Out of Control Policy Blog

Two Americas?

Not the John Edwards version.

In a TCS Daily interview, author/economist Philippe Legrain takes on the notion that America is being yanked apart by language:

    I devote a whole chapter of the book to considering Samuel Huntington's argument that Latino immigrants are splitting America in two and find little evidence to substantiate his thesis. To quote just a few facts, census figures show that only 4.2 million of those born in the US - a mere 1.8% - speak Spanish at home and English less than very well, while only 1.2 million of the 232 million people born in the US - one in 200 - speaks Spanish at home and has poor or no English.


    Huntington also claims that "Many Mexican immigrants and their offspring simply do not appear to identify primarily with the United States." But while only one in three foreign-born Latinos describe themselves as American, this rises to 85 percent among their US-born children - and 97 percent among the US-born kids of US-born Latino parents.

Bonus bit about immigrants with relatively high levels of education:

    I certainly agree that the US immigration system is absurdly restrictive in granting visas to highly skilled foreigners, and that US companies suffer, or shift operations overseas, as a result. If you think that Google, Yahoo!, eBay were all co-founded by immigrants, and that nearly half of America's venture-capital-funded start-ups were founded by immigrants, keeping out foreign brainpower is a remarkably stupid policy.

Whole interview here.

RELATED: You know the deal with those immigrants

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