May 23, 2006

GROW THE PIE HIGHER (via Kevin Whited):

Immigration—The Wages of Fear (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, May 19, 2006, Independent Institute)

Among the objections that form the rationale for anti-immigration legislation, two stand out: Immigrants threaten American jobs and erode American culture. Both are based on unwarranted fear.

In a productive economy, more workers mean more growth—and even more jobs. Non-Hispanic whites are a minority in the two largest states, California and Texas, while Hispanics comprise more than 35 percent of the population in both. Unemployment rates in California and Texas mirror the national average. According to a study by United Van Lines, the largest moving company in the nation, since 1989 more people have moved from other states into Texas than have moved out, which rules out a stampede of non-Hispanic whites as the reason for Texas’ low unemployment rate.

Much of the Hispanic contribution has little connection to low-skilled jobs. According to Geoscape International, a third of Hispanic households earn over $50,000 a year. The Pew Hispanic Center puts the net worth of Hispanic households at more than $700 billion. HispanTelligence, a research division of Hispanic Business magazine, says the rate of growth of the purchasing power of Hispanics in the last 10 years is three times the national average. In 2010, Hispanics will own 3.2 million businesses. Clearly, these immigrants are expanding the national pie.

What about culture? I asked some colleagues of Samuel Huntington—the Harvard University guru who thinks Hispanics are eroding American values—their opinion. Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, co-founder of the Harvard Immigration Project, says, “Huntington’s views are not empirically based. Hispanics are learning English faster than did Italian and Polish immigrants a century ago, and 30 percent of adults from various first-generation Hispanic immigrant groups are marrying non-Latinos.”

Univision Communications, the Spanish-language TV giant, is up for sale because the prospects for continued expansion are not great—the second generation is tuning to English programs (many watch comedies such as “The George Lopez Show” and listen to “Hurban” radio). Sixty percent of Latinos are now American-born. According to Geoscape International, 83 percent of American Hispanics speak English.

As for family values, consider the fact that the average immigrant household has 3.8 people, over and above the national average of 2.3 per household for non-Hispanic whites.

If they are creating wealth, learning English, engaging in interethnic marriage, and practicing family values, how are they threateningly different from other humans?

Those are the reasons the Left will join the far Right in opposing immigration. They're too American.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 23, 2006 4:05 PM
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