Rice University’s Professor Stephen Klineberg directs an annual survey of opinion in the Houston area. This year’s, released today shows a dramatic increase in unenthusiasm in the city for immigration:
The number of respondents who described the arrival of large numbers of illegal immigrants as a “very serious” problem for Houston rose from 43 percent in 2006 to 61 percent this year. By far the most frequently cited reason for this concern was the perceived strain on public services caused by illegal immigrants. The negative attitudes have spread beyond undocumented immigrants: The proportion of area residents who favor taking action to reduce the number of new immigrants (legal and otherwise) who are coming to America grew from 48 percent in 2004 to 63 percent today.
[Annual study finds Houstonians' attitudes sour toward immigration Eurekalert.org, April 29, 2008]
Professor Klineberg, who also designed the survey, seems frustrated by this:
“No matter how you ask the question,” Klineberg said, “every measure shows growing anti-immigrant sentiment.” The public seems increasingly to believe that the nation is being swamped by a rising tide of unassimilable foreigners that it cannot absorb.
An interesting discovery is that Latino immigrants, particularly the longer established ones, are not especially keen on immigration themselves.
Thirty-nine percent of the Latino immigrants who have been in the United States for fewer than 10 years said the U.S. should admit more immigrants. That number drops to 29 percent among those who have lived in America for 20 or more years, to 25 percent among second-generation Latino immigrants and to just 14 percent in the third generation.
Sadly, the survey, no doubt by design, verges on dishonesty in discussing the question of assimilation. The press release trumpets in its second sentence:
The…survey finds Latino immigrants are quickly assimilating into U.S. society.
The primary evidence of this is income levels:
The proportion of the immigrants who report household incomes above $35,000, for example, grows from 16 percent for those who have lived in the U.S. for nine years or less, to 22 percent and to 42 percent among the immigrants who have been in America for more than nine and more than 19 years; the numbers rise to 52 percent in the second generation (U.S.-born Latinos with immigrant parents) and to 57 percent in the third generation
Earning money, of course has absolutely nothing to do with becoming American, which is a cultural, not an economic phenomenon.
The limited insight into cultural matters the survey offers is, in fact, alarming:
the proportions who think of themselves as “primarily Hispanic” drop progressively from 85 percent among the most recent immigrants to 17 percent in the third generation.
The language news is bad too:
the proportion of the Latino respondents who conducted the interviews in English rather than Spanish grows from 17 percent among the most recent immigrants to 49 percent of those who have lived in the U.S. for 20 years or more, and to 98 percent of the third-generation Latinos.
One wonders if ever before an urban immigrant community would have been so weak in English after 20 years “or more” that it preferred its native tongue. Or whether they would have been given the option on such a survey.
Houstonians however, are not xenophobes:
When asked to assess “the overall impact of the Katrina evacuees on Houston,” a growing majority considers the impact to have been a “bad thing” for the city, rising from 47 percent in 2006 to 65 percent in 2007 and to 70 percent this year.
The local Treason Lobby propaganda sheet, the Houston Chronicle, quickly deployed Lisa Falkenberg for damage control.
Ignorance is costlier than immigrants [April 28 2008] is the conventional number-shuffling shell game, shot through with contempt for the serfs who dare to question the immigration enthusiast agenda:
it's easy to see how well-founded concerns over immigration could have devolved into widespread hysteria after three years of constant politicization and media hype… the media are constantly playing up the "illegal immigrant" angle in crimes such as drunken driving or robbery… Focusing only on the negative perpetuates a climate in which illegal immigrants are demonized.”
Falkenberg, as usual, completely ignores the central issue: what good did all this immigration do US born Houstonians?
Particularly those whose find their children’s education needs neglected while teachers struggle with non-English speakers, who are delayed getting medical treatment and whose hospital bills are inflated by indigent immigrants stealing health care, or whose incomes would have been higher – and so their taxes – without the undercutting presence of illegals.
Happily the Houston Chronicle has a comment thread (at present).
A Houston policeman (apparently) has a much better – or more honest – understanding. Piercessw wrote
I deal with the illegal issue on a daily basis!
The majority of the illegals I stop on traffic stops have NO ID on them. This is so they can give us (police) a fake name, date of birth, etc, so they don't have to be held accountable for their actions.
They often claim they can't speak English....until the tow truck shows up! Boy, they learned broken English real fast!
They often have warrants on the plates of the car they are driving under various names (from the various alias names given to officers).
I would not think about going to another country and driving illegally, but I have illegal aliens pass me all the time speeding, drunk, etc... They know they are safe here in Houston!
Tell Lisa Falkenberg it is time for her to think of her fellow Americans.