New Research Finds Today's Mexican and Central American Immigrants are Assimilating Quickly
One of the many myths about immigration is that those coming to America today are not learning English and assimilating as fast as immigrants in the past. We have addressed research on this issue before and it's simply not true. Sociologist Claude Fischer has researched assimilation by immigrants for several decades and wrote this for a piece in "Timeline."
Timeline: "Unfortunately, Americans hold a warped collective memory of earlier immigration history. Many assume that the European immigrants of generations past assimilated quickly, unlike Latin American, Asian, or Muslim immigrants today. Not true. Lasting ethnic enclaves like Greektowns and Little Italys were typical. Today’s immigrants actually learn English and forget their native languages faster than did the earlier newcomers."
A new paper by socioligist by David Lindstrom published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science adds to Fischer's work by showing that Mexican immigrants are actually assimilating faster now than ever before, and not just based on language skills.
Pacific Standard: Lindstrom found that Mexican immigrants' linguistic and social integration have steadily increased over the years. "The general trend for Mexican migrants is one of increasing contact and interaction with people outside of the Mexican community, regardless of whether they were temporary, long-term, or settled migrants," he writes.
The CATO Institute reported similar results when looking at assimilation by Central Americans. Most don't speak English when they arrive in the United States, but they integrate into American society and learn the language quickly.
CATO: ... "With less than a year in the United States, already nearly half of Central American adults had found employment in 2016. ... employment rates increase with the length of residence in the United States. Those with more than five years in the United States had an employment rate over 70 percent, more than 10 percentage points higher than the rate for all U.S. adults."
And Central Americans pick up English as fast or faster than the Italian and Polish immigrants of the early 20th century. By the second generation the vast majority are fluent.
CATO: ..."91 percent of [second generation] Americans with Central American ancestry speak English “very well” with another 6 percent speaking it “well”. Only 3 percent speak it poorly or not at all."
And the amazing thing about Mexican and Central American integration into America is that it's happening despite the efforts of many to prevent it. For instance, nearly half of the Central Americans in the CATO study didn't have legal status. Imagine what they could accomplish if they had a path to citizenship.
By: Don & Curated Content