The traditional theories of assimilation argued assimilation as an essential part of the upward mobility part of immigrants and hence explain the nature of immigration well (Warner and Srole, 1945). On the other hand, based on the failure of these theories to capture the assimilation process, it is now shown that the traditional theories of assimilation have failed to capture this incompleteness of assimilation and hence the nature of immigrant adaptation (Alba and Nee, 1997, 2003; Rumbaut, 1997etc).In spite of this, some studies show the assimilation theory as still relevant (Greenman and Xie, 2008).The debate remains unsettled. This essay critically evaluates the traditional theories of assimilation and their ability to explain the nature of immigrant adaptation.
This essay is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses the historical background underlying the migration debate. Section 3 discusses the theories of assimilation. Section 4 discusses the critiques of the theories of evaluation and evaluates the theories. Section 5 concludes the essay.
The debate underlying the immigrant adaptation had its origin from the United States. The number of immigrants to USA slowed down from 1920 to 1965 while with the passing of the 1965 immigration Act, it showed significant rise again. The earlier immigrants before 1920 were mainly Europeans. The experiences with these European immigrants and their children are considered as successful assimilation into the host American society (Alba and Nee, 1997).
Since 1965, the immigrants were mainly from Latin America and Asia. There has been widespread debate regarding the economic, social and cultural impact of these new immigrants on the society of America. Whether the experiences of these immigrants and their children were similar to those of the early European immigrants or not have been highly controversial (Alba and Nee 1997, 2003; Bankston and