Meanwhile, the Children of Immigrants to the U.S. Are Expatriating Themselves


You wish, pal!

So claims The New York Times:

In growing numbers, experts say, highly educated children of immigrants to the United States are uprooting themselves and moving to their ancestral countries. They are embracing homelands that their parents once spurned but that are now economic powers.

Some, like Mr. Kapadia, had arrived in the United States as young children, becoming citizens, while others were born in the United States to immigrant parents.

Enterprising Americans have always sought opportunities abroad. But this new wave underscores the evolving nature of global migration, and the challenges to American economic supremacy and competitiveness.

In interviews, many of these Americans said they did not know how long they would live abroad; some said it was possible that they would remain expatriates for many years, if not for the rest of their lives.

Their decisions to leave have, in many cases, troubled their immigrant parents. Yet most said they had been pushed by the dismal hiring climate in the United States or pulled by prospects abroad.

NEXT: Tasers for Transit Workers?

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  1. Being relatively uncompetitive in the global marketplace for talent has consequences?

    Who knew?

    Immigration really is a bellwether.

    1. esp when the gop blocked the dream act which fast-tracked immigrants in the military & college grads. >dern brown peoples n spanglish!1!!1!

      1. We’re happy to give people access to the best education in the world…

        As long as their training doesn’t benefit anyone in the USA directly.

  2. This is a classic fake trend article by the NY Times. It has the classic, “In growing numbers, experts say,” line, but never quotes or sources those growing number or sources. It has the 100,000 people of Indian descent line, but does not say what the usual number is or even what percentage of them are from the US (vs. Dubai, Africa, Australia, EU, etc.). Show me some actual numbers.

    1. When I lived in Prague in the early ’90s, the great fake-number trend story was the # of American expats living there. Started out at 10,000 (a ridiculous over-exaggeration, as it was based on a crude extrapolation from a guess about all resident foreigners who could speak English), and then, since the population was obviously growing, it swelled to as high as 50,000. Or 5% of the city’s population.

    2. Surely you appreciate that the growth and opportunities appear to be mostly overseas for the time being.

      The children of immigrants to the U.S. have an advantage for those overseas jobs. They have a greater connection to the countries they’re going to than I could. They retain some aspects of the culture; they may speak some of the local language, etc.

      There’s been a substantial trend by American multinationals away from sending your standard issue Americans to places like India, China, Brazil for a long time, too.

      If you can hire American educated local talent, you do. If you can’t do that, you hire the children of immigrants to the U.S….

      That trend is more than a few years old, now, isn’t it?

      1. Check out this article…

        “Asia’s Endangered Species: The Expat”

        To help companies fill Asia-based executive roles….they have begun classifying executives in four broad categories: Asia natives steeped in local culture but educated in the U.S. or Europe; the foreigner who has lived or worked in Asia for a long time; a person of Asian descent who was born or raised in a Western country but has had little exposure to Asia; and the local Asian executive who has no Western experience.

        1. This article contradicts the one Matt linked to. “Asia natives steeped in local culture but educated in the U.S. or Europe” are completely different than the children of immigrants. The latter are more like expats than they are like locals educated abroad.

      2. The child of an immigrant raised in the US is an American. They may know people who know people in their home country or even speak the language, but their understanding of the local government bureaucracy, laws and business environment gives them maybe a 6 month head start over a standard issue expat.

        Also, if this was an actual trend the last few years (unlike classic fake trends like rainbow parties, alcohol enemas and the like), there would be supporting numbers behind this instead of vaguely sourced anecdotes.

        And speaking of anecdotes, my family moved to the US when I was one and outside of a limited duration (2 years or less) expat assignment, there is no way you could get me to go back.

        1. I bet there were a lot of children of Chinese immigrants to the U.S., who said the same thing about China in the wake of the Tienanmen massacre.

          …some of whom, I’d wager, have gone back to China because of all the opportunities there now.

          Nevar! say “never”. Who knows what the part of the world your parents came from will look like in ten years?

          Also, I bet that having been raised by your immigrant parents, you have a more intimate knowledge of how things are done over there than you realize. How much of doing business is just making friends? That isn’t done the same way everywhere. If you’re in tune with little miscues within that culture, by way of being your parents’ son for all these years, you have a big advantage on someone who doesn’t have that.

          It isn’t just about the laws; i.e., it’s also about the culture and the language. How many French majors go to France to find a job after college and find that there are already millions of people there, who already know how to speak French–AND have a degree in something useful?

          If you have that kind of advantage in a country that’s experiencing all sorts of growth–and needs people with your skills–you should seriously consider taking advantage of that opportunity.

          There’s big time potential in North Africa. Hell, there’s a lot of potential in the rest of Africa, too, now.

          1. Actually it has less to do with government than with a whole host of other issues. Traffic is atrocious all the time (makes the 405 in rush hour look like a Montana highway). Pollution is terrible. Medical care is inferior and the risk of getting expired or counterfeit medication is uncomfortably high. Bureaucracy and corruption are atrocious. &c., &c. There’s a lot of opportunity there, but it’s not worth it. I do love going out periodically and visiting the Red Sea resorts though.

            1. Yeah, the Red Sea resorts!

              I tend to look at things from a commercial real estate perspective, and you know there’s over a thousand miles of undeveloped Mediterranean coast in Libya?

              Somebody get me Four Seasons on the line!

    3. Mo, Matt believes everything he reads in the NYT. Don’t argue with him.

  3. People are leaving the US…for what? I’d like someone who writes one of these stories naming where, because if it’s true, I’d like to know what my options are. I fear the reality is…nowhere.

    1. Really, Epi, who else would take you? Once the feds forward along their paper trail on you, you’re done.

      1. I just have to keep ahead of the papers. I’m lucky that the federal bureaucratic machine is so slow.

      2. by the time the feds catch up, he’ll have been the strongman of some pineapple republic for 35 years.

    2. Ecuador, but I don’t have to worry about working.

    3. Several of my Indian former coworkers were building palaces (actually rather modest by suburban American standards) back in the home country. At least one of them related that he hates all the American bullshit — until he gets back to India. After about a week, he’s ready to be back in the US. I’m not sure India is for me.

    4. I am a second generation Italian American (my mother was born there, as well as all of my grandparents), but I now live in France. I would NEVER live in Italy, because of the chaos and corruption and the difficulty of understanding how it all works.

      France, on the other hand, is well organized, centrally located in Europe, and has some good food. France(and all of the EU, for that matter) is a giant amusement park for adults, with great food, culture, history, music, art, architecture, and natural beauty.

      However, living here is not easy. We don’t have the right to live here, so we have to deal with the bureaucracy regularly to prove that we are not a drag on their society. Although we speak the language, we don’t have the deep understanding of the culture that lets us converse easily, and although we have lots of French friends, but will never really be close.

      Some people think it is idyllic (I am on my boat right now, preparing for a summer in Scotland drinking single malts), but it is work. If I wanted it to be easy, I would have retired to Florida. I may still do so, if the hassle becomes too great.

      1. One last comment. My mother would NEVER move back to Italy, and my grandparents used to say the same thing. There was nothing there for them. And when I see what life is like here for people like my grandparents (farmers/laborers), I understand what they meant. Dealing with the govt here is a nightmare. My neighbors make wine, and they have a piece of paper for every grape vine they tend, showing when it went in the ground, where, and its entire history. So, if you wanted to get out of this system 100 years ago, where you had to kowtow to the mucky-mucks all the time, the US was the place. Now, 2 generations later, I can come back here on my boat, buy a house, and have some fun. For me, that is what life here is all about.

  4. This describes me perfectly. I was born in the US as the son of a working-class immigrant and, after receiving an education, I moved away from my family, back to my father’s country where I have been for four years. My recently-born daughter is a dual citizen and my wife will soon obtain her dual nationality as well. I am not sure that I’ll ever go back to the US to live permanently.

  5. Teaching English in Taiwan is nice. Low taxes, modern. Communications and roads are better than PA (that’s not saying much, really). Wages are high enough that bars and restaurants are a normal. Oh yeah. They catch and convict politicians here. The previous president is now in prison (unlike Nixon). And they really know how to debate instead of having a mutual ass-licking party like Congress and the Senate.

    1. Cigarettes and liquor are cheap too. 🙂

      1. And learning Cantonese is a snap, I bet.

        1. Dew neh low moh, guai loh! (I just happen to be re-reading Noble House)

  6. It’s very simple.

    If you have American money, even that amassed via a fairly modest living, one can live like a king in a place like Brazil. If you have connections to the culture in addition to the ability to live far better than the vast majority of the population, the pull to leave can be strong.

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