Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican immigrants, along with their American born descendants, occupy a unique place in the story of U.S. immigration. They are known by different names, come from widely divergent origins, and took many different paths in their journey to assimilation into the United States. This paper will examine the different linguistic, political, social, economic, religious, and familial conventions and statuses of the four Hispanic groups. The author’s goal is to identify the differences and similarities between the groups. Close to 27 million Americans list there ancestry as Mexican as of 2006, which is by far the largest Hispanic group in America (PEW Hispanic Center, 2007). Mexican immigration dates back many generations, and this shared history and culture between the two countries has spawned some interesting traits specific to Mexican Americans. Though Spanish is the official language of Mexico, many Mexican Americans speak both English and Spanish in their households. This intermingling of the two languages has bred a new form of Spanish called Spanglish, which is a combination of Spanish and English (MSN Encarta, 2007). During the 1960’s the efforts of political activists such as Cesar Chaves, “Corky” Gonzalez, and Dolores Huerta mobilized a broad based civil rights campaign that mirrored the actions of African American civil rights movements occurring at the time. This Mexican American campaign became known as the Chicano Movement, and was the birth of the immigrant group’s political consciousness. This movement used civil disobedience much in the way Martin Luther King Jr. was using it in the South. These tactics were ultimately unsuccessful in achieving their radical goals, but they did succeed in raising self-awareness within their community. They have since begun to use their political power to influence legislation in the United States (MSN Encarta, 2007). Today, despite this political awareness, Mexican Americans...
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