BOGUS IMMIGRATION STATS?

Victor Davis Hanson provides some disturbing statistics:

A resistance to fully assimilating into American society and the de-emphasis of “American” in Mexican-American, has impeded the Mexican immigrant population’s upward mobility in California. That notion is borne out by data compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies, the Washington-based public policy group headed by immigration expert Mark Krikorian. Some 65 percent of Mexican immigrants in California are high school dropouts, according to the center, compared to only 7 percent of the native-born population. Some 41 percent of Mexican immigrant households are on the public welfare rolls, compared to 14 percent of natives.

The socio-economic status of Mexican immigrants barely improves over time. Nearly 55 percent of Mexican immigrants are living in or near poverty after residing here in this country more than 20 years. Some 45 percent are without health care after 20 years and 37 percent are still relying on welfare.

The reality is that second and third generation Mexican-Americans are barely better off than their forebears who immigrated to this country.

Hmm. Can this truly be correct? It’s not surprising that Mexican immigrants would be less likely to assimilate, given the sheer numbers and thus ability to live among people of the same cultural background. Ethnic enclaves are nothing new in U.S. history. But could it be that this large a percentage of them are on welfare and dropping out of school? This seems rather unlikely. Does anyone reading this do work on this subject and/or have links to the data?

(Hat tip: John Hawkins)

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John Hawkins says:

    I think most of those stats came from Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies. Personally, I consider him to be a reliable source…

  2. Kevin Drum says:

    There’s something strange about those statistics. Most immigrants come here as adults, don’t you think? And they are automatically high school dropouts, since I imagine most didn’t finish school in Mexico and don’t go back when they get here.

    Perhaps a better measure would be the number of immigrant *children* who are still diploma-less ten years later?

    I also note that the third paragraph does not follow at all from the first two. I don’t know if it’s true, but it certainly seems dubious. The grandchildren of people who immigrated in the 50s are no better off than their grandparents?

  3. melvin toast says:

    I’m with you James. It sounds a bit extreme. One thing to wonder about is whether they are talking about legal immigration or “undocumented” residents. We don’t have a lot of reliable statics on illegals because they’re… well… illegal.

    As for legal immigration, I thought that employment was a requirement. Why are we certifying immigrants who are headed for welfare? The statistics don’t match up with common sense.. Of course reality doesn’t always make sense.

  4. Cuauhtemoc says:

    I’d trust the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for welfare analysis.

    http://www.cbpp.org/4-14-03wel.htm

    More so than I’d trust CIS, which has a dog in the immigration policy fight bred by the anti-immigrant, hatemongering godfather John Tanton.

    http://www.splcenter.org/intelligenceproject/ip-4v1.html

    Per the Center on Budget, CIS’s concept of “welfare” includes participation in Medicaid’s state-administered child health program, which seeks to insure the uninsured. Given that immigrants in Los Angeles are disproportionately represented in jobs that don’t provide health insurance, expect their kids to participate in this highly lauded program.

    The drop out numbers are also misleading. They’re purposefully muddling the numbers by including those who didn’t actually drop out of US schools.

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/index.jsp

    While immigrants from Mexico may not have finished 12 years of elementary and secondary school, it’s been my family experience (father, uncles, mother) that Mexicans get the same vital education (reading, math, civics) by the 8th grade in Mexico than we do in the U.S. by the 12th. Some call them drop-outs, in Mexico their called graduates.

    The CIS number is sure to include undocumented immigrant workers also (so highly speculative). Still, even these workers they are not a drain on the public welfare system. For one, they are ineligible for all public services other than emergency room health care and elementary and secondary public education (but if they’re not going, then no drain, right?).

    In fact, notwithstanding the lower educational attainment levels, Latinos (and Mexicans in particular) have higher workforce participation rates than non-Latinos.

    http://www.nclr.org/policy/briefs/SB%203%20Latino%20workers-FNL.pdf

  5. BigFire says:

    I wonder how much of this is due to the so-call Hispanic political leader’s effort of turning Spanish into the official language of California. They need an un-informed, unassimilated masses that’ll do their bidding. What better way of controlling them then by keeping them poor and dependant on government?

  6. Cuauhtemoc says:

    BigFire – what so-called Hispanic leader has called for making Spanish the official language of anywhere?

    It’s funny, all of the local and national organizations that advocated on behalf of Latino educational needs seem to be funding and running language training and calling for ESL programs to teach new Americans English. And, if you’d ever deign to actually watch a broadcast on a Spanish language TV channel, you’d note the ironic phenomenon of commercials for English language self-educational tapes. I don’t recall any of the anti-immigrant groups and pro-official-English groups advocating for English language training, even in the private sector.

  7. melvin toast says:

    I think it’s time for free-market capitalist to clear their brains and realize that immigration exists because of market demand for cheaper labor. Illegal immigration exists because unions have lobbied for an immigration policy that makes easier and more attractive to immigrate illegally.

    Fact of the matter is that businesses are employing illegals because it’s good for business. If it’s good for business, it ought to be good for America. And once we have a policy where hard working people can easily come here and work legally, we won’t have to deal with the race card backlash when we want to deport the criminals or those who only desire government support.

    Actually we’d probably have to deal with the race card either way. Interesting to me how once again, the party of the underdog is really the party of oppression. The unions gave us this problem.

  8. Our policy on immigration is about as sensible as Prohibition: we pretend that we don’t want these people, that we don’t *depend* on them to keep California running (as well as Texas, Florida, etc.–plus, increasingly, far-flung places like the Upper Midwest).

    Then we deny them legal status because of the way they got here.

    I mean, I agree with Arnold that everyone should jump through the same hoops–but how about making those hoops available to those who need to get there, whose labor we depend upon anyway? People who come here to bust their butts?

    I’m as conservative as the next girl, but there’s definitely a huge amount of genuine xenophobia out there. And there’s a big game of “let’s pretend” going on. (Let’s pretend, for instance, that native-born Americans would take those jobs. Get real: We’re too spoiled and soft to do a lot of this work. We just rely on these people and than rant and rage against them. It’s just a bit much.)

  9. tc says:

    The CIS report, which used the March 2000 CPS, is here:

    http://www.cis.org/articles/2001/mexico/toc.html

    California’s PPIC finds similar results with the 1996-1999 CPS:

    http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=159

    It’s false to say that second generation immigrants don’t do better than their parents; they in fact get more schooling and make more money (but still get less of both than whites). The third generation, however, doesn’t seem to make more progress, which is a worrying sign.

  10. Uncle Ken says:

    I disagree with the premis Mexicans are as pitiful as you paint them.
    Should Mexico deport the nearly one million Americans living in there Country. I am sure not all of them are following Mexican laws.
    When American are willing to preform jobs Mexicans do then Mexicans will be forced to stay home.
    Its called supply and demand no Government in a free socity can regulate that. If you feel the need to blame someone blame Congress for a botched immigration policy.

  11. Uncle Ken says:

    I disagree with the premis Mexicans are as pitiful as you paint them.
    Should Mexico deport the nearly one million Americans living in there Country. I am sure not all of them are following Mexican laws.
    When American are willing to preform jobs Mexicans do then Mexicans will be forced to stay home.
    Its called supply and demand no Government in a free socity can regulate that. If you feel the need to blame someone blame Congress for a botched immigration policy.

  12. Jose says:

    Once there was a worker permit allowing labors to come and work for six months. It was
    ended by Robert Kennedy in 1968 he sold out for the votes of the border states.
    If there where a documented worker program it would solve many problems. drug trafficing, ilegal immagration, so-called welfare ripoffs
    education costs. I din’t say it would solve all the problems but it would help.

  13. cj says:

    For Jose, Sept 6:

    “If there where a documented worker program it would solve many problems. drug trafficing, ilegal immagration, so-called welfare ripoffs
    education costs”

    Can you provide some links or cite resources for this claim? I’m not saying I disagree, only that I’m ignorant of the basis for such claims.

    Being 40, I thought that at one time this country *did* have a “documented worker” program (I’m pretty sure that memory is correct). Perhaps the program no longer exists?

    And, if so, I’d further ask, what is the drive for recognition of Mexican National I.D. cards (not sure of the terminology) and issuance of “drivers licenses” to illegal immigrants, other than “documented worker” programs?