Before 1995, about three-fourths of the nation’s immigrants settled in just six states: California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, New York, and New Jersey. In the years since, however, immigrants increasingly have bypassed those traditional gateway states in favor of new frontiers, and twenty-two other states have experienced extremely rapid growth in their immigrant populations. How have these new destination states approached the influx of new immigrants, the lion’s share of whom are recent arrivals with limited English skills and low incomes? How have officials in these “laboratories of democracy” faced the new public policy and political challenges?
Immigration’s New Frontiers examines the experiences of North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Nebraska. The book provides readers with a better understanding of the enormous difficulties caused by the absence of a functioning federal system. In many cases, states and localities are attempting to resolve within their jurisdictions problems—mostly concerning undocumented immigration—that can only be adequately addressed at the national level. Such issues have become all the more difficult as a combination of racial tensions, job competition, disruption in particular neighborhoods, and political grandstanding have often impeded problem-solving efforts.