Immigration and the transnational economy in Jackson Heights

In Jackson Heights, an immigrant neighborhood in Queens, which is the most ethnic diverse borough of New York City and the world, we can find one of the highest concentration of people from Latin America or with Latin American ascendency. Latinos, Latinas and Latinx account for the 57.3% of the neighborhood’s population and the presence of this cultural group can be felt all around the streets, from the different legal offices advertising law services in Spanish on Roosevelt Avenue to the multiple restaurants located at 37th avenue serving Mexican, Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian food.

This is a familiar neighborhood for me, as I live in Queens and I usually go there for the food and to mail packages to my family in Ecuador. As I walked through the streets in Jackson Heights trying to find ideas for my ecologies, I saw things that I had never seen before. Having a camera at your disposition and being in the constant look for something “significant” to shoot makes you pay more attention to every detail that surrounds your space. For the first time since I immigrated here, I felt this neighborhood. I felt its music, its aesthetics, the people walking through its streets, its smell, but most importantly I felt the interests and dangers of those living in this area. Mailing services and money transferring offices have a strong presence in this neighborhood and this has become an important part of every immigrant that has come to the U.S looking for more opportunities sometimes denied in their home countries.

I see these businesses as representative of something bigger going in this neighborhood and with this community. Most of those who have immigrated from their countries to look for more opportunities in cities like New York do not do it because they want it, but because they were forced to. Forced to due to the different situations in their countries like decaying economies, criminality and environmental issues. I talked to some immigrants at these businesses and hearing their stories made me realize that the danger and their situation sometimes does not get better when settling here. Immigration status and working conditions seem to be their focus of their preoccupation. Immigrants need to work in informal and/or multiple jobs to support their families in their countries and their families here.

The remittances send by those immigrants then help people in Latin America but also the economy of the region where remittances have become one of the main economical resources. Mexico, for instance, is the fourth remittances receiving country in the world. The importance of this economy was recognized by Donald Trump when he stated that an option to pay for the wall could be to tax these remittances.

The focus of my ecology will be to analyze this transnational economy. Its causes and most importantly its consequences. How are people trying to support their families? Which conditions do they have to face at work and in their neighborhood to make a living? I would regularly visit his neighborhood and the mentioned local businesses of the area. I believe that restaurants and the remittances and mailing services offices are representative of the different layers of this situation. Latin American immigrants keep strong bonds to their countries through these businesses and they have become sites that keep alive their national and cultural identities amid the multiple difficulties they face in a new country. The focus of my ecology will be to analyze this transnational economy. Its causes and most importantly its consequences. How are people trying to support their families? Which conditions do they have to face at work and in their neighborhood to make a living? I would regularly visit his neighborhood and the mentioned local businesses of the area. I believe that restaurants and the remittances and mailing services offices are representative of the different layers of this situation. Latin American immigrants keep strong bonds to their countries through these businesses and they have become sites that keep alive their national and cultural identities amid the multiple difficulties they face in a new country.

-Jocelyne Enriquez

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~ by jocelyne97 on February 17, 2019.

5 Responses to “Immigration and the transnational economy in Jackson Heights”

  1. I would award this post ‘Most Informative’ for the opening paragraph alone. The statistics highlighting the specific immigrant demographics and the descriptions of the different kinds of restaurants paints a very clear picture of the area.

  2. 3) Best Overall
    The structure of this blog post is the most organized to me. It is separated into three sections: introducing the location objectively, introducing your relationship with the location, and describing what you want to do with this project. You combined information and affection with the last paragraph.

  3. Most Informative: this post included a specific statistic, demographic and location. It mentions intimate features of the community that are otherwise overlooked and explains their importance in a revealing and informative way.

  4. 1. Most Informative: In the 3rd and 4th paragraph, you give a lot of information about the economic conditions in the area and lay out the groundwork for the precarity.

  5. Most Informative: This post deftly balances the line of providing enough context about the issue (remittances, informal economies and their impacts), while also seamlessly tying it back to the specific location of the ecology – Jackson Heights. This post uses statistic and demographic information to its advantage, providing the backbone for its central line of inquiry and exploration.

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