Mexico: A Sociopolitical Critique


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For example, those who say they believe that the U. When individuals in a New Jersey poll were asked why they wanted a decrease in the current number of immigrants, concerns that there would not be enough jobs to go around, or that immigrants take jobs away from native workers, were the reasons most commonly given Espenshade.

Although the majority of Americans now favor decreases in immigration, the strength of this sentiment varies substantially across groups. One might suppose that those who are most likely to face job market competition from immigrants for example, those with job skills that are common among immigrants would be most likely to want decreased immigration. This hypothesis, however, does not always fit very well with the observed differences across groups. For instance, residents of states with a high proportion of immigrants in the population do not differ systematically in their attitudes toward immigration from residents of other states see Table 8.

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Neither did our multivariate analysis find any systematic relationship between attitudes and the fraction of a state's population that was foreign-born. Furthermore, there was no significant relationship between region of the country and attitudes toward immigration, despite the regional concentration of immigrants. Given the large numbers of recent immigrants with less than a high school education, Americans with low levels of education appear to face the most job market competition from immigrants, and so might be expected to be most opposed to further immigration.

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Education does, in fact, have an important relationship with attitudes, but not the expected one. At the national level, those with less than a high school education do not stand out as having very different attitudes toward immigration see Table 8. The group that does stand out is Americans. Source: Pooled data from Gallup polls taken in June and July The question asked was "In your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased?

The question asked was, "In your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased? Blacks and Hispanics have more favorable attitudes toward immigration than do non-Hispanic whites: 68 percent of non-Hispanic whites favored decreasing immigration in the polls we analyzed, compared with 57 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics. The data we presented earlier that indicate that blacks in general do not live near immigrants may be relevant.

Some immigrants appear to be more welcome than others. Americans generally indicate a preference for European immigrants, and immigrants from Asia in turn are generally rated more favorably than are those from Latin America Espenshade and Belanger, At the same time, Americans also attributed positive characteristics to both Asian and Latin American immigrants: both groups were seen by a majority of Americans as hard-working and having strong family values Espenshade and Belanger, In the more detailed analysis in the appendix, at the national level only those with graduate education differ significantly from others in their attitudes toward immigration once we control for other characteristics.

Within the immigration states, there are larger differences associated with education, and those without a high school degree are indeed most opposed to immigration. However, their attitudes never differ significantly from those of high school graduates. Our polling data do not identify Asians, but others have found that Asians also generally have more favorable attitudes toward immigration Espenshade and Hempstead, ; Espenshade, These data include information on ethnicity but do not identify the foreign-born, so differences associated with the two factors cannot be disentangled from one another.

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Americans are particularly concerned about illegal immigration, to the point that they greatly overestimate the proportion of immigrants who are in the United States illegally. In a June poll, over two-thirds of respondents believed that the majority of recent immigrants were in the country illegally Espenshade and Belanger, , whereas the U. Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that net illegal immigration in fact accounts for about 20 to 30 percent of annual net immigrant arrivals Washington Post, This disparity between perceptions and reality complicates the interpretation of Americans' attitudes toward immigration.

Part of the recent hardening of attitudes may be due to the widespread media attention paid to the issue of illegal immigration. To sum up, on the basis of polling data, Americans appear to be more opposed to immigration than they have been in the past. It is not possible to pin down the source of this change in attitudes, although concerns about economic conditions and about illegal immigration seem likely candidates.

The majority of Americans now favor decreases in immigration, but there are significant differences across groups in the strength of this sentiment—blacks, Hispanics, and Asians generally have more positive attitudes than do non-Hispanic whites, and Americans with graduate education also have particularly favorable attitudes. Is immigration at high levels exacerbating ethnic and racial tensions in American society? Some authors have suggested that increasing competition between new immigrants and black Americans has led to urban unrest in recent years Miles, ; Morrison, Portes and Stepick describe the riots in the Liberty City area of Miami as stemming in part from the frustrations of black Americans who see Cuban Americans and Haitian Americans leapfrogging ahead of them into better jobs and housing in the Miami area.

Jack Miles wrote an influential piece in the Atlantic Monthly describing the Los Angeles riots of as reflecting tensions between Latino immigrants and black Americans entitled "Blacks vs. These incidents might lead people to conclude that there is growing ethnic tension in American cities, fueled by the ethnic and racial diversity and the absolute numbers of new immigrants currently being absorbed by gateway cities such as Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.

There is little systematic research into how the presence of new immigrants affects American racial and ethnic attitudes, and into the racial and ethnic attitudes of the new immigrants themselves. Researchers have only just begun to explore interminority racial and ethnic attitudes. They found a complex web of interethnic attitudes with regard to threat and competition from other ethnic groups.

More black respondents in Los Angeles perceived that competition with Asians was a zero-sum game than had that perception with respect to Hispanics. And more Hispanic respondents perceived that competition with Asians was a zero-sum game than had that perception with respect to blacks in the areas of housing and job competition.

Bobo and Hutchings concluded that "Asian American and Latino respondents who are foreign born tend to perceive greater competition with blacks than do their native-born co-ethnics.

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Does nativity make a difference in perceptions of discrimination? Using the same data source, Bobo found that, among Asian Americans, the same proportion of foreign-born and native-born reported discrimination 22 percent. But among the other minority groups there were strong nativity differences, which went in opposite directions.

Among Hispanics, the foreign-born were more likely to report discrimination 33 percent compared with 25 percent for the native-born. Among blacks, natives were more likely to report discrimination 62 percent for natives compared with 29 percent for the foreign-born. Waters also finds that foreign-born blacks are much less likely than American-born blacks to see themselves as victims of discrimination.

Using survey data collected by the Los Angeles Times, Oliver and Johnson found that Hispanics in that city are generally more antagonistic toward blacks than blacks are toward Hispanics. They concluded that the black antagonism arises almost exclusively from economic concerns.

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Hispanics were almost twice as likely as blacks to agree that the other group is more violent than the average group 39 versus 20 percent. The level of antagonism toward Hispanics was much higher among whites than among blacks. Several recent studies have attempted to measure discrimination against immigrants and minorities.

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In a survey of hiring practices among Chicago-area employers, Kirschenman and Neckerman found that employers strongly preferred to hire immigrants over inner-city blacks see also Neckerman and Kirschenman, ; Wilson, Our reading of these preliminary studies is that interethnic frictions and occasional violent outbreaks between minorities and immigrants are reflections of the conditions of inner-city life where rates of joblessness and poverty are high, and not signs of the inevitability of antagonism between immigrants and minorities.

Despite employer preferences for immigrant workers over black. During the interval between the two world wars, the children of immigrants from Southern, Eastern and Central Europe made significant socioeconomic gains, in terms of both educational and occupational attainment. Few socioeconomic or cultural differences now separate the descendants of immigrants from Europe. There are competing hypotheses about whether present-day immigrants and their children will make the same generational socioeconomic progress.

Some scholars predict the possibility of second-generation decline for some national-origin groups in the post wave of immigrants, and others predict continuity of historical patterns of assimilation. The future social and economic success of recent immigrants is subject to uncertainty, in part because it is still too early to draw conclusions about the mobility of their children.

The early readings are that most immigrants and their children are doing comparatively well.