The Quiet War against Assimilation Goes Forward

By Brenda Walker
Volume 29, Number 4 (Summer 2019)
Issue theme: "Whatever Happened to Assimilation? - America's Uncertain Future"

As the American population grows to have an ever larger proportion of foreign-born, assimilation becomes more important to maintain a cohesive society, yet more difficult to achieve. Like newbies in previous generations, immigrants often move straight into an ethnic neighborhood populated by their countrymen. It’s just easier to live among fellow foreigners who speak your language, share your values, and understand your jokes. But it prevents assimilation because new residents are unlikely to acculturate if there are no models of American values to follow.

Human nature seems to be hard-wired to prefer one’s own tribe, and our history shows a reliance on the close group of family and clan for safety. Immigrant neighborhoods are a modern expression of that urge.

Some immigrants residing here want their homelands remembered by designation of those ethnic neighborhoods. In 2014 the  Los Angeles Times reported on the idea in an article titled “Advocates seek to carve out official Latin American areas in L.A.” A map included with the story showed streets marked as Guatemalan Mayan Village, Little Venezuela, and such. A leader of the Peru Village effort remarked, “This is us uniting and saying, ‘Hey, we contribute. We belong.’ It’s time we are all recognized.”

Did immigrants in earlier times demand that their tribe be “recognized”?

Sadly, the simple expectation of U.S. citizens that immigrants should eventually become Americans in fact and in spirit has many difficulties, both situational and imposed. Some immigrants work long hours at low-paying jobs that leave little time for learning English and going to PTA meetings. But too many foreigners come only for the American dollar, not understanding that prosperity is the result of a free and productive culture.

Not that long ago, assimilation was expected of immigrants. It seemed a fair deal that when foreigners came here to live permanently, they should learn English, be loyal to America, and adopt our values of liberty, equality, and fairness. But now there are massive educational and media campaigns propagandizing diversity in opposition to traditional integration. Even so, citizens continue to prefer assimilation. A 2011 Rasmussen poll found “An overwhelming majority (73 percent) of voters say people who move to the United States from other parts of the world should adopt America’s culture, language, and heritage.” A 2015 survey by the same pollsters on the topic had fallen to 68 percent favoring immigrant assimilation, still solid although somewhat diminished.

It’s a no-brainer that newbies should assimilate for their own benefit and also to maintain a culturally unified nation, but now mass immigration and the ideology of diversity have marred the idea of acculturation to the nation foreigners have chosen to join.

One sub-topic of assimilation is the place of speaking English in this country, and it continues to poll strongly: a Rasmussen/ProEnglish survey from April 2018 found that 81 percent of Americans believe that English should be the official language of the United States. A Frank Luntz poll from July 2018 found that nearly two-thirds of respondents believed immigrants should be able to hold a basic conversation in English.

But huge and rapid arrivals of foreigners can alter the calculus by changing the people. In some locales of extreme diversity, like Miami, learning to speak English is not necessary and the foreigners can live their entire lives speaking Spanish only.

Problematic for assimilation is its array of enemies, ranging from ideological to political and national.

Some believe that allegiance to the nation-state is a retro concept that needs to be tossed out as too old-fashioned for an increasingly global society. The late political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote in 2004 about “Davos men” — elites who “have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations.”

Those beliefs are reflected in transnational amalgamation projects like NAFTA and the European Union: they were designed to take power further away from the annoying voters who want their local concerns addressed and put into the hands of elites with globalist philosophies.

One group of anti-assimilationists is the immigrant-sending nations, many of which benefit greatly from the remittances sent by immigrants to their relatives still in the home country. For example,$53.4 billion in remittances were sent to Mexico and Central America in 2018. That’s easy money, so the homelands don’t want their emigres to forget about them and drift away into life in the U.S. And we shouldn’t be surprised that poor countries like Guatemala ($7.7 billion in remittances in 2017) and Honduras ($3.8 billion in 2017) want to see their workers relocate to the U.S. and send lots of money home. Preventing illegal immigration does not benefit the homelands at all: they want maximum open borders.

By comparison with its southern neighbors, Mexico is quite rich and routinely scores around 15 on national GDP rankings. But it also has a great number of very poor people, so any freebie stuff than can be mooched from America is a plus. Mexico had an agency under Presidente Vicente Fox then known as the Office for Mexicans Abroad, designed to maintain connections with its emigre community. It was run for a time by dual citizen Juan Hernandez, who remarked on Nightline in 2001, “I want to get the third generation, the seventh generation in the U.S. I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’”

On April 3, Fox News host Tucker Carlson interviewed Hernandez, who is now theSecretary of Migrants and Foreign Affairs for the Mexican state of Guanajuato, and read back a couple of his notable quotes: “Mexican immigrants to the United States are, quote, ‘going to keep one foot in Mexico.’ They are not going to assimilate in the sense of not being Mexican,” and also, “We’ve recognized that the Mexican population is 100 million in Mexico and 23 million who live in the United States. We are a united nation.”

In the same segment, Carlson further explained, “The Mexican government now says it will spend $150 million on a campaign to help convince Mexicans living here in our country to keep speaking Spanish.”

Mexico has big plans for its immigrants to the U.S., but clearly assimilation to American values is not included in the package.

A major player in assimilation should be the schools, because often the original immigrants are too busy with getting physically and financially settled to be involved in cultural integration. So the kids, either born here or little immigrants themselves, have the opportunity to grow up as Americans. And not that long ago, our public schools did the job of teaching American values and history.

Author and historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote an article in 2002 titled, “The Civic Education America Needs,” which described his 1960s school experience in California’s Central Valley, where the classroom demographics were quite diverse:

The class was about 65 percent Mexican-American, 10 percent Asian and African-American, the rest mostly poor rural white whose parents had fled the Dust Bowl. Yet I cannot recall a single reference by our teacher, a native Oklahoman, to race, class, or gender, which might so easily have divided us. Instead, we repeatedly heard that President Lincoln, Mark Twain, and John Henry belonged to a heritage we all shared—that we natives had no more claim on FDR or Guadalcanal than did the new arrivals from Oaxaca or the Punjab.

World War II? We reviewed the “Four Freedoms” to stress how we had no other choice but to destroy the Nazis and Japanese militarists before we could remake their misguided countries on principles similar to our own—which, being far more humane, would ensure that they did not revert to Auschwitz and the Rape of Nanking. The most recent immigrants from Mexico, the Philippines, and India often reminded us more complacent native students just how lucky we were to live in the United States. Even when impoverished newcomers identified with past victims of American intolerance, they still believed that they were beneficiaries of a system that could and would improve and thus always offer them more advantages than any alternative. A sense of humility and balance, achieved through comparison with contemporary societies elsewhere—and confidence in our values, measured against recognition of man’s innate weakness—framed all such debates about the American experience. Contrary to today’s popular mythology about our past, slavery and exploitation were not taboo subjects then. Yes, they were evils, we learned; but their amelioration exemplified the constant moral development that was possible and normal in a country like the United States.

If only today’s schools still presented America as a nation of great ideals and progress, instead of a racist failure.

Out on the left coast, California has been been busy re-interpreting history into a diversity fable where every tribe has its turf, and assimilation is not required. In 2012, Governor Jerry Brown approved a bill encouraging social studies teachers to present material about the bracero program that imported Mexican workers. In 2016, after a decade of study, the state Department of Education rewrote the history curriculum for the more than six million public school students to emphasize diversity. So coming textbooks will enumerate the contributions of Sikhs, LGBTs, Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans, black Americans, Hindus, and every other group that the diversity bean counters could think of. In short, the kids will be studying a modern socialist handbook to train junior activists.

Unfortunately, as other states turn left as a result of excess immigration, they tend to follow California’s bad example.

Today’s educational leaders have apparently given up on excellence as a value that students should pursue: now striving to be the best is considered “acting white.” As observed in a Wall Street Journal article titled “The Attack on Educational Excellence,” Jason Reilly argued that “In the upside-down thinking of affirmative-action advocates, academically rigorous schools should be more focused on achieving racial balance and less focused on maintaining high standards.”


It should be noted that some tribes really don’t want to assimilate into America: they want to live in their ethnic neighborhoods, maintain their own culture, and collect their welfare checks in peace. Somalis come to mind in this regard and are arguably some of the most stubborn. Hostile, culturally inappropriate groups like Somalis are a bad choice for immigrants and cost the taxpayer a pile of money as a result. They arrive with a dislike of western values, and the young men act out via crime, gangs, and Islamic violence.


In January, Minneapolis news reports indicated that violent crimes had increased by more than 50 percent in the “Little Mogadishu” neighborhood of the city from Somali gang activity. In 2015, documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz interviewed young Somali men in Minneapolis with the question of whether they preferred living under Islamic sharia law or the American system. Nearly all said they favored sharia, yet they remain in this country even though their homeland has Islam in abundance. Hint — flights leave for Africa daily.

Lewiston, Maine, is another town overwhelmed by unfriendly Somalis. In 2012, Mayor Robert MacDonald said that the Somalis residing there should assimilate to America. For that normal expectation, the mayor faced protests and demands for his resignation. So it’s not a stretch to say that many Somalis are hostile to the idea of assimilation and becoming American.

Some tribes are simply a bad bet for positive adjustment to this country, and Somalis must top that list. Plus, admitting historic enemies is unwise for a nation that claims to care about national security and public safety.

The ideal solution for failing assimilation would be to end immigration entirely, period, which would stop the input of diverse persons insisting on special treatment. Eventually some might figure out how to be Americans without the hyphen.

Ending immigration is not an extreme idea. As I have written for years, massive job loss from automation is coming and will hit low-skill employment first, making millions of immigrants obsolete as workers. As soon as machines can perform a task more cheaply than a human, the worker will be replaced. Sen. Tom Cotton is a rare politician to see the connection, revealed in a 2018 tweet: “It can’t simultaneously be true that robots will take all the jobs and that the West needs millions of new immigrants to do the grunt work.”

Washington’s stubborn ignorance about the automated future does not serve the people well. When the government acts as if America is the welfare office to the world, multiple evils are promoted. In particular, border anarchy leads to local communities being overwhelmed by needy foreigners, and Third World migrants have abandoned their home countries rather than working for reform there. Diminishing the rescue mentality of mass immigration proponents would be a great benefit for a planet with more than 7.7 billion residents. Unfortunately, there’s too much money in the migration business, both legal and illegal, for it to go away easily.

But there’s no question that too much immigration makes assimilation harder and less valued. Less immigration would definitely be better for America and the world in general.


About the author

Brenda Walker is publisher of the websites and A resident of the San Francisco Bay area, she is a frequent contributor to The Social Contract.