33 Int'l Migration Rev. 5 (1999)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv33 and id is 1 raw text is: 



Immigrant Incorporation in the

Garment Industry of Los Angeles'

Ivan Light
Richard B. Bernard
Rebecca Kim
University of California, Los Angeles

    Stressing the network's facilitation of immigrants' searches for jobs and
    housing, migration network  theory has  conceptually overlooked the
    manner  in which immigrants' social networks also expand the supply of
    jobs and housing in target destinations by means of the ethnic economy.
    An  expanded migration network  theory takes into account the ethnic
    economy's role in creating new resources in the destination economy.
    However,  the power of this objection wanes in the context of working-
    class immigrations that generate few entrepreneurs. Introduced here, the
    concept of immigrant economy responds to this contingency. Unlike eth-
    nic  economies,  in which   co-ethnics hire  co-ethnics, immigrant
    economies arise when immigrants hire non-co-ethnic fellow immigrants.
    This situation usually arises when very entrepreneurial immigrant groups
    coexist in a labor market with working-class immigrant groups that gen-
    erate few entrepreneurs of their own. Using evidence from the garment
    industry of Los Angeles, this paper estimates that only a third of immi-
    grant employees found their jobs in a conventional ethnic economy. Half
    owed  their employment  to the immigrant economy  in which, for the
    most part, Asian entrepreneurs employed Latino workers.

In the last two decades, immigration research has documented the contribution
of migrants' social networks to the inception, growth and direction of migra-
tions (Bozorgmehr, 1992; Portes and Borocz,  1989; Fawcett, 1989; Boyd,
1989; Morawska,  1989: 260; Wilpert and Gitmez, 1987; Gurak  and Caces,
1990). Massey (1988:396; 1990) defines migration networks as sets of inter-
personal ties that link migrants, former migrants, and nonmigrants in origin
and  destination areas through the bonds of kinship, friendship, and shared
community  origin. A long-standing concern (Tilly, 1978), migrant networks
became  of renewed interest when researchers sought to connect macro- and
micro-determinants of immigration. Micro-determinants govern the migration
choices of individuals. Theorists of individual choice conceptualize migrants as
'The authors thank Connie Hum for research help. We also thank Manuel Garcia y Griego
for critical suggestions. Please address reprint requests to Ivan Light, Department of Sociology,
UCLA,  Box 951551, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

0 1999 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved.
0197-9183/99/3301.0125


IMR  Volume 33 Number  1 (Spring 1999): 0005-0025


5

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