Second generation migrants: contesting definitions and realities

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  • Second generation migrants: contesting definitions and realities

Although largely overlooked in migration studies, understanding the secondand subsequent immigrant generations is critical to a comprehensive analysis of the migration process. The current policy and practice of diversity management in countries of immigration tends to be heavily focused on the settlement of new migrants. This focus is often pragmatically justified in terms of the host country’s responsiveness to the immediate day-to-day needs of the most vulnerable categories of migrants. Such preoccupation with settlement issues, however, also tends to be distinctly short-sighted: first, it neglects the continuing interaction between migrants and their homelands and the importance of this interaction for successive migrant generations; second, it overlooks the strategic importance of the second generation as a tool for understanding the long-term effects of migration, both in terms of personal experiences and the impact on host society institutions.

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