May 10, 2006

THE NATIVES:

U.S.-born Hispanics drive growth (Haya El Nasser, 5/10/2006, USA TODAY)

Hispanics remain the USA's fastest-growing minority group, but most of their population increase comes from births here rather than immigration, according to Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

As debate over immigration policy roils the nation, government numbers show that 60% of the 1.3 million new Hispanics in 2005 are citizens because they were born here.

"When all the attention is on immigration, natural increase is what's driving the population change," says Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

A third of the nation's 296.4 million people are considered minorities. Hispanics are the largest minority group at 42.7 million, up 3.3% from mid-2004 to mid-2005. [...]

There are 35.2 million foreign-born people, about 12% of the population. The share of immigrants has soared since its historic low of 4.7% in 1970.


It's no coincidence that when there were fewer immigrants the country was a festering outhouse and that their return has paralleled the American revival.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2006 8:03 AM
Comments

OJ,

I was just getting to thinking. There are about 37.5 million African-Americans in this country. Subtract 18% of that figure for the kids under 18 and then subtract about a 54% female population after you did that. That should bring you to about 14.2 million African-American men.

How is this relevant, you ask. Simple. We are getting to a point in which, in the next few years, the number of illegal immigrants in total will surpass the number of African-American men. What's really interesting is if you were to subtract the number of African-American men who are either older than 64 or who are incarcerated, we may have already reached that point.

How's THAT for changing the debate on the immigration issue?!

Posted by: Brad S at May 10, 2006 8:43 AM

Absorbing immigrants is easy.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at May 10, 2006 9:33 AM

Mike:

Anti-immigration, sadly, isn't about facts.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 9:38 AM

"Anti-immigration, sadly, isn't about facts"

But anti-illegal-immigration is.

Mike Beversluis

Absorbing and accepting illegality of all sorts is unfortunately much to easy. Enforcing laws even if they are against your own self-interest or desires is hard.

From the original article
"60% of the 1.3 million new Hispanics in 2005 are citizens because they were born here"

How many of those are the children of illegals and isn't it logical (and fair) that if their parents are not here legally then those children should not be citizens.

Posted by: h-man at May 10, 2006 10:33 AM

h:

No, that's not logical at all. Even nativists believe the soil conveys citizenship. Though they prefer blood. Or, ideally, Blut und Boden.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 10:37 AM

If you believe in Darwin, then those American-born children of illegals are exactly the kind of stock we want - the offspring of risk-taking go-getters.

If you believe in God, then those kids were destined to be Americans, or else they wouldn't have been born here. If God wanted more Mexicans, then those kids would have been conceived earlier or later, but obviously God wants there to be more Americans.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at May 10, 2006 11:25 AM

Noam, I'm with God on this one.

Posted by: erp at May 10, 2006 11:35 AM

Mr. Chomsky;

I would contend that present immigrants are overall far less risk-taking go-getter than was true in the past, because the risks and costs of immigrating to the USA are enormously less.

Mr. Beversluis;

I find your cited article completely unpersuasive, because I have yet to find an opponent of illegal immigration who makes any of the arguments discussed there.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 12:04 PM

AOG:

They were far lower when immigration wasn't illegal.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 12:19 PM

Michael:

No, it's the believers in Darwin who are right to be scared because the rot has set in on their ethnic group but the Latinos are thriving.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 12:28 PM

It's no coincidence that when there were fewer immigrants the country was a festering outhouse and that their return has paralleled the American revival.

So we were a festering nuthouse from the mid-'20s to the mid-'60s, and then everything started getting better...?

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 10, 2006 12:34 PM

Papaya:

Certainly from the 30s to the end of the seventies--with the real revival coming under the wildly pro-immigration Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 12:50 PM

Mr. Judd;

I think the current risks stemming from the illegality of much immigration are far lower than the risks of travel, isolation, and destitution that characterized immigration in the past (say, pre-1920). One needn't spend long reading stories of what immigrants faced in the tenements compared to being poor in America today to see this (and isn't one of your themes how un-destitute it is to be poor in America today?).

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 12:59 PM

Exactly, those risks had nothing to do with being an immigrant, they were a function of being poor. Illegal immigrants are the only vulnerable people in our society today.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 1:07 PM

AOG:

You are correct about relatively less risk, but nonetheless, illegal Mexican emigrants to America are taking risks, and enduring hardships.

I recall reading last year about an illegal worker from Eastern Europe, who worked at an American Wal~Mart for six months.
Dude slept in the woods nearby, to save money on housing.

That's a hard-core success-oriented winner.

I wish he would have stayed in the States, but he went back to Eastern Wherever and bought a house, on what he'd saved from working for the minimum wage for six months in America.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at May 10, 2006 1:48 PM

Mr. Judd;

The risks of long distance, months long travel, being isolated from your home and family, and living in an alien and unfamiliar place, had nothing to do with being an immigrant? I find that one of your more dubious assertions.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 2:02 PM

They weren't immigrants until they got here when all those risks were behind them, just emigrants, and when they arived they were in the same position as everyone else. Now the illegal alien is the only vulnerable member of our society.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 2:27 PM

The great struggle of the immigrants is like nature red in tooth and claw: completely unsupported by the evidence, but too important to a cherished mythos to care. No one ever made their life worse by coming to the United States. It is history's best bet; easy money for 400 years.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 10, 2006 2:44 PM

If we agree that the Republican party is the party of Freedom, and the Democrat party is the party of Security, we can safely state that immigration is the only thing keeping Republicans as the majority party.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 3:10 PM

Yes, but what if you think the GOP is the party of white natives and the Democrats the party of everyone else?

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 3:17 PM

Then you are in the Rockafeller branch of the Republicans. Pure, incoherent, and in the minority.
Christmas is saved! Can't wait......

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 3:28 PM

Mr. Judd;

But I was discussing with Mr. Chomsky the decision to emigrate, at which point those trials would be important.

Mr. Cohen;

Ah, but that's one of the key differences, isn't it? Potential immigrants today are far more likely to know and be certain of that. It goes directly to how "go-getting" the average modern immigrant to the USA is, compared to previous generations.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 3:36 PM

AOG: Which wave of immigrants thought that their new life might be worse than their old life?

Posted by: David Cohen at May 10, 2006 3:50 PM

All of them. Or do you claiming that every wave of immigrants was 100% certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that things would be better in America?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 4:30 PM

Yes, or they wouldn't have come.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 5:09 PM

No one leaves the familiar unless they are certain that the uncertain will be better.

Posted by: sharon at May 10, 2006 7:06 PM

AOG:

Who's saying 100% certain? Coming here means they were obviously certain enough.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 10, 2006 8:52 PM

Mr. Murphy;

Why, Messrs. Cohen and Judd, along with sharon.

I am once again amazed at the keen sightedness of everyone but me, as I have never been 100% certain of anything I have ever done. I am sorry to have presumed that anyone else felt uncertainty or doubt in any of their actions.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 9:13 PM

You've never done anthing as significant as emigrating. Folks don't do it on a whim.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 9:16 PM

Ah, so if you're not 100% certain, it's a whim. Illuminating.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 9:29 PM

If you aren't certain you don't switch countries. It's not like buying a computer.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 9:34 PM

AOG, you're an American. Uncertainty is a luxury, which you and I can afford. People who can't afford shoes don't make big changes unless they have nothing to lose.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 9:46 PM

I wasn't aware that uncertainty was something you had to save up to afford. I was under the mistaken impression that it was a basic human emotional response in the face of unknowns, very similar to fear. Thank you for your time in correcting my misapprehension.

P.S. Matt, there's another one for you.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 10:26 PM

Oh, and let's tie this back to the original subject, which was immigrants as "risk taking go-getters". Clearly, the concensus is that they were no such thing, since they were taking no risk (being certain of improvement). In fact, the immigrants were the ones playing it safe by going with a sure thing, which everyone knew at the time. It was the ones who stayed behind who were the risk takers.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 10:34 PM

AOG: Even the descendents of the involuntary immigrants turned out to be better off.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 10, 2006 10:36 PM

Uncertainty is free. Acting on it can be expensive.....

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 10:37 PM

AOG:

No, it's the illegals who are the great risk takers.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 10:39 PM

Yes, AOG, staying in the getto is a choice many make, and far risker than getting an education and leaving. Many still make that choice. People are funny that way. We want the ones smart enough to leave.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 10:48 PM

Mr. Cohen;

Sigh. I am not arguing at all about whether the immigrants, overall, ended up much better off (although I expect I will now get the contention that any claim that there existed immigrants who ended up worse off is a "counter-factual").

The question at hand is what did the potential emigrants know at the time of their decision to emigrate? What did they think, beforehand, about the move? In particular, the contrast is between pre-1920 emigrants and those of today.

I am clearly missing some vital element in my attempts to communicate with you, but I will engage in my own form of risk taking one more time.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 10, 2006 11:20 PM

AOG:

They thought the streets here were paved with gold.

Posted by: oj at May 10, 2006 11:34 PM

They still think that. Rumour then, TV now.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 10, 2006 11:58 PM

Ah, Mr. Mitchell gets my point. Thank you.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 11, 2006 9:06 AM

The streets are paved with gold.

AOG: My original point was that, in fact, the immigration bet has always paid off for (more or less) everyone. But ... you're under the impression that immigrants before 1920 thought that they might be making themselves worse off by immigrating? I'm all for relaxing the rational actor hypothesis, but that seems fairly extreme.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 11, 2006 12:28 PM

I understand your point, what I fail to understand is its relevance. We, with hindsight and greater education, know that. But that has little to do with what was known then by immigrants.

Yes, I am under the impression that potential emigrants thought they might make themselves worse off by emigrating. Here are the two attitudes:

A. It is impossible that I will make myself worse off by emigrating.
B. It is possible that I will make myself worse off by emigrating.

Your claim, as I understand it, is that attitude (A) was the overwhelming one. My view is that I can't imagine anyone having that attitude, because all human endeavor has risks.

I also don't see why you would consider that a relaxation of the rational actor hypothesis. You're under the impression that if a potential emigrant thought "it is really bad here, but if I emigrate I have a 1 out of a 100 chance of being worse off and a 99/100 chance of being much better off" would be acting irrationally by emigrating? [Note that this is attitude (B), because he thinks he might make himself worse off]

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 11, 2006 10:00 PM

AOG:

So your argument at this point is that 99% sure isn't sure?

Posted by: oj at May 11, 2006 11:47 PM

That has been my argument from the start. What did you think "100% certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt" meant?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 11, 2006 11:55 PM

Good to see you fight for that 1%--you libertarians never let us down.

Posted by: oj at May 11, 2006 11:57 PM

Good to see that despite your efforts at derailing a counter argument through willful miscomprehension and fixation on irrelevant detail, other people still grasped my real point.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 12, 2006 12:20 AM

The 1% is the irrelevant detail.

Posted by: oj at May 12, 2006 7:34 AM

AOG, I hope you are not counting on me. I completely lost your point.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 12, 2006 11:54 AM

I'm still back at people not leaving everything and everyone they know unless they were sure that it would be for the better. That's why the first wave of any ethnic migration was always leaving a truly miserable situation: Jews leaving behind pograms, Irish leaving behind famines, Japanese and Chinese leaving behind peonage.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 13, 2006 12:33 PM

David:

But, to AOG's point, every once in a while there had to be a Jew who was more worried about his son not getting into Emory than he was about pogroms, no?

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 12:44 PM
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