Monday, October 6, 2008

Ethnic Groups (2)

Topic: The Dominican Community

The Dominican Republic is a caribbean nation of about 7.5 million people. During the 1960s the first decade of massive Dominican immigration came to the United States where most of them settled in the Greater New York Area. Among the latino groups, the Dominicans are second in number only to Puerto Ricans. Most Dominicans chose to live in upper Manhattan, while others settled on the Lower East Side. You will also find Dominicans living in Queens, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn. Some have fanned out to other states, such as New Jersey, Miami, Boston, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In San Juan, Puerto Rico has a large concentration of Dominicans, probably because of the similarity in culture and language. The great majority of Dominican immigrants are legal resident aliens, having entered the United States primarily through family reunification provisions of the immigration law.

During the long and repressive regime of Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) there were severe restrictions on population movement. Those that opposed the dictator managed to flee to New York, where they lived as political exiles. Between 1950 and 1960, some ten thousand Dominicans immigrated to the United States. After Trujillo was assasinated in 1961, restrictions were removed, Dominican immigration increased sharply. Since the mid-1960s, the economic and political uncertainties surrounding election years in the Dominican Republic often have been accompanied by increases in the number of Dominicans leaving for the United States.The rapid deterioration of Dominican economy since the 1980s has given additional impetus to immigration. Dominicans enter the United States sponsored by relatives who are legal immigrants or citizens.

After immigrating, many Dominicans continue to help out family members left behind by sending them money regularly. Remittances have become vitally important to the island's economy, far surpassing the amount earned by the country's principal export crop, sugar.

Most Dominicans are Roman Catholic. Most Catholic churches in Dominican neighborhoods in New York frequently offer masses in Spanish.

Since the mid-1980s, Dominicans living in New York have run for a variety of elected offices, most notably in upper Manhattan, where their numbers are greatest.

The most visible special event associated with Dominicans is the annual Dominican Day Parade, held each August. The parade is not only a cultural event of considerable importance to the community but also represents an attempt to make themselves known to city and state government officials and organizations.

Sources Utilized to Document Information


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