Second-, third- and fourth-generation Mexican Americans speak English fluently, and most prefer American music. They are increasingly Protestant, and some may even vote for a Republican candidate.In 2004, Prof Sam Huntington cited evidence in The Hispanic Challenge (in the journal Foreign Policy) showing that the Mexican dislike of education lasts several generations at least. One of the most telling indicators is that only 9.6 percent of fourth-generation Mexican-Americans have a post-high school degree, versus 45.1 percent of Americans as a whole.
However, many Mexican Americans in these later generations do not graduate from college, and they continue to live in majority Hispanic neighborhoods. Most marry other Hispanics and think of themselves as "Mexican" or "Mexican American."
Such are the findings from the most comprehensive sociological report ever produced on the integration of Mexican Americans. The UCLA study, released today in a Russell Sage Foundation book titled "Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race," concludes that, unlike the descendants of European immigrants to the United States, Mexican Americans have not fully integrated by the third and fourth generation. The research spans a period of nearly 40 years.
The study's authors, UCLA sociologists Edward E. Telles and Vilma Ortiz, examined various markers of integration among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas, including educational attainment, economic advancement, English and Spanish proficiency, residential integration, intermarriage, ethnic identity and political involvement. [Mexican American Integration Slow, Education Stalled, Study Finds, Imperial Valley News, March 20, 2008]
It's good to have even more proof that Mexican immigration is a total train wreck. However, the scholars believe the failure to succeed is America's fault rather than the famously education-averse Mexican culture. They conclude that taxpayers should contribute mass quantities of cash for new programs that will somehow succeed when generations of American living have not.
Telles and Ortiz believe that a "Marshall Plan" that invests heavily in public school education will address the issues that disadvantage many Mexican American students.Of course, other immigrant groups, the ones more inclined to pursue progress, have done just fine in the same system.
"For Mexican Americans, the payoff can only come by giving them the same quality and quantity of education as whites receive," they said. "The problem is not the unwillingness of Mexican Americans to adopt Americans values and culture but the failure of societal institutions, particularly public schools, to successfully integrate them as they did the descendants of European immigrants."