Silicon Valley Notebook


Milenna Smith


The American Dream is a goal sought out by many people from around the globe. But immigrants must overcome many barriers that may inhibit that dream. This study attempted to understand, how structural (community distress and institutional prejudice), interpersonal, and bilingual constraints negatively impacted immigrant socioeconomic achievements and wealth accumulation. The study used a mixed methods approach; findings from a secondary quantitative survey data (Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles) were elaborated on with qualitative interviews with six professionals who work with immigrants. Findings supported Feagin’s systemic racism, viewed as a fundamental cause, which set up structural, interpersonal, and cultural constraints that hindered immigrant progress towards the American Dream. Suggestions for future research included oral history interviews, both with immigrants who have successfully achieved the American Dream as well as with those at varying stages of progress towards the dream.