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Honduras previously referred to as "Spanish Honduras" is a country which is situated in Central America. Honduras was given the name of Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras in the past. British Honduras later became contemporary Belize. On the west of Honduras is Guatemala, in the southeast is Nicaragua, in the southwest is El Salvador, to the south of it is the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca and to the north is the Gulf of Honduras, a huge bay of the Caribbean Sea. In past Honduras has been home to important and different Mesoamerican cultures. The most prominent of the culture is Maya. This all changed when the Spanish attacked in the 16th Century. After the invasion, the Spanish introduced the Spanish language and Roman Catholicism. Further, there were uncountable new customs that were introduced to them, which later got inculcated in the native culture. In 1821 Honduras became independent and ever since it is known as the Republic of Honduras (Ruhl, 2010). Even after it underwent significant political instability and social strife, and it is still said to be one of the poorest states in the Western Hemisphere. The International Court of Justice transferred the northern part of Mosquito Coast from Nicaragua to Honduras in 1960. Further, in this paper, the Honduras immigrant community In the United States, integrated community, do the people still talk in the native language and practice the Honduras traditions will be discussed.
When it comes to the immigrants that moved from Honduras to the United States, it all started in the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth century. This was all initiated because of the turmoil surrounding independence from Spain and the want for the Republic of Honduras to be founded. Ever since the first time the immigration between Honduras and the United States started, there was a minor wave of immigrants after every significant conflict that the country faced. The immigrants never exceeded more than a few thousand people. The 1956 succession dilemma and the commotion surrounding it also witnessed another trigger to immigration. Later in the 1980s, immigration saw a steady rise in growth. People saw hope when the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act raised the fact that the potential illegal immigrants might gain legal status (Schulz, 2018). Other than that, there were other factors that were influencing the immigration rates. One of the factors being the struggles that were being created by Central American unrest, inclusive of civil wars that were raging in the neighboring states of Honduras all through the decade. Majority of these wars were initiated or partially fought from Honduran ground. One cannot deliberate in regards to the influence of California’s Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994. According to it all government services excluding emergency medical aid will be a ban on undocumented immigrants.
Majority of the Honduran immigrants in America are migratory farm laborers. The number of these immigrants is hard to process since the majority of them are undocumented residents. In accordance with the census that was carried out in 1990, it was recorded that 1272 people of working age were in forestry, farming and fishing acts. However, in regards to all accounts their number is said to be much higher (Schulz, 2018). The Honduran migrants who have settled in a particular area, the largest number of them is set to be found in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Like majority of the communities that have migrated to America, the Hondurans have adopted the same pattern as those communities. Initially, they settle down in the largest cities, where they find the significant support networks already present in the huge Honduran American communities. One of the biggest advantages of settling in the cities is job opportunities. The job requirement in these cities is pretty basic, and these basic skills are already pertained by the Honduran immigrants upon arrival.
When it comes to the Honduran community being an integrated group in the United States, it is not the case. A broad majority of the Honduran American families have arrived in the United States over the course of 40 years. What they are seeking is a better economic opportunity, and to take refuge and respite from the political chaos and cruelty being faced in Honduras. There are many people who have left all their families behind in the country and regularly send them money that they in the United States to support them. Hondurans community as a new immigrant group are going through the same doubts and biases that every arrival have faced from a public that is already well-established (Rosenblum & Ball, 2016). There are many Americans who are under the belief that the Hondurans are moving in their country to live off the welfare state and benefit from social services. Proposition 187, which also mentioned above can be taken as a legal result of this notion. The Proposition states that all the immigrants who do not have a visa will be barred from all the government services exclusive of emergency medical care. The people who voted in favor of the proposition are the ones who are under the belief that immigrants consume more social services than they pay for via consumer spending and taxes. Regardless of the notion that the Americans believe there is considerable evidence present which proves that immigrants spend more than the social services they consume. The reason behind is the fact that the majority of the immigrants initially come alone and try to secure working papers prior to bringing in their families. This is why they need minimum government services (Rosenblum & Ball, 2016). There are immigrants who do bring children with them but they do not send them to school because they are in need of the revenue that is generated from their work.
However, even if Proposition 187 in a representative of the shutting door on the Honduran undocumented immigrants, the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 is the representative of the legal welcome platform. The reform specifies that those undocumented immigrants who can prove the fact that they were present in the United States prior to 1st of January 1982, are entitled to apply for legalization (Wilsey, Hershey, Wilson & Aouchiche, 2016). They are even allowed to legally work until their case is being deliberated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Additionally, if these immigrants have been granted legal status and working papers, they have the right to apply for citizenship after spending five years in the United States.
When the Honduran community in America is talked about, it should also be added that they are quite a diverse group. They are inclusive of Mayan, Spanish, mixed, Chinese, Palestinian, African and Black Carib amongst many others. They have improved and worked a lot on their own quality of life over time. The improvements are in terms of education, professional achievements and cultural contributions to the society of the United States. Additionally, the universally spoken language of the Honduran Americans is Spanish aside from English. Majority of the Honduran Indians also speak in Spanish. When it comes to Maya, they speak their own language. Talking about the Black Carib’s, they speak Garifuna. In fact, this language is very far from being obscure or dead. It is a very lively, growing and living language in the United States (Wilsey, Hershey, Wilson & Aouchiche, 2016). Further, the Hondurans follow their traditions in the United States as well. There are certain festivities and holidays that both the communities have similar as well. The first traditional holiday is Christmas, which is celebrated on the 25th. Towards late March they celebrate Holy Week, which leads to the festivities of Easter. Another significant part of their culture is the Christmastime tradition called Posada. His is a celebration that is held every night starting on the 16th of December. Further, in-between December 25th and the 6th of January, the Garifuna men celebrate Yancunu with a lot of singing, dancing and wearing various marks. The reason for doing so is to bring prosperity with the coming New Year. Each ear on the 15th of January, Hondurans from Honduras and America attend and participate in a celebration in Esquipulas, Guatemala. It is home to a dark-skinned sculpture of Jesus Christ which is made of wood. Then there is a feast day of the Virgin of Suyapa, which is the Honduran’s patron saint day, is held on the 2nd of the February (Guerra, 2017). Other than the religious festivities and traditions there is one which carries one of the greatest importance, the 15th of the September which is the Independence Day for Hondurans.
Further, when talking about the traditions and culture of Hondurans, most of the children who are born are baptized. The baptism is usually followed by a big celebration. Men are usually dominant in the community. In both the middle and upper class of the community, dating is strictly prohibited. Eligible suitors are chosen for the girls by their families, then the engagements are carried out. However, half of the Honduran couples live together regardless of a marriage ceremony or marriage license. When it comes to an individual from the Honduran community passing away, a Novena prayer is held for continues nine days. This prayer is usually held in the deceased's house (Guerra, 2017). Then a second novena can be held after six months have passed. Other than that, the Honduran people are quite affectionate to each other as opposed to Americans. Men mostly embrace each other when meeting or departing, and women also embrace and kiss both cheeks when meeting and departing. Honduran families are usually quite large as well, an average family usually has five children, additionally, grandparents, aunts, and cousins might also live under the same roof. The Honduran family system is quite close-knit as well, they help to the maximum whenever a member of the family is going through a financial crunch. They take in the needy relatives as well and do the best to find them a job so they can settle down as well.
In regards to economic traditions, the new arrivals traditionally opted for fields that had basic labor. There have been many established Honduran American immigrants who have shown tremendous success when it comes to moving into more profitable professions (Guerra, 2017). The immigrants that came in between 1980-1990, in light of the US census, 33.7% defined themselves as being in service professions inclusive of being a waiter, janitors and working in stores and restaurants. Only 24% of the immigrants who arrived prior to 1980 are in the industry.
This paper makes it clear that the Honduran community is quite diverse when it comes to culture and ethnicity. This group is not just restricted to one ethnicity. They are quite a vibrant and colorful community. They have different traditions which add to the richness of the American culture. To the Honduran people there tradition and family carry great importance. They try to do whatever they can to keep their culture alive and their family and community close to them. Even in regards to work, they have shown great determination and consistency.
Ruhl, J. M. (2010). Honduras unravels. Journal of Democracy, 21(2), 93-107.
Schulz, D. S. (2018). The United States, Honduras, and the Crisis in Central America. Routledge.
Rosenblum, M. R., & Ball, I. (2016). Trends in unaccompanied child and family migration from Central America. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.
Wilsey, R., Hershey, L., Wilson, A., & Aouchiche, K. (2016). Central and South America.
Guerra, N. B. (2017). The Life of Elvia Alvarado as the Voice of the Voiceless Women in Honduran Culture. University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
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