A Message To The President Of Mexico: Americans Are Not Anti-Immigrant

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On October 7, Fareed Zakaria hosted the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for a one-on-one talk (if we exclude the translator) on CNN. They spoke, among other things, about immigration.

Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto regretted what he labeled as anti-immigrant language some were using in the United States and reminded us that America was a country “whose origin to a great extent is one of migration and that’s why it’s unfortunate to hear this exclusionary and discriminatory tone regarding the migration flows into the United States.”

We, at FAIR, also oppose any anti-immigrant rhetoric as well as recognize America’s immigrant legacy. Having said that, it might be useful to remember other basic facts:

Of the 41 or so million immigrants in the United States (13% of the US population – more than double the 1980 percentage), Mexicans comprise by far the largest group with almost 12 million – 29% of all immigrants. Most are unskilled. Almost 60 % of all illegal aliens present in the U.S. are from Mexico. 

Almost 62 million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, an all-time high.

The number one language spoken at home was Spanish 38.4 million. The second was Chinese by three million.

Constant Mexican immigration to the United States throughout the 20th Century resulted in the presence of the largest, multigenerational (four or more) immigrant group on American soil. This large-scale immigration led to the creation of numerous “ethnic enclaves”. In fact, more than half of all Mexican immigrants live in two states: California and Texas. Under these particular conditions, integration (not to mention assimilation) is hard to achieve.

Moreover, and according to Harvard economist George Borjas, we are witnessing today a slowdown in the economic assimilation of immigrants. The speed at which immigrants assimilate and the size of their immigrant group in the U.S. are highly correlated. The slowdown, therefore, occurred in those groups that were largest in size in the U.S. That would be the Mexican group.

More facts according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI):

Less than one-third of all Mexican immigrants have strong English-language skills.

71 percent of Mexican immigrants were Limited English Proficient (LEP).

Mexican immigrants are less likely to be university graduates (compared to all immigrant adults).

They are also more likely to live in poverty (than the native or foreign-born population overall).

America is indeed the result of a melting pot but what many fail to recognize is that immigration successes and failures are not static; what worked in the past does not necessarily work in the present. Needs, aptitudes, opportunities, as well as circumstances differ in time.  Moreover, past immigration flows are not identical to those we are witnessing today, not only in number but in origin. While Europeans accounted for 97% of immigrants in the 1890s, they were only 12% in 2010. The world has dramatically changed as well. In an increasingly interconnected world, current immigrants can and do retain contact with their homeland on regular basis (this is particularly true for Mexicans in view of their geographical proximity to the U.S.). Cheap and fast travel, internet, phone, television, all sorts of accessible media and modern tools of connection affect today’s migratory experiences and encourage cultural preservation. Integration is rendered more difficult while self-sufficient enclaves are formed.

The melting pot is no longer melting, and if I were to be indulgent with my play on words, I would say it is rather frozen for the time being.

No, Americans are not anti-immigrant. But I can see how convenient it is for some to make such accusations. Americans in favor of immigration reduction and the strict enforcement of immigration laws are not racist. They know that today’s immigration levels are harming the American worker (while providing immense gains for American employers of immigrants as well as immigrants themselves).  They have the right to self-determination and, through their elected representatives, should be able to admit or refuse entry to immigrants according to their desires, needs and laws.

I will leave the final words to Barbara Jordan (whose legacy we should never forget): “Immigration, like foreign policy, ought to be a place where the national interest comes first, last, and always.”

Allow us, President Peña Nieto, to defend our national interest, as, I am sure, you are yours.

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10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Exactly right. We are pro-citizen and pro-borders, whereas those fighting for more immigration and less enforcement of our immigration laws are anti-citizen and anti-borders.

  2. avatar
    Larry Glickfeld on

    The argument that we are a “nation of immigrants” is completely absurd. Don’t those who make this argument have a clue that things are a bit different in this country now than they were 100 – 150 years ago? It’s not like we’ve got plenty of habitable wide open space and unlimited resources and job opportunities. In California, where a huge percentage of these immigrants have settled, we don’t even have enough water. When it comes to immigration, let’s consider the reality of the 21st century — not what it was like way back when….”

    • avatar

      Exactly right, Larry. The difference between when our ancestors immigrated here than the Mexican immigrants of today is that our ancestors didn’t receive government support (there was none), compared to the majority of immigrants who receive some form of assistance. I think that’s what really pisses off and scares most Americans is the millions of dollars that the hard-working tax-payers are regularly forking out to support them and the many babies they pop out. What a great country, huh? In addition, like you mentioned, how many more people can this land hold and jobs do we have to sustain them?

    • avatar

      The operative phrase here is “we are a nation.” Backward-looking open-borders advocates from within and without the United States intentionally blur that focus. While America came about because of conquest and migration, so did every other nation. Even indigenous peoples came to their lands from somewhere else, likely Africa. So let’s discard that lame argument now. Going (and looking forward), we must not allow ourselves to be distracted from the notion that sovereignty undefended is a nation upended. The importance of borders, language, customs, culture and history cannot be understated.

  3. avatar

    I would have to say this Mexican president has to be a borderline idiot. If he concentrated on getting the growing of drugs out of mexico and have the Mexican people grow food to eat and sell legally a good amount of Mexicans just might want to say in Mexico.

  4. avatar

    Look whose talking! Mexico government, itself, is involved in human trafficking. What sane government would let people risk their lives and that of their children to take treacherous trips across 1000’s of miles? They want all that goes with the U>S>, including the 20 billion dollars or so that is sent back to their country.
    No, Senior President e, why would you let all these desperate people risk life or limbs on the top of that old rickety train or trample thru wretched, brush and land when it is so dangerous?
    And why can you not provide safety, education and a sustainable living for your citizens?
    Your economy is getting better but your attitude of this country and what it owes you and yours is way out of line.
    Same for those television Hispanic news talk show hosts – who declare crime is so bad in your country because of the insatiable appetite of Americans for drugs.
    Return our Marine, immediately, ban transportation on top of the train and start taking care of your citizens!
    Americans are generally, wonderful people and you have no room to speak ill of our country or any of our citizens.

  5. avatar

    The US Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor. If all illegals are given amnesty, they will no longer be cheap and would be able to file with the US Department of Labor on substandard working conditions. That would cancel any economic value for US business and is why amnesty will never happen.

    According to Pew, only about 10% of American business participate in the largely voluntary e-verify program for obvious reasons. American business just shifts their labor costs to local county property owners in increased welfare, healthcare and education costs. Mandatory E-verify means No job, No money, No reason to stay. Self deport or starve. American workers suffer due to a flooding of the labor market driving down wages and bankrupting the local social safety net. The only costs the Feds pay is for food stamps under the Agriculture Department.

  6. avatar

    I love the way you say that many immigrants speak a language other than English “AT HOME” You make it sound, to those not familiar with language learning of immigrant populations, as if they only speak ONE LANGUAGE. You of course covered the real truth by including the words AT HOME.

    The real truth is that the native language, whatever it is, of immigrant populations is spoken at home tin an attempt to have the children remember their parent’s language and thus be bi-lingual. Children learn a new language (English) as soon as they set foot in school. In fact I fight their parents fight a real battle with them to try to get them to retain their Spanish. Kids want to speak English, watch English TV etc.
    I would love to be able to speak two languages. Many Europeans speak two, three or four languages and I have yet to see any problem arising from this.

    As to college……how can you have the undocumented achieve a college degree when it’s virtually impossible for them to go to college even with outstanding grades etc. Where do you stand on the “Dreamer” issue?

  7. avatar

    I think that the Mexican President has a lot of chutzpah given one of the groups hurt most by mass illegal and legal immigration from Mexico is black Americans, and that he has no problem being “exclusionary” towards people who are illegally present in Mexico.

  8. avatar

    Yes FAIR

    We are in a completely different population demography planning in 2014 than 1850, albeit the open border pundts can’t grasp that 3rd grade science I guess. They see resources and water as “never ending”.