The End of Assimilation: How Immigrants Are Mixing and Matching Cultures in America

A new generation of immigrants is saying goodbye to the idea that they must ditch their roots to become "real" Americans.

With Barack Obama deporting illegal immigrants at a higher rate than his predecessor and more states adopting harsh immigration laws like Arizona's SB 1070, Mexican immigration into the United States is down drastically. Despite the crackdowns, however, millions of immigrants, both legal and illegal, still live and work throughout America. Estimates say Latinos, many of them the children of immigrants, will be the nation's dominant ethnic group by 2050. It's an interesting spot we're in: Millions of immigrants hiding from the law in a country where their progeny will eventually be the law.

In the old days, many foreign-born residents considered it their duty to become as American as possible. Today's immigrants are finding new ways to approach America's longstanding demand that newcomers fully assimilate, gracefully straddling the gap between their old world and their new world. Immigrants are mixing and matching styles from America's diverse culinary, cultural, and social landscapes to create fusions all their own.

Increasingly, the message is clear: America's tradition of asking immigrants to abandon their birth culture is gone, replaced by a desire to take pieces from many cultures and assemble them into fantastic hybrids. Kimchi tacos, anyone?

Photo via (cc) Flickr user ElvertBarnes