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Ecuadorian Immigration to the NY-Metro Area in the 1970s-80s

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  1. Introduction
  2. Bearing the brunt of the costs of political and economic reform
  3. Ecuadorians at the time
  4. Gladys's daughter's experience
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

America has (nearly) always been the destination of choice for the world's migrants. Spanning an entire continent, the country has historically offered land, jobs, and tolerance to those who seek them. For South Americans especially, the United States had been attractive for its accessibility and welcoming nature, the latter thanks in large part to an American sense of shared interest and history for its other Western Hemisphere/ex-colonial brethren. Ecuadorians have come to the United States for many of the same reasons as other South American immigrants ? economics. America's steady growth of demand for low-skilled jobs, particularly in the latter half of the century, has given Ecuadorians an easy in into the country, although this is not always the case, as we shall see (Gratton 580). The focus of this paper will be on those Ecuadorians who came to the United States between the late 1960s into the early 1980s, an era of turmoil both at home and in the U.S.

[...] A nationalist military regime seized power in 1972, nationalizing the oil industry just in time to enjoy the fruits of a worldwide spike in oil prices. Ecuador's economic well-to-do enjoyed unprecedented growth of their wealth and influence, and the government did much to improve the nation's infrastructure. Unfortunately, in order to appease the influential elites and continue with its policies supporting import substitution industrialization, the government borrowed heavily and did little to aid the plight of the country's poor (Gerlach). [...]

[...] She also had the support structure already in place and had no need to go out and search for a job or face the strains any parent supporting a child must face, let alone when that parent is living alone in a new country. Alisva told me that Gladys actually insisted that Alisva speak English at home, as much as possible, although Spanish was still the predominant language because Gladys had never really been comfortable speaking the language of her adopted homeland. [...]

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