June 14, 2007


Assimilation Starts with Inclusion (Steve Chapman, 6/14/07, Real Clear Politics)

Towns that pass measures against illegal immigrants portray the laws as a way to combat crime. In reality, the belief that this group is prone to felonious habits is largely unfounded. Crime rates plummeted in the 1990s even as illegal immigration surged, and Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has documented that "living in a neighborhood of concentrated immigration is directly associated with lower violence."

The evidence is surprising but clear: Foreign-born Hispanics are far less likely to end up in prison than native-born whites. They also have low divorce rates.

As for learning English, the truth is also more appealing than the myth. Many of the people who have immigrated here don't speak the language well, if at all. But that's a transient phenomenon with a time-tested treatment: reproduction.

Surveys indicate that the majority of U.S.-born children of Latino immigrants mainly speak English, and by the third generation, 96 percent prefer English. What happened with past immigrant groups is also happening with this one.

Education is a mixed picture. Some 42 percent of Hispanics in this country never finished high school. But many immigrants dropped out before even coming here, and others do so once they arrive. Fortunately, their children and grandchildren do far better, with high school completion rates rising to 89 percent by the third generation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2007 7:26 AM
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