South Asian Immigration to United States: A Brief History Within the Context of Race, Politics, and Identity

Document Type

Book Chapter


Published in: Biopsychosocial Approaches to Understanding Health in South Asian Americans, 2018.


In this chapter we focus on key themes that impact South Asian diasporic communities in general. First, we briefly chart the South Asian immigrant journeys to the U.S. from the late 1800s through the watershed mid-century immigration policies to contemporary times. Second, we examine the contradictions between the model minority discourses that are sustained within the South Asian diaspora and the racism and discrimination experienced by South Asian immigrants particularly in the context of post 9/11 America. Finally, we conclude by looking at some of the ways in which first, second, and subsequent generations in the South Asian diaspora have creatively and politically engaged with their identity.