Democrats & Liberals Archives

It's Still A Melting Pot

I ran across a really good article by Joel Kotkin about America’s dynamic multiculturalism of the streets. It’s a really upbeat assessment of how America is successfully assimilating the latest round of immigrants despite hand wringing by intellectuals, politicians and pundits. To paraphrase Stevie Nicks, “America changes color, but America does not change.”

Kotkin says it's natural for new immigrants to initially cluster together in enclaves, start businesses there, and provide services to others like them. They always have. But today our immirants assimilate at a more rapid pace because mainstream American consumer culture actively targets immigrants and, conversely, easy access to capital and markets allows these immigrants to quickly stamp their cultural imprint on the American mainstream. -- think El Pollo Loco, Ricky Martin, and Panda Express.

Linguistic trends show a similar trajectory. Despite fears of an emerging Babel, Latinos and Asians are becoming ever more English-dominant. Ninety percent of Latino high school graduates prefer to speak English over Spanish. This is largely a matter of generational change. The Spanish-dominant first generation is becoming a progressively smaller percentage of the Latino population. By 2040 the second generation is expected to double while the third generation, the vast majority of whom speak no Spanish at all, will expand threefold.

...Culturally-oriented industries may be first to spot the trend. Already, long dominant Spanish language radio stations in Los Angeles are losing out to rock-oriented English-language stations that appeal to Latino youths. Spanish language theaters have been going out of business all over southern California, in large part because youthful moviegoers prefer English.

To sum up the article, Kotkin sees integration thriving and predominantly market driven. America is assimilating our new immigrants and new facets of American culture are emerging, just as they did a century ago when America successfully assimilated the Irish, Italians and Jews.

To be sure, this culture fusion will not please some conservative intellectuals, who will not look kindly on the incorporation of Spanishisms into our daily language... For the most part, however, this informal, undirected and mostly market-driven form of integration bodes very well for the continued dynamism of both American culture and economy.

It guarantees that America will remain youthful, changeable and, very likely, strongly family-oriented. And it points to a major difference within the civilizational West -- for most European countries have yet to figure out how to blend and thrive as has the United States.

It is truly fascinating and more than a bit exciting to be an American right now. And I guess it helps that I love tacos and Szechuan cooking, as well as pizza, potatoes, curry beef and sausages -- and, oh yeah, hot dogs and hamburgers. Yum! Viva rey Chalupa!

Posted by American Pundit at May 15, 2006 10:30 AM
Comments
Comment #148300

AP, you are confusing too different issues. Immigration and multiculturalism which America is famous for and has every right to be proud of. And he other is ILLEGAL immigration which constitutes the most serious of security breaches to our nation’s people.

Catch-up, the dialogue has gone way beyond illegal immigration 101, is it good or is it bad? Illegal immgration is a violation of our laws. I know Democrats, just like Republicans, favor selective enforcement of laws for their benefit. But that practice must end.

We are becoming a nation of ever more laws, and less and less enforcement of them, thanks to Democrat and Republican incumbents playing political games with the laws designed to protect our nation and our children’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #148318

“It’s a really upbeat assessment of how America is successfully assimilating the latest round of immigrants despite hand wringing by intellectuals, politicians and pundits.”

This article is just another intellectual’s viewpoint. Check out Samuel Huntington’s “The Hispanic Challenge”.

He concludes that the Hispanic population are the slowest to integrate. Further, this is not a debate about immigrants, this is a debate about the integrity of our borders, which are being constantly undermined by illegal immigration.

As for the respective authors, it’s impossible to say whose assessment is more accurate.

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 15, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #148321

David, I’m only writing about one issue. I didn’t mention illegal immigration at all.

I’m just happy to see that all the people who think immigrants from south of the border don’t assimilate are full-on wrong.

Also, I thought the argument that assimilation is driven by the market was interesting.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #148328

AP,

There is not doubt in my mind that assimilation will continue in the U.S. I think the point is right on. While some conservative intellectuals may not like it, it certainly doesn’t bother this conservative that we have some Spanish seeping into every day English. There has always been some lending of language that accomponies new immigrant populations. Where would we be without Oi vay and amour in our lexicon?

As to the food, you left out my new favorite bi bim bop. Almost as good to eat as it is to say.

Posted by: Rob at May 15, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #148339

We are enriched by legal immigration.

Not by massive, uncontrolled immigration.
Especailly not by massive, uncontrolled, illegal immigration.

What’s going to happen is that elitist Republicans and Democrats will both still refuse to deal with the issue, despite the vast majority of U.S. citizens that want illegal immigration stopped now.

But, amazingly, voters will keep sending billion$ in campaign donations, and keep re-electing those very same irresponsible incubment politicians that ignore the voters.

When will voters finally get fed up with elitist government that ignores the voters? Probably, not until the damage of everyone’s irresponsibility and negligence is too far out of control.

Bush’s efforts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants appear to be hurting him politically. 70% of the public said his handling of immigration poor or fair on immigration. That is the lowest rating he received on any foreign policy-related issue.

The majority of U.S. citizens are not falling for the following myriad of opposing arguments, but refuse to hold their elected officials accountable for continuing to ignore the voters, decade after decade.

  • Tradition: We are a nation of immigrants; we can not pull up the drawbridge now, unless we dismantle the Statue of Liberty. Otherwise, we are all hypocrites.

  • Economics: The U.S. will crumble without illegal aliens. We need immigrants to pay the Social Security of the Baby Boomers when they begin to retire. Immigrants do jobs Americans won’t do. Who would pick our produce? Who would make the beds and wash the dishes?

  • Humanitarianism: It is selfish to put the needs of poor Americans ahead of more desperate people in other nations by denying them entry into our country. The U.S. is obligated to share with others. Largescale immigration is a significant way for the U.S. to help the impoverished people of the world.

  • Diversity: Increasing diversity through immigration is necessary to be true to our civil rights principles. Opposition to illegal immigration is racist. We are obligated to accomodate millions of immigrants per year because our strength is our diversity; the diversity of immigrants made America great. And, Christopher Columbus was the first illegal alien, and we stole the land from the Indians.

  • Irredentism: We have no right to secure U.S. borders, because U.S. borders are illegitimate to start with. The U.S. really belongs to the Indians other neighboring nations, to start with.

  • Cornucopianism: The free market and technology will save us. We need illegal aliens to grow out of our massive debt problems. They will become new tax payers, and we can grow our way out of debt.

  • Globalism: Environmentalism and population problems are global, requiring global solutions. Securing the U.S. borders is futile, since it is inadequate to deal with globalization.

If we keep that up, the end result will be the continued burden (net losses over $45 billion per year) and destruction of the following systems:

  • Medicaid,

  • welfare (32% of illegal aliens receive welfare),

  • education,

  • Social Security (already $12.8 T in the hole),

  • Medicare (already in serious trouble),

  • law enforcement, prisons (29% of all incarcerated are illegal aliens, costing billion$ in CA. alone),

  • healthcare, CDC,

  • E.R.s and hospitals (84 closed/closing in CA.)

  • insurance,

  • and voting systems

The end result may be that those systems become so abused, that they will essentially have to be discontinued, and we will finally disprove the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 15, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #148341

AP, I quote from your article: “It’s a really upbeat assessment of how America is successfully assimilating the latest round of immigrants…”

That statment includes illegal immigrants, being that they are by far the greatest number and among the latest round of immigrants.

Perhaps you meant to qualify and didn’t. I was responding to what you wrote, not what you meant to write, which of course, I would have had no way of knowing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #148371

Thanks AP,
For showing the fear in the eyes of those that fail to see the benefit of the multiculturalism that has been here for years.I was born on Cinco de Mayo. I didn’t know it was a holiday until I moved to Texas. It’s nice having celebrations all over town when it’s your birthday. I find the fear mongering over the invasion of the latinos frankly offensive. I don’t hear cries for enforcement of the laws that create the illegal problem. I don’t hear cries for the enforcement of laws that prevent the undermining of labor law. All I hear is build a wall, ship ‘em home. The corporations are laughing at this stupidity all the way to the bank. The Republicans have skillfully twisted this issue as a border control issue. It isn’t. It’s a screw the working class issue. There wouldn’t be illegals coming if there weren’t recruiters looking for them.

Posted by: gergle at May 15, 2006 5:34 PM
Comment #148415

gergle, nice spin, but you don’t get away with it. It is not Latinos which are the problem. It is the illegal aliens defying our nation’s ability to enforce our laws that is the problem. 40% of illegal immigrants are NOT from Mexico. Many come from the Middle East, Asia, and other non-Latino nations.

Don’t try to make opponents of illegal immigration out to be racist. That is a Republocrat tactic that doesn’t fly anymore.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #148416

Gergle,

There aren’t many days that go by when I do read a liberal response to the immigration issue bashing Bush for not securing the border.

I’m continually confused why liberals like yourself that see this issue as a Capital one. It sounds remarkably similar to arguments raised against desegregation in the South 40 years ago. If amnesty is granted doesn’t that add 15 million new legal workers to the marketplace? No more off the books, under the table payments. Everyone has to make at least minimum wage. All workers would then be afforded the protections of the worker safety act.

Posted by: Rob at May 15, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #148434

David,
Why aren’t you advocating going after these employers with their illegal profiteering? Why not go after those illegal gains the way we go after drug dealers? Seize their assets. Illegal immigration would stop tommorow. You sound more corporatist than racist to me.

Rob,
I have no problem with amnesty. A defered amnesty based on application is reasonable. It is reality anyway. I will not be a part of loading up the railcars like the Nazi’s did. Will You?


Posted by: gergle at May 15, 2006 8:15 PM
Comment #148446

As to building a wall and securing the border, this is not an exclusive Republican or Democrat fault.

The truth is, we don’t have a serious border problem with terrorists entering to my knowledge. If we did, I suspect the military would move in quickly. The drug trade is fueled by the prohibition laws. Legalise it like Mexico’s leaders had the clarity to propose and you’d kill that problem. You could then begin to deal with the medical problems of addiction, saving tons of money.

We didn’t seem to have problem legalizing gambling when a new revenue source was needed. I haven’t heard the hew and cry about that, except from phoneys like Ralph Reid who profit from their cynical manipulation of that position.

Frankly, walls went out with the Iron Curtain and aren’t effective. except in war conditions as revetments. Policy is what controls “illegal” border crossing. I don’t fear invasions from Mexico or Canaada anytime soon.

Posted by: gergle at May 15, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #148468

Nice try at changing the subject gergle. But, you did not respond to what I communicated in my reply to you.

As for employers of illegal immigrants, what makes you think I support them? Please quote. Otherwise, apologize for misrepresenting what I think. As if you could fathom what I think in the first place. The thoughts I wish to share are recorded. So, please, by all means, quote a paragraph of mine which support employers of illegals.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #148469
There wouldn’t be illegals coming if there weren’t recruiters looking for them.

I just read about that recently. Most illegal immigrants are recruited by US firms while they’re still in Mexico, are given corporate help to cross the border and then driven to their new under-the-table jobs in company cars.

You’re absolutely right that if jobs were not available to illegals, they wouldn’t bother coming here.

As for legal immigrants, my house is in San Diego. I grew up with sons and daughters of immigrants. Hell, I’m a third generation immigrant on one side of the family. Every experience I’ve ever had with immigrants backs up Joel Kotkin’s article: Immigrants from Mexico and Asia are assimilating smoothly into America at a rapid pace.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #148470

gergle said: “The truth is, we don’t have a serious border problem with terrorists entering to my knowledge.”

Let’s see if I understand this logic. Terrorists abound in the world who would love to take out a few thousand or million Americans. Our borders are open seives through which unknown persons by the millions come across each year, not to mention thousands of pounds of other illegal contraband. But, because a dirty bomb has not been set off in an American city by an illegal alien terrorist, YET, “we don’t have a serious border problem with terrorists”.

Nope, I tried, but, I can’t seem to find the logic in that conclusion. Way over my head I guess.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #148471

Hey Rob, I had to look up bi bim bop. It’s funny that the first ingredient is listed as “Korean rice”. Aren’t we shipping American rice to Korea as part of some trade agreement now? Are they shipping it right back to us as Korean rice? I bet they jack up the price along the way. You gotta love globalization. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #148474

AP, you mean except for the thousands in our prisons or who have been deported, or who have gone underground in the drug smuggling multi-billion dollar industry in America. Yeah, except for those, they probably have assimilated nicely.

Latino gangs now overwhelm all other racial gang groups in most American cities. Reported in the media just in the last 8 weeks. Of those who are illegal aliens, I suppose you could call gang membership, assimilation into American culture. America has had gangs for centuries.

Being born and raised in Detroit, the Purple Gang was most talked about while I was growing up. Being purple, they must have been illegal aliens from Neptune :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 15, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #148475

gergle,

There are already reports of arrested members of Al Qaeda trying to cross the border.

Also, it is untrue that Americans are trying to give a free pass to greedy employers of illegal aliens. Most Americans want greedy employers of illegal aliens punished, but the government refuses to enforce the laws.

The U.S. must also make changes to verify citizenship to verify eligibility for welfare, education, healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other abused systems.

Yes, voters should be outraged with greedy employers and politicians that keep ignoring voters, despite the large majority that want the problem addressed now.

Culpability is as follows (1=least to blame, … 6=most to blame):

  • (1) illegal aliens that are simply looking for work and a way to support their family. It is hard to be angry at those illegal aliens; but that does not justify amnesty or cutting to the front of the legal immigration line ;

  • (2) voters, that ignored the problem for 20+ years;

  • (3) illegal aliens that abuse U.S. public benefits (e.g. 32% of illegal aliens receive welfare, Medicaid, Foodstamps, Medicare, Social Security, healthcare, drive about without a driver’s license or auto insurance, and use fake IDs).

  • (4) greedy employers of illegal aliens

  • (5) irresponsible incumbent politicians that are now attempting to pit U.S. citizens and illegal aliens against each other, and will forget all about this issue immediately after the November elections (as usual).

  • (6) criminal illegal aliens. 29% of all prisoners in our federal, state, and local prisons are illegal aliens. These all represent crimes that should have never happened.

When you portray those as wanting to stop illegal immigration, as fear mongers, you hurt your own argument. But, that is understandable, because the pro-illegal alien supporters really have no leg to stand on. The U.S. is well within its rights, legally and ethically, to seal its borders if it wishes.

I doubt it will happen soon, but if politicians vote for amnesty or a worker guest problem (which is essentially just another amnesty like that in 1986), and continue to ignore this problem, they might want to start preparing their resumes, because the numbers of illegal aliens will continue to grow, and voters will grow increasingly upset, as the burden increases on their education, healthcare, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, E.R., hospital, law enforcement, border patrol, prison, and voting systems (costing a net loss to U.S. citizens of $45 billion per year).
And, this is just one of many things voters are upset about. Their patience is growing thinner and thinner, and will continue to for quite some time to come.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 15, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #148480
Being purple, they must have been illegal aliens from Neptune :-)

Or big Donny Osmond fans. Remember, one of the points of my article is that the American culture market is driving assimilation. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #148484

BTW, I don’t know why you guys keep trying to drag illegal immigration into this thread. The article is only about the 1 million/year legal immigrants successfully assimilating.

It’s as if no one wants to hear any good news. You doom-and-gloomers across the political spectrum descend like ravens every time I write about something good. Jack, you know what I’m talking about. Help! :)

Posted by: American Pundit at May 15, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #148510

America is not a melting pot, America is a bowl of marbles. As far as I can tell, the different races and nationalities in this country will never come together enough to ” melt “. Instead we bang against each other like so many glass marbles, until somebody gets chipped.
Tonite, President Bush said he was going to send 6,000 troops to the border. Are we trying to keep illegal immigrants out or in? This is starting to resemble a police state. Federal I.D. cards are just around the corner.

Posted by: Scott Burgoyne at May 15, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #148532
Federal I.D. cards are just around the corner.

So is the Nookewlur War With Canada* - which will herald the glorious reign of President-For-Life Darth Cheney, the American Empire’s first Cyborg Commander In Chief!


*[The Nookewlur War With Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BushCo., Inc., a Halliburton Industries company. The Nookewlur War With Canada may not be rebroadcast or otherwise distributed without the express written permission of BushCo., Inc. and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NAMBLA). All Rights and Privileges are hereby suspended indefinitely.]

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 15, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #148580
AP wrote: It’s a really upbeat assessment of how America is successfully assimilating the latest round of immigrants
AP wrote: BTW, I don’t know why you guys keep trying to drag illegal immigration into this thread. The article is only about the 1 million/year legal immigrants successfully assimilating.

Oh…sorry, when you first said immigrants, I assumed you meant all immigrants (legal and illegal).

Posted by: d.a.n at May 16, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #148642

AP,

I agree with the general sentiment of your argument. I don’t buy the glass marbles argument. There are currently more individuals that declare themselves as mixed races on the census than ever before. That trend will continue. Successful assimilation is good news. Not surprising though. I took a course in college on the sociology of immigration 15 years ago. Most of the results showed the same thing happening then too.

Gergle,

How did my response in anyway give you the idea that I’d be for “loading up the railcars?” How did your response address my point that the Capital argument has the timber of segregationist arguments made 40 years ago.

Posted by: Rob at May 16, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #148823

I don’t buy the glass marbles argument either, Rob. My home is in San Diego, and as I said — despite the hand wringing of some intellectuals — immigrants from Mexico are assimilating just fine.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 17, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #149076

David, et al:

The problem is your focus is on the immigrants. They are the victims of their circumstance. The same nonsense has been espoused by provincials for centuries. This problem is an economic undermining by profiteers of our laborers.

If Al qaeda is streaming across the border, please let me see your evidence of that. Somehow I don’t think they are going to attack Laredo, Texas. They have bigger plans in mind. There are more effective ways of pursuing them. I didn’t say don’t monitor the borders, just building a wall is both isolationist and a waste of money. The new Iron Curtain. I’m so proud. And It won’t work!!!
Go after the employers…it stops tommorrow. Any
Idea that a wall or a moat will protect you from the evil terrorist is straight out of the middle ages.

Rob, I frankly don’t get your notion that making hiring illegals a crime is segregationist or how that applied to the black segregation.I didn’t propose drinking fountains or separate schools. I didn’t say hiring hispanics was a problem, the ID system does need to be addressed. But I guess you can believe that hiring someone below the existing market is patriotic and all- American.

As to loading up railcars, how do you propose exiling 11 million people then, forced march?

AP, I agree that they assimilate just fine, too.

Posted by: gergle at May 17, 2006 9:07 PM
Comment #149186

Gergle,

Let me be clear. I have never advocated the forceful removal of the current illegal aliens. I prefer an amnesty as well with a clear path to citizenship. I also believe that this issue is entirely overblown from all sides. I think we should vastly increase the number of immigrants we allow each year and simplify the process for getting into the country.

I believe that an employer is paying an illegal immigrant below minimum wage or has them working in an environment that doesn’t meet safety standards is a much bigger problem than the fact that they are employed.

I think your economic competition argument is similar to the segrationist arguments because it is. Separate drinking fountains and schools were the symptoms. The cause was a fear of sharing economic opportunities with “others”. Had that happened blacks and whites would have worked side by side as equals and the symptoms would have been more easily overcome.

As to hiring someone below the existing market. That seems to be an oxymoron. The reason that the immigrants come is because there is economic opportunity for them here. Your argument seems to be that we need to control the wage structure by reducing immigration (supply). I believe that we owe the tired, the hungry, and the huddled masses of the world better than that. I think that the ideals and ideas of this country don’t just apply to those fortunate enough to be born here. They should apply to those tenacoius enough to get here too.

Posted by: Rob at May 18, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #149315

Fear, race, color, nationality, and ethnicity have nothing to do with it.
It is about theft and law breaking.

Half of illegal aliens don’t pay taxes. That is an unfair advantage that displaces an estimated 2.3 million American workers.
Americans are losing (net) over $70 billion per year due to the burden on our education, healthcare, welfare, Medicaid, food stamp, healthcare, CDC, E.R., hospital, Medicare, Social Security, law enforcement, prison, umemployment, and voting systems.

Culpability is as follows (1=least to blame, … 6=most to blame):

  • (1) illegal aliens that are simply looking for work and a way to support their family. It is hard to be angry at those illegal aliens; but that does not justify amnesty or cutting to the front of the legal immigration line ;

  • (2) voters, that ignored the problem for 20+ years;

  • (3) illegal aliens that abuse U.S. public benefits (e.g. 32% of illegal aliens receive welfare, Medicaid, Foodstamps, Medicare, Social Security, healthcare, drive about without a driver’s license or auto insurance, and use fake IDs).

  • (4) greedy employers of illegal aliens

  • (5) irresponsible incumbent politicians that are now attempting to pit U.S. citizens and illegal aliens against each other, and will forget all about this issue immediately after the November elections (as usual).

  • (6) criminal illegal aliens. 29% of all prisoners in our federal, state, and local prisons are illegal aliens. These all represent crimes that should have never happened.

But, for all those making excuses for illegal aliens, and promoting Guest Worker programs and/or amnesty, don’t worry … you will get your way, because corrupt incumbent politicians will continue to do nothing, and voters will keep re-elect those very same corrupt politicians.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 18, 2006 9:16 PM
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