Interesting perspective on the Immigration debate
One of the points I keep hearing being raised in discussions with people over immigration is that they are afraid that our "way of life" will change should we keep allowing all of this immigration. My point was always that we need to do something about illegal immigration, but that it was silly to think our way of life would change. I always figured that common sense would say that within one or two generations, those immigrant's children and grandchildren would be just as Americanized as you or I. Now, there is proof.
Immigrants of the past quarter-century have been assimilating in the United States at a notably faster rate than did previous generations, according to a study released today.
The study, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a New York think tank, used census and other data to devise an assimilation index to measure the degree of similarity between the United States' foreign-born and native-born populations. These included civic factors, such as rates of U.S. citizenship and service in the military; economic factors, such as earnings and rates of homeownership; and cultural factors, such as English ability and degree of intermarriage with U.S. citizens. The higher the number on a 100-point index, the more an immigrant resembled a U.S. citizen.
The report found, however, that the speed with which new arrivals take on native-born traits has increased since the 1990s. As a result, even though the foreign population doubled during that period, the newcomers did not drive down the overall assimilation index of the foreign-born population. Instead, it held relatively steady from 1990 to 2006.
"This is something unprecedented in U.S. history," Vigdor said. "It shows that the nation's capacity to assimilate new immigrants is strong."
I don't think that there is any denying that something must be done about illegal immigration. But the sentiment that we should stop immigration, particularly from Mexico, because somehow our way of life is threatened, seems to be to more fueled by the color of the immigrant's skin rather than whether our way of life is actually threatened.