A small but growing number of immigrants today are moving into new settlement areas, such as Winchester, Va., Greensboro, N.C., and Salt Lake City, Utah, that lack a tradition of accepting newcomers. Just as the process is difficult and distressing for the immigrants, it is likewise a significant cause of stress for the regions in which they settle. Long homogeneous communities experience overnight changes in their populations and in the demands placed on schools, housing, law enforcement, social services, and other aspects of infrastructure. Institutions have not been well prepared to cope. Local governments have not had any significant experience with newcomers and nongovernmental organizations have been overburdened or simply nonexistent.
There has been a substantial amount of discussion about these new settlement areas during the past decade, but relatively little systematic examination of the effects of immigration or the policy and programmatic responses to it. Beyond the Gateway is the first effort to bridge the gaps in communication not only between the immigrants and the institutions with which they interact, but also among diverse communities across the United States dealing with the same stresses but ignorant of each others’ responses, whether successes or failures.