Monday, October 28, 2019

Mobility of Newcomers to America: Poor Immigrants Rise?

Lost in the debate about "build the wall," and so forth, is the basic fact that a majority of Americans embraces immigration as a "net plus" to society and our future. Frankly, the debate today is not about legal or illegal immigration or the appropriate levels of newcomers to our country. The debate now, on the left in particularly, is whether to have any meaningful control of our national sovereignty at all. Leftists literally want open borders, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out over the summer.

Putting that to the side, it's fascinating that newcomers to the country, regardless of the country of origin, succeed economically at a rate consistent to patterns of immigration going back over a century. This should be a confirmation of our pride as a "land of opportunity." People come here to seek a better life, to escape political and religious tyranny, and to have a better material life for themselves and for their families.

But, are the sending their best lately? I'm skeptical.

At the New York Times, "Children of Poor Immigrants Rise, Regardless of Where They Come From":

Immigration to the United States has consistently offered a route to escape poverty — if not for poor immigrants themselves, then for their sons.

New research linking millions of fathers and sons dating to the 1880s shows that children of poor immigrants in America have had greater success climbing the economic ladder than children of similarly poor fathers born in the United States. That pattern has been remarkably stable for more than a century, even as immigration laws have shifted and as the countries most likely to send immigrants to the United States have changed.

The adult children of poor Mexican and Dominican immigrants in the country legally today achieve about the same relative economic success as children of poor immigrants from Finland or Scotland did a century ago. All of them, in their respective eras, have fared better than the children of poor native-born Americans. If the American dream is to give the next generation a better life, it appears that poor immigrants have more reliably achieved that dream than native-born Americans have.

The findings, published in a working paper by a team of economic historians at Princeton, Stanford and the University of California, Davis, challenge several arguments central to the debate over immigration in America today. The Trump administration has moved to reorient the country’s legal immigration toward wealthier immigrants and away from poorer ones, arguing that the nation can’t afford to welcome families who will burden public programs like Medicaid. This research suggests that immigrants who arrive in poverty often escape it, if not in the first generation then the second.

“The short-term perspective on immigrant assimilation that politicians tend to take might underestimate the long-run success of immigrants,” said Ran Abramitzky, a professor at Stanford and one of the paper’s authors, along with Leah Platt Boustan, Elisa Jácome and Santiago Pérez. “By the second generation, they are doing quite well.” Keep reading.

President Trump and other proponents of tighter immigration have also suggested that today’s immigrants, predominantly from Latin America and Asia, are less likely to assimilate into the economy than earlier immigrant waves from Europe. This data suggests that is not true. It also shows that Norwegians, whom President Trump has held up as model immigrants, were in fact among the least successful after they arrived.

And then don't forget to read Michelle Malkin's book, Open Borders Inc.: Who's Funding America's Destruction?