Friday, September 25, 2009
Linda Chavez presents good news about Mexican immigrant assimilation into American culture.
From the middle of the article:
Immigrants always have been the canaries in the mine shaft — an early warning system about the health of the U.S. economy. By mid-decade, informal networks of immigrants in the U.S. had already begun to send word-of-mouth messages back home that job opportunities in the U.S. were drying up. As a result, immigration from Mexico — the country responsible for about a third of all immigration to the U.S. — began a steep decline and is now down overall by about 40 percent. And according to estimates from Mexico’s National Survey of Employment and Occupation, Mexicans have been returning home at a rate of more than 400,000 a year since 2006, at the very time that fewer Mexicans have been choosing to leave Mexico for the U.S.
But what about those who remain? The greatest passion generated during immigration debates over the past few years has concerned illegal immigration, but many people also have voiced fears that Hispanic immigrants, even those who came legally, are somehow different from all previous immigrants and never will move into the American mainstream. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, for example, warned in one study that the descendants of Mexican immigrants will constitute a permanent underclass, dependent on welfare and unable to carry their fair share of the tax burden, discouraging lawmakers from considering changes to immigration law that would allow more Mexicans to immigrate, even if they were to do so legally.
A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, however, suggests that many of these fears are overblown and that children of Latino immigrants are doing well on most measures. They fare better on most health indicators (except obesity) than native-born Americans, for example, despite being less likely to be covered by health insurance. Most importantly, they are about as likely to grow up in two-parent households as whites — 73 percent, compared with 77 percent for whites. They graduate high school at rates slightly less than non-Hispanic whites (80 percent, compared with 92 percent of whites), but almost half go on to attend college. And those who graduate from college actually earn slightly more than their native-born counterparts.