Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mary Sanchez on Assimilation

Mary Sanchez of the Kansas City Star is distorting the results of a new study about how fast immigrants adapt to life in the U.S. to suit her narrative. Either that or her comprehension skills are dramatically lacking.
[T]he study shows that Mexican migrants assimilate culturally faster than many other groups.

Actually, the study does not show Mexican immigrants, legal or illegal, assimilate faster than "many" other groups, culturally or otherwise.

For instance, of the top 10 largest immigrant groups, Mexicans finished 8th when it came to cultural adaptation, besting only India and China, both of which come from dramatically different cultures and languages. Mexican immigrants also finished last in both economic and civic adaptation.

While it is encouraging to see that most immigrant groups are assimilating faster to life in American than did their counterparts from generations gone by, the study signals an alarming trend within the Mexican immigrant population.

Mexican immigrants make up by and far the largest group of immigrants into the U.S. each year. If they are not assimilating as quickly as immigrants who travel across vast oceans and dramatically different cultures and languages clearly something is wrong.

Maybe it's the psychological affect of crossing an ocean versus a neighboring country that is the cause of this discrepancy. But if that is the case, than why do Canadian immigrants top the charts?

Maybe it's the language difference. But then, why do immigrants that speak and write dramatically differently than we do in have an easier time adapting?

In all likelihood, it's a result of a combination of different reasons.

A growing majority of Mexican immigrants feel Mexico is their country and not the U.S. They are taught that the U.S. stole the southwest from Mexico.

Mexican immigrants aren't forced into English immersion as immigrants from other countries are. Most businesses, schools, and even the government produce everything in Spanish in addition to English. In some cases, media outlets even produce two separate versions of the news. One for Americans and one for Mexican immigrants, each with their own set of stories.

It could also be that the vast majority of other immigrant groups migrate to the U.S. legally, while most Mexican immigrants over the past decade have come illegally.

In any case, this study clearly shows more study is desperately needed if we can even hope to rectify this growing disparity.


Ed said...

Bravo! Excellent post. Keep up the good work.

Ben said...

interesting...this blog seems to actually be good.

Locomotive Breath said...

Agreed. Excellent post.

I think I'll 'immigrate' this post over to my place (with proper credit, of course).

A few observations about mexican immigrants with an 'aztlan' attitude: Modern tech allows these immigrants to remain insulated from assimilation.

The internet, cable televison, ipods, newspapers, etc. aid in this insulation as never before.

We have whole neighborhoods with no incentive to adapt because their 'homeland', with all its accouterments, are delivered right into their home & neighborhood.

Keep up the good work.