Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Melissa González was featured in the Ask the Experts section of a study on WalletHub that provided information on the assimilation of Hispanics in the United States. González, who specializes in U.S. Latina/o and 20th century Latin American literature/culture, gender studies, and queer theory, provided insight on four key questions:
Q: Are Hispanics gaining entry into some industries faster than in others?
A: González noted that there has been an increase of Hispanics in the construction industry.
Q: What are the major causes of the racial wealth gap between Hispanic households and white or Asian households?
A: González referred to "The Color of Wealth: The Story behind the U.S. Racial Divide" as a good source for why Hispanics and other minorities have less wealth than their white or Asian counterparts. For a very long time, laws, discrimination and violence accounted for the inability of prior generations to accumulate wealth, which has caused Hispanic households of this generation to also have less wealth.
Q: How might immigration reform-including a potential pathway to citizenship-influence Hispanic assimilation?
A: Undocumented immigrants have a very difficult time assimilating, yet reform-such as that affecting Cuban Americans-shows that a pathway to citizenship has a positive impact on assimilation.
Q: What can state and local authorities do to help Hispanic families assimilate?
A: González pointed to the assimilation of Cuban-Americans-made more successful with the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. Creating a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants is an important way to help families assimilate.