting evidence about immigrants, and useful information to reconsider public policies and programs concerning immigration.