Commentary

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

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.