Unwelcome immigrants: the labor market experiences of 1980 (Mariel) Cuban and Haitian refugees in South Florida.

A. Portes, A. Stepick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Examines the situation of two recently arrived and disadvantaged immigrant groups in the context of two competing theoretical traditions; classical assimilation and recent labour market segmentation theories. Predictions of both concerning US labour market entry of foreign minorities and determinants of subsequent mobility are tested on the basis of representative surveys. Most are disproved. The analysis supports the hypothesis of heterogeneous modes of incorporation into the labor market, including substantial numbers of refugees who remain outside of it. Sizable proportions have only managed to find fringe employment in an emerging informal economy in South Florida. Among Cubans, employment in the ethnic enclave is associated with positive returns comparable to those of entry into the primary labour market. Haitians lack an enclave option and thus cluster into secondary and informal employment, although most remain without work. Determinants of these various situations are examined on the basis of multivariate logistic regressions. Implications of results for immigration theory and policy are discussed.-Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-514
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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