Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Immigration --- More

The Census Bureau has posted new data about immigrants --- see below.

Henry Kissinger and Edward Teller have marvelled at the idea that while they were heavily criticized, only rarely, if ever, was it because they spoke with an accent or came from a foreign country.

That is not the way things work elsewhere.

Of the important nations in the world, and probably the not-so major ones either, America does the best job of "assimilating" immigrants.

A person doesn't become French or German or even English, just because he gets citizenship.

But a person becomes "American" because America is based on an idea --- we call it "The American Dream." If it doesn't work right away just press the "pause" button and wait a generation or two.

Pat Buchanon has written virulent anti-Mexican screeds. Yet they are mostly Catholic, work hard, and believe in "traditional values."

That is hypocritical.

Ben

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August 16, 2006* Census Reports Immigrant Population Growinghttp://www.publicagenda.org==============================================* Census Reports Immigrant Population GrowingThe number of immigrants in American householdshas increased 16 percent since the year 2000,according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latestAmerican Community Survey. Immigrants now makeup 12.4 percent of the nation’s population,up from 11.2 percent in 2000. In addition, immigrantsare spreading beyond the traditional "gateway states"and are settling in new places like the UpperMidwest, New England and the Rocky Mountain states.Although six in 10 Americans say immigrationis a good thing for the U.S., surveys also showhalf of the public say there are too many immigrants.Survey responses like this indicate the public isquite conflicted on the impact of immigration andmany hold positive and negative attitudes aboutlegal immigration simultaneously. Attitudes havecertainly been shaken by the Sept. 11 terroristattacks, with the number of Americans who sayimmigration should be curtailed increasing by 20points after the attacks. Yet it isn't clear whetherpeople really want fewer immigrants or betterenforcement of the immigration laws. In onePublic Agenda survey, eight in 10 believed immigrantshave a greater appreciation for the Constitutionthan native-born Americans (and immigrants agree).But other surveys show the public says immigrationlowers wages and weakens the national character.Emphasizing any one of these findings by itselfcould be misleading.Majorities of immigrants, however, consider the U.S.a special place and are happy with their lives here.In Public Agenda's report "Now That I'm Here: What America'sImmigrants Have to Say About Life in the U.S. Today,"strong majorities say the U.S. is better than theirown country when it comes to providing economicopportunity, rights for women, honest government, areliable legal system and other advantages. Most saythe right to vote, better legal rights and a commitmentand pride in being an American are major reasons tobecome a citizen. Large majorities of immigrants alsosay that it's important for them to work hard and stayoff welfare, and the opportunities in the U.S. allowthem the means to do so.

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