Blog Highlight: Immigrants and Economic Crisis

Jill Garvey • Dec 04, 2008

Juan Tornoe over at AC360° blog recently posted on Latino immigrants and the economic crisis. His analysis was mainly directed towards marketers of Latino consumers, but he brought up some interesting points, saying:

“First, let’s get one thing out on the open, documented or not Hispanic immigrants came to America in search of a better future for them and their families that for whatever reasons their native country could not offer. For the most part, they bet all their chips on the United States believing it is The Land of Opportunity. So, the U.S. is going through a rough patch right now… Seriously, this is NOT a big deal if you have lived in Latin America for a good part of your life. Most Latinos will have a “been there, done that” attitude towards it, tighten up their belts, and face the crisis diving head first into it in comparison to the average American who’s been living in abundance (relatively, at least) for their entire life and now are facing vast uncertainty.”

He’s right, many Latino immigrants have “been there, done that”. Can they help the rest of us cope? Juan helpfully lays out the reasons Latino Immigrants are going to have a less stressful response to the recession. He says immigrants and Latinos in general do four things that will help them weather the storm: use less credit, don’t keep their money in the bank, rent instead of own, and if they lose their jobs they cross pay scales and industries to find new ones.

These are obviously not best practices in a fair economy. But, ironically, with banks closing and unemployment rising, practices born out of disadvantage are becoming sound coping mechanisms.

Tornoe at the end of his post wisely says:

“Concluding, I am in NO way trying to imply that Hispanic Immigrants are immune to an economic recession. They are feeling and will certainly feel the squeeze in the months to come, just the same as they’ve felt it in the past while living in their home countries. It won’t be a novelty in their lives. They’ve survived through various crises and have successfully emerged from them. To a certain extent they know what to expect, know how to react, and know that they won’t last forever.”

Once again he makes a valid point, nobody is immune, especially not a group facing a myriad of other obstacles around discrimination and anti-immigrant sentiment. But we are all in this together, whether we like it or not. We should look to Latino/a immigrants for guidance and also respect that they know more about hard-work and sacrifice. They can show us the light at the end of the tunnel.

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