2003 December 17 Wednesday
Mexican, Central American Immigrants Less Skilled

The Public Policy Institute of California has released a report on types of immigrants that come to California.

SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 20, 2003 — Nearly half of the immigrants who arrived in California during the 1990s were born in Mexico, a substantial increase from the previous decade, according to a study released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Among the 2.8 million new immigrants who arrived in California within the past 10 years, Mexicans and Central Americans also have some of the poorest outcomes, with a greater percentage living in poverty and crowded housing conditions.

Using data from the 2000 Census, the study finds that 46.2 percent of all new immigrants in California were born in Mexico — more than six times the number of new immigrants from any other country and far higher than the number reported in the 1990 Census (38.2%). “This change highlights important policy challenges at both a state and national level, from language issues in California schools to negotiations with Mexico about a new guest worker program,” says PPIC research fellow Laura Hill, who coauthored the report with research associate Joseph Hayes.

Overall, recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America face greater socioeconomic challenges than their counterparts from other major sending regions, such as Southeast and East Asia. Nearly one-third live below the poverty line, compared to only 16 percent of Southeast Asians and 21 percent of East Asians. More than 70 percent have less than a high school diploma (Southeast Asians: 26%, East Asians: 14%). And nearly 80 percent live in crowded housing conditions (Southeast Asians: 57%, East Asians: 36%). However, there is reason for optimism:

A large influx of unskilled immigrants does not solve any major problems for American citizens. It actually creates many problems and costs us all in money, crowding, pollution, and in other ways with little compensatory benefit. The immigration policy of the United States government is harmful to the interests of the vast majority of American citizens. Yet our elites resist any and all attempts to scale back the influx of unskilled immigrants.

The full text of the report California's Newest Immigrants is available as a PDF download.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 December 17 11:37 AM  Immigration Dumbing Down


Comments
infamouse said at December 17, 2003 6:20 PM:

Will anyone ever get the courage to build a wall?

Dan Van Zile said at December 17, 2003 7:12 PM:

As much as I would like to see a reduction in unskilled immigration, I dont see it happening. I am a liberal democrat who opposes immigration, because it makes my agenda ,higher wages and more social benefits prohibitedly expensive. In the case of what IMHO is the number one need for the USA, a universal public health insurance program, the cost of immigrants is one of the major things blocking it. The two major groups opposing ending low skilled immigration are employers who benfit from a compliant immigrant laborforce and the mandarins in the government bureacracy. I used to say that bilingual education was really made for restaurant owners, who need an endless supply of dishwashers and busboys. I would like to see more of a focus on economic issues by anti-immigration activists, getting it out of the far right issue bag would greatly increase its chances for success. African-americans are the main victims of low skilled immigration, it depresses their wages and increases their unemployment rates. Dan

Randall Parker said at December 17, 2003 9:46 PM:

Dan,

The two major groups opposing ending the low skilled immigration are employers and government bureaucrats? How about the Democratic Party activists who see poor immigrants as future Democratic Party voters? Have you forgotten the enthusiastic way that Clinton assigned Gore to bend and break the law in order to hurry millions thru the last amnesty? Or are you unaware that this happened? There are neocons, libertarians, business interests, liberal Democrats, and assorted ethnic interest groups supporting the stupid current American immigration policy. There is plenty of blame to go around.

I quite agree that African-Americans are big victims of low skilled immigration. But if you read the "far right" commentary on immigration you will find lots of arguments about how, yes, it increases poverty. It isn't the fault of these supposedly "far right" people that the liberals and the neoconservatives have marginalized them and called them all sorts of names.

Bob Badour said at December 18, 2003 4:10 PM:

Dan,

Be very careful what you wish for: You might just get it. E.g. public health insurance

Reptoid said at December 18, 2003 9:30 PM:

Probably the biggest problem with enforcement of illegal immigration laws has to do with it being such an ethnically sensitive issue. Here in California at least, if you defend deporting illegal aliens you're automatically accused of being a racist. Even the Sierra Club, whenever it promotes keeping illegal immigration to a minimum, can't escape being called the dreaded 'r' word. The current political climate makes it impossible to reason with people that there are economic and social consequences to allowing people to just pour over the borders. Ironically, as Dan pointed out, socialists would have the most to gain from keeping illegal immigration to a minimum, it's hard to have a big welfare state when you have to keep paying for more and more people who don't pay taxes. Unfortunately though, illegals make good political fodder for the left.


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