Latin American Migration in the Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

These indicate that they will not assimilate into the American way of life like European predecessors or Asian immigrants. Huntington estimates that, at worst, America will divide into an English-speaking "Anglo-American" and a Spanish-speaking MexAmerica. In addition to immigration woes, the second threat consists of identity politics and cultural relativism, which will undermine the current "Anglo-American" culture. The Mexican wave will reject individualism and uphold group rights. The last threat to American identity is the declining patriotism among leading bureaucratic, business and intellectual elites. Their new values oppose the traditional patriotism of the majority of the American public. This opposition is detrimental to political trust and solidarity.

Most recent U.S. Census data substantially confirm massive immigration from Mexico.

The growth of the Hispanic population is almost half of the growth of the total U.S. population. This translates to one in 7 who has Hispanic roots. Recent statistics say that 40% of recent immigrants come from Mexico alone. Birth rates are also high among these newcomers. But according to 2000 Census, Hispanics were dispersing throughout the U.S. And into more integrated neighborhoods, rather than concentrating in the southwest region. Cross-sectional data are insufficient to predict or estimate assimilation. Comparing their assimilation with that of European and Asian immigrants is a problem because of the lack of such survey data and the changing classifications of ethnicity by the U.S. Census. Language may make the comparison possible. A lot of the available evidence does not include illegal immigrants from Mexico. Their actual number is difficult to estimate but is likely to have been integrated into the American mainstream. They are less educated, more likely to be employed in agriculture and other low-paying jobs, speak Spanish and live in ethnic enclaves. This under-representation points to an over-estimation of the language and political assimilation of the first-generation Mexican immigrants. At the same time, the exclusion of illegal immigrants from participation in American politics means that they have not affected national identity and national policy very much.

The U.S. Census data and local surveys provide evidence on the speedy acquisition of English and the dissipation of Spanish among the second-generation Latin immigrants.

These are, however, lower among these immigrants than non-Hispanic immigrants. Nonetheless, the rate of language assimilation between generations of Hispanic immigrants is either equal to or faster than among non-Hispanic immigrants. And living in ethnic enclaves may retain the use of Spanish, but it does not slow down the learning of English.

Data on the adoption of "Anglo-Protestant" work ethic by Mexican immigrants are limited on the importance of religion and church attendance.

Hispanics seem as religious as whites and work as hard to get ahead. But as of now, Huntington presages the rise of "MexAmerica" wherein citizens will give primary loyalty to Mexico rather than the United States. But findings of present data reveal a sustained belief in the value of the current national identity. Ethnics, particularly Hispanics, view themselves as "just an American" when describing their ethnic attribute. Otherwise, they consider themselves "ethnic-American" when making a choice between the alternative loyalties. This self-view, however, signifies that a kind of political assimilation is still underway. Patriotism is higher among them than other immigrants. This sentiment does not diminish even when they refer to themselves as "just an American." Very strong connections among the structural, cultural and political aspects of immigrant assimilation must exist before they create challenges. In the case of Mexican immigration, they do not.

Huntington fears the threat of a "segmented" instead of a "straight-line" assimilation in the MexAmerica premonition.

In this scenario, the lower status groups will remain socially and culturally separated. The data gathered by the research team suggest that young and better-educated Hispanics today are more identified with America than whites or blacks. They are also more patriotic and recognize the importance of quality public education. Their social, economic, and emotional ties to Mexico appear to diminish with each generation. This indicates an assuring upward mobility for these new immigrants that effectively eases the challenge posed by Huntington. The rest of the evidence offered by gathered data suggests that Mexican immigration is not a threat to American national identity.

Hunting may have based his apprehensions on the diminishing nationalism and patriotism among the academic, business and media elites.

But these groups may now view assimilation in another way. It may now mean the acceptance of values by dominant groups in a given society, the impact of globalization, and multiculturalism among these elite groups. Americanization may even cease to mean the commitment to the time-honored "one-nation" ideal.

Smith writes about the need of the hour to formulate a pertinent law, which respects the dignity of immigrant cultures. At the same time, it will recognize and serve the national interest in controlling our borders more securely. Even those who favor continued high rates of migration do not all agree to a too prohibitive structure at present. They tend to agree more to Peter Schuck's "pragmatic restrictionist" policies. Pragmatic restrictionists are people who are open to the argument and levels of the actual effects of immigration will be. The influence of Mexican-Americans over U.S. immigration laws is only one matter. These groups may have the right to organize themselves according to their purposes. But they are also obligated to recognize the interests of the greater national community over their ethnic purposes. This can be done without veering into realms of being "un-American" racist.

There are three basic reasons for a skeptical U.S. government policy towards the large number of Mexican immigrants at present.

They are largely uneducated and unskilled and may reduce the wages of other work groups. A liberal policy will not cohere with the current inhospitable wage and educational system towards unskilled immigrants. And the majority of these immigrants prefer to live in the southwest -- California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas -- which some historians fear can be considered Mexican.

Hypothesis and Method

The hypothesis is that Mexican immigration poses a threat to American national identity. This study uses the descriptive-normative research method in recording, describing, interpreting, analyzing and comparing gathered pertinent data from authoritative and updated sources.

Summary of Findings and Conclusion

Massive Mexican migration since 1900 has created apprehensions, which present threats to the American national identity and interests. The current growth rate of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. is now half the total U.S. population itself. About 1/5 of young and working-age Mexican males live in the U.S. today. They are less educated, poorly skilled and concentrate in poor neighborhoods in the Southwest, which can be considered Mexican jurisdiction. These immigrants come to the U.S. To improve their living and working conditions. The U.S., on the other hand, wants to control illegal migration while filling its own labor needs. Huntington proposes that current conditions in Latin immigration threatens American values, identity and values in these ways.

An examination of current U.S. Census data and local surveys conducted in select points in the Southwest shows that these apprehensions are not warranted. However, there is a need for a balanced law, which will respect ethnic rights and interests at the same time make immigrants recognize those of the greater national community.


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Hanson, Gordon H. And McIntosh, Craig M. The Great Mexican Emigration.

School of International Relations and Pacific Studies: University of California

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2010 from

Esmeralda Rodriguez-Scott, "Patterns of Migration to the United States," 2002, Center for International Studies/University of St. Thomas, 25 Oct 2010



Roberts & Franks 1999 as qtd in Scott


Paul A. Jargowsky, "Immigrants and Neighborhoods of Concentrated Poverty," 2006, National Poverty Center: University of Michigan. 26 Oct 2010


Gordon H. Hanson and Craig M. McIntosh, "The Great Mexican Emigration," 2008, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies: University of California


Mexico Institute, "The Hispanic Challenge," 2004, Wilson Center

ibid ibid ibid

Jack Citrin et al., "Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?," 2007, Journal Perspective in Politics: American Political Science Association

ibid ibid ibid ibid ibid ibid ibid

Tony Smith, "Ethnicity, Immigration and the American National Community," 2001, Center for Immigration Studies: 24 Oct 2010 http://www.cis/org/NationalCommunity-EthnicityImmigration

ibid ibid

Sources Used in Document:


Citrin, Jack et al. Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity? Journal Perspective in Politics: American Political Science

Association, 2007. Retrieved on October 24, 2010 from

Hanson, Gordon H. And McIntosh, Craig M. The Great Mexican Emigration.

School of International Relations and Pacific Studies: University of California

Cite This Research Paper:

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