The Problem with Latino Immigration into the U.S.

By Lawrence E. Harrison
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 25, Number 3 (Spring 2015)
Issue theme: "How many is too many? The challenge of Latino immigrants"
http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_25_3/tsc_25_3_harrison_1.shtml




The problem in which the current immigration is suffused is, at heart, one of numbers; for when the numbers begin to favor not only the maintenance and replenishment of the immigrants’ source culture, but also its overall growth, and in particular growth so large that the numbers not only impede assimilation but go beyond to pose a challenge to the traditional culture of the American nation, then there is a great deal about which to be concerned.
—Richard Estrada, late columnist for the Dallas Morning News, letter to author, January 13, 1991

The United States must get serious about the tide of legal and illegal immigrants, above all from Latin America. I don’t think I am overstating it when I say that the non-acculturation of Latinos is now the chief social problem of our country—and that it will become the chief national problem before too many more years. Samuel Huntington was on the mark once again in his final book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, in which he points directly at immigration from Latin America as the principal threat to our unity as a nation, because Latin America’s Ibero-Catholic value system is incompatible with the Anglo-Protestant system that is our bedrock.

Huntington was gravely concerned by the evidence that Latinos were not “melting”—and by the related phenomenon of the Spanish language challenging English, as we appear to be becoming, willy-nilly, a bilingual country, with all the divisiveness that phenomenon implies.

Thus, it’s not just a short-run issue of immigrants competing with citizens for jobs or the number of uninsured straining the quality of health care. Heavy immigration from Latin America threatens our cohesiveness as a nation.

In his recent book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, Charles Murray presents a well-documented case that America is coming apart at the seams—seams of class, not ethnicity. My concerns are focused on ethnicity, specifically Latino ethnicity. The political realities of the rapidly growing Latino population are such that President Obama may be the last president who can avert the permanent, vast underclass implied by a Census Bureau projection that Latinos will constitute almost one-third of our population by 2050—which virtually ensures the United States will become a bilingual country.

Sound like the concerns of a right-wing “xenophobe” or “nativist”? I’m not. I’m a lifelong Democrat; an early and avid supporter of President Obama; the grandson of Eastern European Jewish immigrants—and a member, along with several other Democrats, of the advisory boards of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Pro English.

Moreover, although I am gravely concerned about the flood of immigrants from Mexico, and Latin America more generally, and mindful of the requirement for periodic assessments of need, I welcome immigrants from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and India, whose swift acculturation and hugely disproportionate contribution to our progress contrasts strikingly with those of Latino immigrants.

The Asians’ rapid upward mobility is evidenced by their numbers at our most prestigious universities. Comprising about 5 percent of the U.S. population, Asians recently constituted 41 percent of undergraduates at the University of California at Berkeley, 27 percent at MIT, 24 percent at Stanford, and 18 percent at Harvard.

Comparable numbers for Latinos are depressing: At 16 percent of the total population, and constituting three times the Asian population, Latinos accounted for a fraction of the Asian numbers at these universities (e.g., 7 percent of MIT students).

Latinos: The OECD Program for International Student Assessment

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) comprises thirty-four countries: the members of the European Union; the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; Japan and South Korea; Israel; and Chile, Mexico, Slovenia, and Turkey. The OECD is the home of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses mathematical literacy, scientific literacy, reading literacy, and problem solving for students in its member countries every three years starting in 2000. The 2009 PISA ranked the United States twenty-fifth in math and twenty-first in science, precipitating a lot of handwringing on the part of the media, government officials, and educators. However, analysis of the 2006 PISA results for science disaggregated by white and Asian, Hispanic, and black students presents a strikingly different picture.

U.S. white and Asian students ranked seventh, with 523 points (the OECD average was 500 points), after Finland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands. But the U.S. white and Asian students were ahead of South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and several other high-income countries including Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and the other four Nordic countries (excluding Finland).

.However, U.S. black students were at the bottom of the list, after Greece, Turkey, and Mexico, and the increasingly numerous U.S. Hispanic students were fourth from the bottom, behind Greece. When the three American groups were combined, the national total fell to 489 points—twenty-first of thirty.

Traditional Concerns of the Democratic Party

Concerns about the impact of immigration on low-income Americans preoccupied the distinguished Democrat Barbara Jordan when she chaired the congressionally mandated U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform during the 1990s.

Beyond the immigrants themselves, the principal beneficiaries of our current immigration policy are affluent Americans who hire immigrants at substandard wages for low-end work. Harvard economist George Borjas has estimated that U.S. workers lose $190 billion annually in depressed wages caused by the constant flooding of the labor market at the low-wage end. I might add that remittances sent to Mexico by immigrants approximated $21 billion in 2010, and to Latin America about $59 billion.

The health care costs of the illegal workforce are especially burdensome and are subsidized by taxpayers. To claim Medicaid, you must be legal, but as the Health and Human Services inspector general found, forty-seven states allow self-declaration of status for Medicaid. Some hospitals and clinics are going broke treating the constant stream of uninsured, many of whom are the estimated 12 million to 15 million illegal immigrants, a large majority of whom are from Latin America, the large majority of those from Mexico. This translates into reduced services, particularly for lower-income citizens.

The Burgeoning Latino Population—and Its System of Values

The Pew Hispanic Center reports:

The 2010 Census counted 50.2 million Hispanics in the United States, making up 16.3 percent of the total population of 308.8 million. The nation’s Hispanic population, which was 35.3 million in 2000, grew 46.3 percent over the decade, and even more sharply in many Southeastern states. Overall, growth in the Hispanic population accounted for most of the nation’s growth—56 percent—from 2000 to 2010. Among children ages 17 and younger, there were 17 million Latinos, representing 23 percent of this age group, up from 17 percent in 2000.

I should point out that the Latino population is probably greater, and possibly substantally greater, reflecting the reluctance of illegal immigrants to get involved in the official census.

Population growth is the principal threat to the environment via natural resource use, sprawl, and pollution. And population growth is fueled chiefly by immigration. Consider what this, combined with worrisome evidence that Latinos are not melting into our cultural mainstream, means for the United States. Latinos have contributed some positive cultural attributes, such as multigenerational family bonds, to U.S. society. But the same traditional values that lie behind Latin America’s difficulties in achieving democratic stability, social justice, and prosperity are being substantially perpetuated among Hispanic Americans.

Several prominent Latin Americans have concluded that traditional values are at the root of the region’s development problems, among them Peruvian 2010 Nobelist in literature Mario Vargas Llosa; Mexican Nobelist author Octavio Paz; Teodoro Moscoso, architect of Puerto Rico’s successful Operation Bootstrap; Ecuador’s former president Osvaldo Hurtado; Costa Rican ex-president Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1987; and Mexican-American author Ernesto Caravantes.

Vargas Llosa has this to say:

The culture within which we live and act today in Latin America is neither liberal nor is it altogether democratic. We have democratic governments, but our institutions, our reflexes and our mentalidades are very far from being democratic. They remain populist and oligarchic, or absolutist, collectivist, or dogmatic, flawed by social and racial prejudices, immensely intolerant with respect to political adversaries, and devoted to the worst monopoly of all, that of the truth.

Octavio Paz answers the question “What lies behind the contrasting experiences of Mexico and the United States (and Canada, the third of the North American Free Trade Association partners) with respect to broad-based democratic development?”

One [society], English speaking, is the daughter of the tradition that has founded the modern world: the Reformation, with its social and political consequences, capitalism and democracy. The other, Spanish and Portuguese speaking, is the daughter of the universal Catholic monarchy and the Counter-Reformation.

In 1966, Teodoro Moscoso, architect of Operation Bootstrap and the first U.S. Coordinator of the Alliance for Progress, John F. Kennedy’s answer for Latin America to the Cuban Revolution, wrote a retrospective on his years with the Alliance:

The Latin American case is so complex, so difficult to solve, and so fraught with human and global danger and distress that the use of the word “anguish” is not an exaggeration. The longer I live, the more I believe that, just as no human being can save another who does not have the will to save himself, no country can save others no matter how good its intentions or how hard it tries.

Moscoso, who had been my boss once removed when I started to work in the Latin American Bureau of USAID in 1962, had a sign on the wall in his office on the sixth floor of the State Department that read, “Please be brief. We are twenty years late!”

Osvaldo Hurtado’s article, “Know Thyself: Latin America in the Mirror of Culture,” appeared in the January–February 2010 issue of The American Interest. In it, he cites the writings of the Venezuelan author Carlos Rangel:

Latin Americans now largely accept the idea that our position of inferiority vis-à-vis the United States is due . . . to that country’s exploitation of our subcontinent through the mechanisms of imperialism and dependency. Thus we have fallen prey to the most debilitating and pernicious of several myths through which we have tried to explain our destiny. This myth is debilitating because it attributes all that is wrong in Latin America to external factors. . .

A sincere, rational, scientific examination of North American influence on Latin America’s destiny would have to . . . keep open the possibility that the United States’ overall contribution may have been positive…

Rangel concluded that at the root of Latin America’s problems is neither dependency nor exploitation, but a set of cultural values that impede the consolidation of democratic institutions, the advance of social justice, and the achievement of economic development. I am convinced that he was and remains correct, and that cultural change is indispensable to the region’s long-term, sustainable progress.

In its January–February 2011 issue, Foreign Affairs published as its lead article an essay by Costa Rican ex-president Oscar Arias titled, “Culture Matters: The Real Obstacles to Latin American Development.” Arias, who had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts at promoting peace in Central America, wrote:

Instead of a culture of improvement, [Latin Americans] have promoted a culture of preservation of the status quo. Constant, patient reform—the only kind of reform compatible with democratic stability—is unsatisfying; the region accepts what exists, while occasionally pining for dramatic revolutions that promise abundant treasures only one insurrection away.

Ernesto Caravantes, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, had this to say in the preface to his 2010 book From Melting Pot to Witch’s Cauldron: How Multiculturalism Failed America:

I was at one of my book signings some time ago when a woman raised her hand to speak. She was a Mexican immigrant, and she told me that she had a 13-year-old son, whom she is raising here in southern California… her son is an American citizen by virtue of his birth. She said she makes it a point to tell her son of all the virtues and wonderful aspects of Mexico. She wanted her son to be proud of his Mexican heritage.

What she said gave me pause. Presumably, this woman and her husband had immigrated to the United States in search of a better life for their family. Mexico had failed them on multiple levels. The United States was seen as the country most able to offer educational and occupational opportunities. Why, then, would they have left a failed country to come to the United States to raise their children and then exalt Mexico, a country which they were only too willing to leave behind?

This stands in stark distinction to the European immigrants who flocked to this country in the nineteenth century. Upon landing on the eastern seashores, they cut all ties with their mother country and immediately began to forge for themselves an American identity. They did not force feed their children the language of the mother country, be it Danish, Norwegian, or Dutch. Yes, perhaps they did lose a part of their cultural identity, yet that loss was quickly replaced by a new forward-reaching identity: an American identity. Their quick adoption of an American identity, combined with industriousness and hard work inspired by their Protestantism, quickly allowed them to begin prospering and building metropolises that have become so iconic in the American landscape.

Samuel Huntington captured the cultural implications for immigration from Latin America into the United States when he wrote in Who Are We?: “Would America be the America it is today if it had been settled not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish, or Portuguese Catholics? The answer is no. It would not be America; it would be Québec, Mexico, or Brazil.”

Low Latino Priority for Education

Latin America’s cultural problem is apparent in the persistent Latino high school dropout rate—30 percent in California, according to a recent study—and the high incidence of teenage pregnancy, single mothers, and crime. The perpetuation of Latino culture is facilitated by the Spanish language’s growing challenge to English as our national language. It makes it easier for Latinos to avoid the melting pot and for education to remain a low priority, as it is in Latin America, a problem highlighted in recent books by former New York City Deputy Mayor Herman Badillo, a Puerto Rican, and Mexican-Americans Lionel Sosa and Ernesto Caravantes.

In his 2006 book , One Nation, One Standard: An Ex-Liberal on How Hispanics Can Succeed Just Like Other Immigrant Groups, Badillo underscores “the distressingly low level of educational achievement among Latin Americans in their own countries.” For example he cites Mexico, which had established 10 years of education as “compulsory” but had achieved only an average of 7.2 years. The Latin American leader was Chile with 12 years compulsory and 10.1 years achieved. Haiti was the lowest with 6 years compulsory and 2.8 years achieved.

Badillo showed the United States with 12 years compulsory and 12 years achieved. This presumably bulks college graduates with high school graduates considering particularly the high dropout rates of Latinos and African Americans.

Based on a broad survey, the Pew Hispanic Center produced data for 2007 that showed that 50.6 percent of foreign-born age twenty-five and older Latino immigrants had dropped out of school before completing high school; 23.5 percent of Latinos born in the United States had dropped out. This compares with 19.8 percent of African Americans and 10.5 percent of white Americans. The Washington Post reports, “Second-generation Hispanics have the highest high school dropout rate—one in seven—of any U.S.-born racial or ethnic group and the highest teen pregnancy rate. These Hispanics also receive far fewer college degrees and make significantly less money than non-Hispanic whites and other second-generation immigrants.”

The troublingly low level of educational achievement of Latinos brings with it several other problems:

High teenage birth rate: According to a University of California San Francisco 2002 study, “Latinas [had] the highest teen birth rate of all major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S., resulting in an increasing number of young Latina mothers and children who are especially vulnerable to poverty, lack of health care, and welfare dependence. . . 83 births per 1,000 teenage women aged 15–19 in 2002, a rate nearly twice as high as the national rate of 43. Birth rates were highest for Latinas of Mexican descent (94.5), followed by those of Puerto Rican descent (61.4).”

High incarceration levels: “[A] study, conducted by the Pew Center on the States, found that among Latino men, one in every 36 is incarcerated. One in every 15 black men is incarcerated . . . compared to one in every 106 white men.”

Welfare dependency: Department of Health and Human Services data for 2005 show 6.7 percent of whites, 24.9 percent of African Americans, and 14.6 percent of Latinos who receive some sort of welfare assistance.

The contrast between Latinos and African Americans must be kept in a perspective that magnifies the Latino problem: In the 2000 census, Latinos numbered 35.3 million, or 12.5 percent of a total population of 281.4 million; African Americans numbered 34.7 million, or 12.3 percent. In the 2010 census, against a total of 308.8 million, Latinos numbered 50.2 million, an increase of 16 million that raised their share to 16.3 percent, while African Americans grew only by 4.3 million, with a share of 12.6 percent. Moreover, the Census Bureau projections for 2050 would bring the Latino segment of the population to 132.8 million, or 30 percent of the total, compared to an African American segment of 65.7 million, one-half the size of a Latino segment to which it was equal in the 2000 census.

A Bilingual United States

We are becoming a bilingual country; witness the experience of calling a business and hearing, “If you wish to speak in English, press one; si quiere hablar en español, oprima el botón número dos.” Never in our history has an immigrant language acquired the power to compete with English for a prolonged period anywhere in the nation. As Huntington points out in Who Are We?,

The continuing growth of Hispanic numbers and influence has led some Hispanic advocates to set forth two goals. The first is to prevent the assimilation of Hispanics into America’s Anglo-Protestant society and culture, and instead create a large, autonomous, permanent, Spanish-speaking, social and cultural Hispanic community on American soil. Advocates, such as William Flores and Rina Benmayor, reject the idea of a “single national community,” attack “cultural homogenization,” and castigate the effort to promote the use of English as a manifestation of “xenophobia and cultural arrogance” . . .

The second goal of these Hispanic advocates follows from the first. It is to transform America as a whole into a bilingual, bicultural society. America should no longer have the core Anglo-Protestant culture plus the ethnic sub-cultures that it has had for three centuries. It should have two cultures, Hispanic and Anglo, and, most explicitly, two languages, Spanish and English…

A choice must be made “about the future of America,” the Duke professor Ariel Dorfman declares: “Will this country speak two languages or merely one?” And his answer, of course, is that it should speak two.

Huntington goes on to point out that Latinos in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Chicago can live their lives substantially in a Spanish-speaking environment. Heretofore all immigrant groups made sure that their U.S.-born offspring were native speakers of English, which usually resulted in the native language being substantially lost to the third generation.

Now, a Spanish-language television network, Univisión, competes with the major U.S. networks. My friend since college days and colleague Reese Schonfeld, the first president of CNN and the media person on the Cultural Change Institute’s executive committee, periodically brings to my attention such information as the following:

Adults are beating a path to Univisión, and we’re beating the other networks.

• We’ve beaten NBC 64 out of 112 nights with adults 18–49 in primetime . . .

• We deliver more bilingual Hispanics 18–49 than American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or Modern Family.

• 18 of the top 25 shows with bilingual Hispanics are on Univisión.

The game has changed. If you want to win with the Hispanic consumer, click here.

I am, I guess, a fairly good example of the heretofore typical language acculturation pattern of immigrant groups in the U.S. My Yiddish-speaking grandparents learned English as adults; both of my parents spoke Yiddish but were native speakers of English—and they often spoke Yiddish so that my brother and I wouldn’t understand what they were saying. The result is, sadly, that I know some Yiddish words and expressions but can’t understand it or speak it. (I say “sadly” because Yiddish is a dying language, even though it has contributed many words to modern American English, e.g., bagel, lox, nosh, schlep, schmooze, tush.)

Huntington cites Senator S.I. Hayakawa of Hawaii on Spanish’s unique supporters:

Why is it that no Filipinos, no Koreans object to making English the official language? No Japanese have done so. And certainly not the Vietnamese, who are so damn happy to be here. They’re learning English as fast as they can and winning spelling bees all across the country. But the Hispanics alone have maintained there is a problem. There [has been] considerable movement to make Spanish the second official language.

One need only look at other bilingual countries (e.g., Canada, Belgium) to sense what divisiveness may be in store for the United States, above all as the Latino component of our population soars toward one-third. On October 28, 1975, the NewYork Times, published a highly atypical editorial, given its current pro-immigration posture, titled ‘‘Divisive Languages.” Consider a few of its key points:

Viewing the growing language conflict in Canada, Americans can be grateful that this country has no great region of non-English-speaking citizens…[T]he…Canadian situation tragically demonstrates the awesome power of bilingualism to perpetuate differences within a country, deepen antagonisms and make national politics an endless walk on an ethnic tightrope.

Immigrants to America have naturally formed language enclaves, but the sooner their children have learned to think, speak, and write in English, the greater has been their mobility, the better their chances of success and the freer their country from the friction of clashing cultures…

Language and Culture

Language is the conduit of culture. Consider that there is no word in Spanish for “compromise” (“compromiso” means “commitment”) nor for “accountability,” a problem that is compounded by a passive reflexive verb structure that converts “I dropped (broke, forgot) something” into “It got dropped” (“broken,” “forgotten”).

As the USAID mission director during the first two years of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, I had difficulty communicating “dissent” to a government minister at a crucial moment in our efforts to convince the U.S. Congress to approve a special appropriation for Nicaragua. The minister was the scion of an upper-class Nicaraguan family who had studied at a U.S. university. Yet he was buffaloed by the concept of dissent as a legitimate, even indispensable, democratic concept. After an extended effort on my part to explain, his face brightened, and he exclaimed, “Now I understand what you are talking about—civil disobedience!”

I was later told by a bilingual, bicultural Nicaraguan educator that when I used the word “dissent,” what my Nicaraguan colleague understood was “heresy.” “We are, after all, children of the Inquisition,” he added.

In his letter to me in 1991, Mexican-American columnist Richard Estrada addressed the consequences of bilingualism: Estrada believed that, in the long run, the language problem in the U.S. southwest may prove to be greater than in the case of Québec:

[F]or Québec...does not lie contiguous to France.... The Southwest, on the other hand, shares a 2,000-mile long border with a Spanish-speaking country of at least 85 million people [in 1990; 112 million in 2010], hundreds of thousands of whom yearly move to the U.S., or who reside with one foot in one country, the other in the other. The twin factors of geographic contiguity and rate of immigration must give pause. No one can witness the growth of Spanish-language media in this country and fail to believe that things are headed in the direction of a parallel culture. And that is the point: bilingualism has generally militated against assimilation. It has promoted a parallel culture instead of a subordinate one.

Huntington poses the problem in even stronger terms, with which I agree:

Despite the opposition of large majorities of Americans, Spanish is joining the language of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelts, and Kennedys as the language of America. If this trend continues, the cultural division between Hispanics and Anglos will replace the racial division between blacks and whites as the most serious cleavage in American society. A bifurcated America with two languages and two cultures will be fundamentally different from the America with one language and one core Anglo-Protestant culture that has existed for over three centuries.

Jim Ruvalcaba’s Mission

Jaime “Jim” Ruvalcaba was, in 2004, a U.S. Marine major in the masters’ program at Tufts University’s Fletcher School when he first participated in my seminar, “Cultural Capital and Development.” I arranged for him to meet with Samuel Huntington. We stayed in touch after he returned to the Marine Corps, and, after retiring from the Corps as a lieutenant colonel, and as a student at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, he participated in my seminar once again in the fall of 2011.

Jim retired from the military because he wants to dedicate his life to encouraging Latino immigrants to acculturate to the U.S. value system, above all by giving heavy emphasis to education. Ultimately, he is thinking of running for Congress from California, his home state. What follows is derived from his term paper, “The Economic and Social Impact of Latino Immigration.”

Growing up as an indigent migrant farm worker in California and living among legal and illegal immigrants confirmed to him that Latino families (especially those of Mexican ethnicity) focus much more on family than on community and the broader society. Furthermore, their dominant focus on the present and past, and the absence of role models, preclude many Latinos from visualizing the benefits of investing in education.

One particularly noxious result of these cultural obstacles to progress has been the emergence of Latino gangs. The Department of Justice National Gang Center estimated that, in 2009, there were 731,000 gang members of all types operating in the United States; 367,000—more than 52 percent—were Latinos. Although the total number of gang members had declined by over 115,000 in thirteen years, the proportion of Latino involvement in gangs had increased by five percent, while that of black and white Americans had both decreased.

Gangs also expose their family members to emotional and psychological trauma, injury, and death. Ruvalcaba can attest to the emotional pain associated with losing a family member to the corrosive gang lifestyle. His closest brother was involved in gangs from the age of sixteen. During his six-year involvement in gangs, he dropped out of school, was in and out of juvenile hall and prison, fathered two children by age eighteen, and was engaged in violent gang activity (i.e., shootings, stabbings), and heavy drug use. Because of this dangerous lifestyle, Ruvalcaba’s brother did not live to see his twenty-second birthday.

Ruvalcaba finishes his presentation with a clarion call to replace multiculturalism with the U.S. national cultural mainstream:

Samuel Huntington was absolutely correct in addressing the important issues regarding the slow or non-assimilation of the massive flow of Latinos into mainstream American society. Although there are many productive Latinos in the U.S. who are fully assimilated into the American culture, we have to pay attention to the alarming current indicators and trends among Hispanic-Americans that validate Huntington’s warning.

After analyzing the Latino legal and illegal immigration flows, education levels, welfare utilization, gang involvement, incarceration rates, and the costly, parasitic...subculture that prevents Latino youth from assimilating into mainstream society, I conclude that it is of the highest national priority that assimilation of Latinos be vastly accelerated. The social and economic costs are too high to continue to tackle this challenge piecemeal. Accordingly, the government, religious organizations, media, corporate sector, and, first and foremost, Latino families must come together to address this threat to Latino youth—and to American identity.

The motto on our national seal reads “E Pluribus Unum” (“From Many One”). This motto needs to be the guiding theme for our immigration policy and especially our assimilation philosophy—not the multiculturalism that is without core values. Although I acknowledge the value of ethnic diversity, we must exercise caution in espousing the multiculturalist perspective that states that all cultures are equal—regardless of evidence to the contrary, and the costs with which it burdens society.

The multiculturalist viewpoint is not only costly to our society’s present and future; it tolerates the status quo (low or non-assimilation) as an acceptable level of comportment. Our national identity and political integrity depend on a unified vision—a national creed. We can and should do better: E Pluribus Unum!

The National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) are all committed to the multicultural vision—and are receiving support from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. A new pro-acculturation organization might be a crucial actor. And what better person to lead it than Jim Ruvalcaba? One possible name: LATUSA—Latinos for the USA.

What We Must Do

• We must end illegal immigration by enforcing the laws on employment and strengthening our control of our southern border.

• We should calibrate legal immigration annually to: first, the needs of the economy, and, second, past performance of immigrant groups with respect to acculturation and contribution to our society.

• We should declare our national language to be English and discourage the proliferation of Spanish language media.

• We should end birthright citizenship, limiting citizenship by birth to children with at last one parent who is a citizen.

• We should provide immigrants with easy-to-access educational services that facilitate acculturation, including English language, citizenship, and values.

About the author

Lawrence E. Harrison was Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer (2002-2013) at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he also directed the Cultural Change Institute. He is the author of Underdevelopment Is a State of Mind; Who Prospers?; The Pan-American Dream; The Central Liberal Truth; and Jews, Confucians, and Protestants: Cultural Capital and the End of Multiculturalism, in which this article appears as Chapter 9. Harrison was co-editor, with Samuel Huntington, of Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress. Between 1965 and 1981, he directed USAID missions in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, and Nicaragua. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest.

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