See prescient warnings about immigration, which we ignored

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: Our public policy allowing massive immigration suits the needs of our ruling elites, both Left and Right. Decades of research warned us of the consequences. Here are excerpts, shockingly prescient – and worse, still unknown to most Americans. We ignored the scientists; now we pay the price. Unless we act soon, the consequences will be horrific.

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One terrifying aspect of modern American society is our inability to heed experts’ warnings. There are always a small fringe of anti-intellectuals, such as those who today consider climate science to be a scam and deny that there are greenhouse gases. But more serious is when the majority remains deaf to warnings. Such as with massive immigration.

We have had decades of warnings about the risk of large-scale immigration overwhelming our ability to assimilate them, especially since multi-culturalism has replaced the policy of forced assimilation which worked so well in the early 20th century. We also ignore the economic effects, such as depressing the wages of unskilled workers (to our elites, a feature not a bug).

Most seriously, we ignore that immigrants are not all alike (not like peas in a can, not a unitary category). A common response to concerns about the flood of unskilled immigrants is pointing to the success of affluent and educated migrants (e.g., from East Asia, India). By the 1990s there were warnings that immigrants from Mexico were neither assimilating nor moving upwards as expected (which suggests that those in caravans from farther south might do even worse). But our broken OODA loop makes it difficult for us to heed warnings – and worse, to see and learn.

Look at the warnings from 10 to 20 years ago about the dangers of mass migration. These papers build on a foundation well-established by research looking at both the US and other nations. For more information, see the references in these papers (omitted in these excerpts). These are among the last research looking objectively at immigration. In the early 2000s, the social sciences became full-bore advocates for open borders. Social scientists were purged, leaving only those who see America in terms of white oppression, needing to open its corruption to the sunlight of other cultures. Contrary evidence was thoughtcrime. Publishing dissent was career-suicide for all but the most established.

I open with Lazear’s 1999 paper because it was prescient. Most of the findings and predictions in these papers were obvious even back then. But they are still not seen even now. This is a disturbing sign of the senescence of the Republic’s political machinery. As America approaches its 250th birthday, we face the prospect of either collapse or fundamental renewal.

Culture and Language.”

By Edward P. Lazear in the Journal of Political Economy, December 1999.
He is a professor of economics at Stanford.

Abstract.

Common culture and common language facilitate trade between individuals. Individuals have incentives to learn the other languages and cultures so that they have a larger pool of potential trading partners. The value of assimilation is larger to an individual from a small minority than to one from a large minority group. When a society has a very large majority of individuals from one culture, individuals from minority groups will be assimilated more
quickly. Assimilation is less likely when an immigrant’s native culture and language are broadly represented in his or her new country. Also, when governments protect minority interests directly, incentives to be assimilated into the majority culture are reduced. …

The theory is tested and confirmed by examining U.S. census data, which reveal that the likelihood that an immigrant will learn English is inversely related to the proportion of the local population that speaks his or her native language.

Findings.

Multiculturalism, or the tolerance by a society of many different cultures and languages, seems to be on the rise in the United States. This shows up in a number of ways. One of the most tangible of these is the recent growth of bilingual education. In the past, most immigrants insisted that their children be taught in English so that they could become ‘‘Americans.’’ The growth of multiculturalism, for good or bad, takes the view that Americans speak many languages and have many different cultures.

In 1900, 85% of immigrants were fluent in English. Surprisingly, in 1990, the fluency rate among immigrants was only 68%, despite dramatic improvements in communication during the century. What accounts for the change over time? When do immigrants hold on to their native cultures and languages? Under which circumstances is assimilation most likely to occur? Given that society exists at a point in time with more than one culture, do the benefits from moving to a common culture outweigh the costs of the transition? How do government transfer policies affect assimilation? Is the localization of minorities into neighborhoods a natural outgrowth of maximizing behavior and is subsidized integration welfare enhancing? Is chauvinistic behavior by some societies socially beneficial or merely an emotional response without any social value? These questions are addressed below. The theory is confirmed by an empirical analysis based on U.S. census data from 1900 and 1990. …

Summary and Conclusion.

Individuals from minority groups are more likely to adopt the culture and language of the majority when the minority group accounts for a small proportion of the total population. The incentives are greater for any individual to learn the majority language when only a few persons in the country speak his or her native language. Thus slow and balanced immigration, where the flow of individuals from any one culture is small, results in more rapid assimilation than immigration that favors any one particular group. Individuals from the majority may learn the language or culture of one of the minorities. But it is less likely that the majority will learn a minority language than that a minority will learn the majority language.

Empirical evidence from the 1900 and 1990 U.S. censuses demonstrates conclusively that immigrants are most likely to be fluent in English when they live in communities that have small proportions of individuals from their own native country. Individuals who are from poorly represented groups learn English quickly. Those from groups with large proportions in the local population learn English more slowly. This is a rational response to the differences in the value of learning English across groups. The finding holds up within cultural groups as well as across groups. Some additional points are summarized below.

(1) Government transfers, which place a floor on consumption, reduce the incentives to adopt the majority culture and learn the majority language. …

There were earlier warnings, of course. All ignored.

The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants.”

By Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou.
In the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 1993.
Gated. Open copy here.
Portes is a professor of sociology at Princeton. Zhou is a professor of sociology at UCLA.

Fifty years ago, the dilemma of Italian American youngsters studied by Irving Child consisted of assimilating into the American mainstream, sacrificing in the process their parents’ cultural heritage in contrast to taking refuge in the ethnic community from the challenges of the outside world. In the contemporary context of segmented assimilation, the options have become less clear. Children of nonwhite immigrants may not even have the opportunity of gaining access to middle class white society, no matter how acculturated they become. Joining those native circles to which they do have access may prove a ticket to permanent subordination and disadvantage. Remaining securely ensconced in their coethnic community, under these circumstances, may be not a symptom of escapism but the best strategy for capitalizing on otherwise unavailable material and moral resources.

Mexican Immigration to the United States,

Report of a conference in 2005, the fourth of a series sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research (2007).

Introduction and summary of papers.

by George Borjasprofessor of economics and social policy at Harvard.

There is a great deal of concern over the possibility that the Mexican immigrant influx, which is predominantly low-skill, adversely affects working conditions for low-skill workers already residing in the United States. Similarly, there is a heated debate over the possibility that Mexican immigrants and their descendants may assimilate slowly – relative to the experience of other immigrant waves – and this slow assimilation may lead to the creation of a new underclass.

Reflecting the increased interest on issues regarding the economic impact of immigration, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has held four separate research conferences on immigration in the past two decades. The empirical findings reported here summarize much of what is currently known about the economic impact of Mexican immigration to the United States. …A common theme runs through the essays: The sheer size and uniqueness of the Mexican immigrant population in the United States ensures that the economic impact of this immigrant influx is pervasive and will likely form an important part of the discussion over many aspects of social and economic policy for decades to come. …

Mexican Immigration in the United States: A Brief Overview

The number of legal immigrants admitted to the United States increased substantially in the past few decades, from about 2.5 million in the 1950s to 9.1 million in the 1990s. There was also a marked increase in the size of the illegal immigrant population.

    • In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) granted amnesty to illegal immigrants present in the United States as of 1982. Roughly 3 million illegal immigrants qualified for this amnesty.
    • Despite this legalization, despite higher levels of border enforcement, and despite the introduction of employer sanctions penalizing firms that knowingly hired illegal immigrants, the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimated that 5 million persons were illegally present in the United States in 1996 and that the net flow of illegal immigrants was on the order of 275,000 persons per year.
    • By 2004, the size of the illegal alien population was estimated to be 10.3 million persons, and the illegal population was increasing at the rate of 700,000 persons per year.

The huge increase in the size of the immigrant influx in recent decades can be traced to changes in U.S. immigration policy. …

A key determinant of these various trends is the influx of Mexican immigrants. The population of Mexican-born persons residing in the United States increased at an unprecedented rate in recent decades. During the 1950s, an average of 30,000 legal Mexican immigrants entered the United States each year, comprising about 12% of the immigrant flow. During the 1990s, an average of 225,000 Mexicans entered the United States legally each year, comprising almost 25% of the legal flow. Further, it is estimated that 57% of the illegal immigrants present in the United States in 2004 are of Mexican origin. If one takes into account both legal and illegal immigration, the estimated flow of Mexican immigrants to the United States during the 1990s was around 400,000 per year. The magnitude of this flow was far larger than that of any other national origin group.

The size of the large Mexican immigrant influx of the past few decades is unique not only relative to current immigration, but also even relative to the very large migration of some European national origin groups at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1920, for example, the largest two immigrant populations were those of persons who originated in Germany or Italy, and together those two populations comprised about 23.7% of the foreign-born population at the time ….

As noted in the preceding, in 2004 Mexican immigrants alone account for 28.3% of the foreign-born population. Put differently, the dominant position of Mexican immigration in determining the ethnic composition of the immigrant population represents an important outlier in the history of U.S. immigration. …

{T}he economic pressures for immigration from Mexico probably also helped maintain the momentum. Per capita income in Mexico relative to the United States peaked in the early 1980s at around .27. It fell dramatically during the 1980s, and has not recovered since. By 2000, Mexican per capita income was only 19F of that of the United States. The relative decline in the Mexican standard of living is surely an important determinant of the large increase in Mexican immigration in recent years.

It is important to note that the large increase in Mexican immigration has led to an equally large increase (with a lag) in the number of persons born in the United States of Mexican ancestry. In 1980, 3.1% of the native-born population was of Mexican ancestry. By 2004, 6.3% of the native-born population was of Mexican ancestry. If one combines the population of Mexican-born workers with that of U.S.-born workers of Mexican ancestry, these two groups accounted for 9.3% of the U.S. population in 2004 (as compared to only 3.9% in 1980). The flow of Mexican-born persons to the United States has not shown any signs of abating in recent years. As a result, the demographic and economic importance of the Mexican-origin population in the United States is bound to increase dramatically in the next few decades.

The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States.”

By George J. Borjas and Lawrence F. Katz.
Katz is a professor of economics at Harvard.

The analysis of the economic performance of these immigrants throughout the twentieth century yields a number of interesting and potentially important findings:

1. Mexican immigrants have much less educational attainment than either native-born workers or non-Mexican immigrants. These differences in human capital account for nearly three-quarters of the very large wage disadvantage suffered by Mexican immigrants in recent decades.

2. Although the earnings of non-Mexican immigrants converge to those of their native-born counterparts as the immigrants accumulate work experience in the U.S. labor market, this type of wage convergence has been much weaker on average for Mexican immigrants than for other immigrant groups.

3. Although native-born workers of Mexican ancestry have levels of human capital and earnings that far exceed those of Mexican immigrants, the economic performance of these native-born workers lags behind that of native workers who are not of Mexican ancestry. Much of the wage gap between the two groups of native-born workers can be explained by the large difference in educational attainment between the two groups.

4. The large Mexican influx in recent decades widened the U.S. wage structure by adversely affecting the earnings of less-educated native workers and improving the earnings of college graduates. These wage effects have, in turn, lowered the prices of nontraded goods and services that are low-skill labor intensive.

There is little evidence that the influx of Mexican-born workers into the United States is slowing down as we enter a new century, and there is also little evidence that the skill composition of the Mexican influx is changing from what it has been in the past. The continued migration of Mexican workers into the United States and the inevitable rapid growth of the group of native-born workers of Mexican ancestry suggest that the economic consequences of this low-skill migration influx are only beginning to be felt.

Mexican Assimilation in the United States.”

By Edward P. Lazear.

Immigrants to the United States from Mexico become assimilated into American society much less rapidly than do other groups. A few facts from the 2000 U.S. Census make the slowness of Mexican integration apparent.

1. About 80% of non-Mexican immigrants are fluent in English. Among Mexicans, the number is 49%. …The groups depicted in the graph are the largest subgroups in the 2000 Census. Mexicans clearly have the lowest average levels of fluency. English fluency depends on the amount of time that an individual has been in the country. …Mexicans start below other groups in levels of English fluency when they arrive in the United States and never catch up. The curves never converge. Other Hispanics start above and stay above Mexicans. Non-Hispanics are significantly more fluent in English than Hispanics at all times after arrival in the United States.

2. Non-Mexican (working) immigrants have average wage income of on average $21,000 per year. Mexican immigrants have average wage income of on average $12,000 per year.

3. The typical non-Mexican immigrant has a high school diploma. The typical Mexican immigrant has less than an eighth grade education. Part of this may reflect differences in educational systems of the native country. …

4. Even when compared to other Hispanics, Mexican immigrants fare badly, with 62% of non-Mexican Hispanics being fluent in English as compared to only 49% for Mexican immigrants. Mexican average incomes are about 75% that of other Hispanic immigrants, and Mexican immigrants have about 2.5 fewer years of schooling.

The numbers leave little doubt that Mexican immigrants do not move into mainstream American society as rapidly as do other immigrants.

Three other facts are worth noting. First, Mexican immigrants live in communities where about 15% of the residents are also born in Mexico. Non-Mexican immigrants live in counties where fewer than 3% of the residents are from their specific native land. As I have argued elsewhere, the incentive to become assimilated depends in large part on the proportion of individuals in one’s community who do not speak his native language or share his culture. Correcting for the difference in living patterns eliminates just about half of the fluency difference between Mexicans and other immigrants.

Second, Mexican immigrants account for a much higher proportion of the immigrant population than any other single group. Mexicans are 29% of immigrants in the 2000 Census. Other large groups are from the Philippines, Germany, China, and India and have shares roughly an order of magnitude smaller. Mexico is about 20% larger in population than the Philippines, but has about one-tenth the population of either India or China. This suggests that it is easier to obtain entry to the United States from Mexico than it is from most other countries.

Third, Mexicans come to the United States disproportionately on the basis of family connections. Other groups, most notable, Indians, come in at high levels based on job performance.

Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans.”

By Brian Duncan and Stephen J. Trejo.

One of the most important and controversial questions in U.S. immigration research is whether the latest wave of foreign-born newcomers (or their U.S.-born descendants) will ultimately assimilate into the mainstream of American society and whether the pace and extent of such assimilation will vary across immigrant groups. In terms of key economic outcomes such as educational attainment, occupation, and earnings, the sizeable differences by national origin that initially persisted among earlier European immigrants have largely disappeared among the modern-day descendants of these immigrants. There is considerable skepticism, however, that the processes of assimilation and adaptation will operate similarly for the predominantly nonwhite immigrants who have entered the United States in increasing numbers over the past thirty years …

Mexicans assume a central role in current discussions of immigrant intergenerational progress and the outlook for the so-called new second generation, not just because Mexicans make up a large share of the immigrant population, but also because most indications of relative socioeconomic disadvantage among the children of U.S. immigrants vanish when Mexicans are excluded from the sample. Therefore, to a great extent, concern about the long-term economic trajectory
of immigrant families in the United States is concern about Mexican American families.

Several recent studies compare education and earnings across generations of Mexican Americans …Between the first and second generations, average schooling rises by almost three and one-half years, and average hourly earnings grow by about 30% for Mexicans. The third generation, by contrast, shows little or no additional gains, leaving Mexican American men with an educational deficit of 1.3 years and a wage disadvantage of about 25%, relative to whites. Similar patterns emerge for women and also when regressions are used to control for other factors such as age and geographic location….

The apparent lack of socioeconomic progress between second and later generations of Mexican Americans is surprising. Previous studies have consistently found parental education to be one of the most important determinants of an individual’s educational attainment and ultimate labor market success ….Through this mechanism, the huge educational gain between first- and second generation Mexican Americans should produce a sizable jump in schooling between the second and third generations because, on average, the third generation has parents who are much better educated than those of the second generation. Yet the improvement in schooling we expect to find between the second and third generations is largely absent.

The research …suggests that intergenerational progress stalls for Mexican Americans after the second generation.

Conclusion

Massive immigration is being used by the Right, as it has been for the past century, to hammer down wages. A hard-working, poor working class is politically docile. The Left uses mass migration to build a new people and gain political power. Both ignored research warning of the consequences because neither cares about American society.

Demographic change is among the most powerful tools to irrevocably change a nation. We still grapple with the results of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The stain and the underclass remain with us today. Soon today’s mass migration will make a new America, with a larger underclass and shattered social cohesion.

The Republican Party frustrated Trump’s attempt to drastically slow the flow. If the Democrats win in 2020, they will open the borders. We have little time to act.

 

 

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