The Latino Americans: Peril and Promise

About This Episode

In the '80s, the nature of the Latino Diaspora changes again. A second wave of Cuban refugees floods Miami. The same decade also sees the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing death squads and mass murders at home. By the early 1990s, a political debate over illegal immigration has begun. Globalization means that as U.S. manufacturers move south, Mexican workers head north in record numbers. A backlash ensues: tightened borders, anti-bilingualism, state laws to declare all illegal immigrants felons.

But a sea change is underway: the coalescence of a new phenomenon called Latino American culture as Latinos spread geographically and make their mark in music, sports, politics, business, and education. Is a new Latino world being created here as the Latino population and influence continues to grow? Alternatively, will Latinos in America eventually assimilate into invisibility, as other groups have done so many times? Latinos present a challenge and an opportunity for the United States. America's largest and youngest growing sector of the population presents The Hispanic Moment. Their success could determine the growth of the United States in the 21st century; however their failure could also pull this country down. The key is education.

Latino Americans is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S.