By Thomas Kessner
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Additional info for Today’s Immigrants, Their Stories: A New Look at the Newest Americans
There is welfare, unemployment insurance, job placement, housing and rent subsidies, food stamps, and assorted other aids and services. But the economy they come to is different too. It has less need for unskilled and low-skilled labor: brawn often earns more pay elsewhere. But it is still New York—Walt Whitman's "visor'd, vast, unspeakable show and lesson"—that attracts. The following chapters aim to make that lesson less mysterious. I I Get Homesick Every Day Refugees from Indochina The road is difficult not because it is blocked by a mountain or a river.
New York City's population flow has always been a finger on the pulse of the world. The appearance of Indochinese in Queens signaled the fall of Vietnam; South Korean instability in the 1970s could be read in the appearance of a new corps of greengrocers setting up fruit and vegetable stands; fear of the dreaded Tontons Ma- 26 TODAYS IMMIGRANTS, THEIR STORIES New faces and new costumes in American supermarkets signaled the change in the country's immigration after 1965. " Each group, in its time, arrived by means of transportation as varied as the reasons for their having come.
Immigration officers, no matter how numerous or well-intentioned, can hardly block a path that millions have already risked death to travel. By late 1980 headlines about Haitian refugees drowning no longer made the front pages of the country's newspapers; they were relegated to inside sections, mere updatings of continuing horror. People from the Dominican Republic, who applied for visas in much larger numbers than could be accommodated, heard in September 1980 of the Regina Express, a tanker that would take them to Miami for $1,800 to $3,000.