Freedom Folks

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mexicans: Don't Assimilate?

Source: aeaweb

This is from a paper by Edward Lazear, President Bush's top economic dog.  I think he may not have gotten the "illegal immigrants are delightful" memo...
By almost any measure, immigrants from Mexico have performed worse and become assimilated more slowly than immigrants from other countries. Still, Mexico is a huge country, with many high ability people who could fare very well in the United States. Why have Mexicans done so badly? The answer is primarily immigration policy. The US lets in far more immigrants from Mexico than from any other country. As a result, there are large Mexican enclaves in the US.  Theory and evidence suggests that those who live in highly concentrated communities do not assimilate as quickly, have lower wages, and poorer educational attainment. The fact that Mexicans live in highly concentrated communities explains some, but not all of the difference between their performance and that of other immigrants. The rest may be a result of immigration policy, through which the bulk of Mexicans enter the US on the basis of family ties, rather than job skills.
Read the rest, it's very interesting.  I think it speaks a lot to the importance of culture, and how culture shapes our lives for good or ill.  For a person to get the full measure of benefit from America an immigrant must want to become an American.  If an immigrant tries to hold on to both cultures I think they end up with neither in the end.

That's not to say I think there's anything wrong with immigrants celebrating the culture they grew up in, my Grandparents were German and, oh my God, we ate German stuff when I was a kid.  But they were also fiercely American as well and they instilled that love of country in me.

Culture matters, to pretend otherwise is foolish.  Why is it our southern neighbors cannot seem to maintain functioning economies or democracies?

It's not magic, it's culture.

H/T Lonewacko

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