Canada’s David Frum says the unsayable on US immigration

From The Atlantic:

The immigration debate is defined by legal categories: migrant versus refugee; illegal versus legal. Those legal categories are subordinated, however, to a central political division: migrants who are chosen by the receiving country versus those who choose themselves. That political division in turn is connected to a fateful economic division: migrants who arrive with the skills and attitudes necessary to success in a modern advanced economy versus those who don’t.

Those divides are highlighted by a massive new study by the National Academy of Sciences of the acculturation of new immigrants to the United States: “The Integration of Immigrants into American Society.” The first reports on the study in October headlined comforting news: recent immigrants to the United States were assimilating rapidly—arguably more rapidly than their predecessors of the pre-1913 Great Migration. One must read deeper into the report to encounter the worrying question: Assimilate to what? Like the country receiving them, immigrants to the United States are cleaved by class. Approximately one quarter of immigrants arrive with high formal educational qualifications: a college degree or more. Their record and that of their children is one of outstanding assimilation to the new American meritocratic elite, in many ways outperforming the native-born. …

By contrast, about one-third of immigrants arrive with less than a high-school education. Immigrants from Latin America—the largest single group—arrive with the least education: Only about 13 percent of them have a college degree or more. They too assimilate to American life, but to the increasingly disorderly life of the American non-elite. Their children make educational progress as compared to the parents, but—worryingly—educational progress then stagnates or retrogresses in the third generation. For many decades to come, Latino families educationally lag well behind their non-Latino counterparts. The static snapshot is even more alarming: While 60 percent of Asian Americans over age 25 have at least a two-year diploma, as do 42 percent of non-Latino whites and 31 percent of African Americans, only 22 percent of Latino Americans do. Ironically, one of the biggest obstacles to Latino success is that so many attend schools taught by large numbers of only slightly less recently arrived Latinos: as the National Academy of Sciences report glancingly observes, one important cause of poor performance of Latino immigrant children is the weak English proficiency of the Latino immigrants often hired to teach them.

Cultural sensitivity, right?

Partly as a result, as David Card and Stephen Raphael observe in their 2013 book on immigration and poverty, even third-generation Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to be poor as non-Latino whites.

When children of immigrants grow up poor, they assimilate to the culture of poorer America. More.

Reality check: Probably only a Canadian could have said this safely. Sure, Frum will be called a racist, but as Mark Steyn says, “Is THAT all you got on me?”

What makes this especially hard on the United States is that technological achievement matters and drives the economy there.

In other words, long-term low educational achievement among huge minorities — low achievement that is accepted as normal by members of the group (whatever they may tell the sob sisters from the government or government PR media, out in force) — is bound to be a drag on the economy, compared to which resettlement costs are peanuts.

But the main effect will be experienced by the working and middle classes. The millionaires in gated communities can quote the Bible about refugees and warn darkly about “hateful attitudes” without experiencing in their own lives the effect of a cultural drift away from achievement.

Kudos to Frum for – however futile it may prove to be – moving toward an honest discussion.

We need more of the same in Canada, but of course he daren’t do it here.


See also:

Yes, high tech IS killing white collar jobs and Silicon Valley is disrupting unions.


Academic: Never mind the news, we live in safe times