Assimilation versus Acculturation
Assimilation is when a person replaces their original home culture with their new culture. Assimilation is a process in which persons of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds come to interact, free of constraints, in the life of the larger community. It is a one-way process, through which members give up their original culture and are absorbed into the host culture. It was this form that many early immigrants experienced when they migrated to the United States, but the trend you are seeing with a higher percentage of immigrants is acculturation.
Acculturation is when a person keeps their original home culture but also adapts and accepts the new culture. In effect, this person is bi-cultural. While maintaining original customs, history and values they also add custom’s of their new culture environment. As the United States becomes more diverse this person will actually have an advantage over others that only know and understand one culture. It is very important for a person to adopt and accept their new environment, but this does not have to be at the expense of throwing away their original culture.