Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

African-Americans and immigrants

The liberally doctrine of keeping Black Americans firmly fastened to the government teat has slowly been destroying that community. Joel Kotkin, in an American Enterprise article, writes about how Hurricane Katrina revealed the problems with liberal-driven inner city policies, and how African-Americans are hit hardest by these policies. What fascinated me was the part of the article in which Kotkin noted how different the immigrant experience is in America from that in Europe (something he discussed because inner city failures in Europe involve immigrants, while those in America involve Black Americans with long and deep roots in America):

In many important ways, the problems of America’s urban underclass are radically different from those of their European counterparts. In this country, the deepest and most intractable problems are not in cities with heavy immigrant populations (as in Europe) but rather in places like New Orleans that are dominated by native-born African Americans. Most of the cities with the highest concentrations of poverty in America—New Orleans, Louisville, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia—are predominantly black cities. These are also cities that most immigrants skip over. Only 5 percent of New Orleans residents were born outside the country—compared to 28 percent in Houston, 40 percent in Los Angeles, and 36 percent in New York City. This decade, immigrants to the U.S. are headed to cities like Phoenix, Houston, and Orlando that have burgeoning economies. Immigrants who do settle in heavily black metro areas generally move outside city limits, to places like Northern Virginia, Baltimore County, or Kenner (outside of New Orleans). More important, immigrant poverty—in places from Fresno, California to Miami—tends to be different in kind from that of our native born. Latino immigrants, who make up the vast majority of America’s poor newcomers, have tended to have above average rates of labor participation. They are working poor, and many supplement their low official incomes with money earned “off the books.” Our immigrants also tend to start businesses at a rapid rate—the percentage of Latino self employment is twice the rate of native-born African Americans, and the ranks of Latino-owned businesses are growing faster than white-owned businesses. Many arrivals from Third World regions like the Middle East, south and east Asia, and the former Soviet bloc start businesses at high rates once in the U.S., in some cases passing those of native-born whites. Clearly race is no longer a dominant force behind economic success. The per capita income of African immigrants ($20,100) sharply outranked that of Asian immigrants ($16,700) or Central-American immigrants ($9,400) by the late 1990s. African immigrants also earn much more than native-born Americans ($14,400 per capita). Nothing illustrates the difference between the American and European underclass better than the position of Muslim immigrants. In the United States, Muslims are among the most entrepreneurial and well-educated groups, with roughly 60 percent college educated and two thirds earning over $50,000 per year. Within one generation—at most two—the vast majority of all U.S. immigrants have moved solidly into the middle class. This is true for all races, religions, and groups. Most of our new arrivals already live in suburbs, the bastions of America’s middle class.
This highlights something I was thinking about this morning as I walked the dog and admired my garden (maintained by Hispanic immigrants): while I am extremely opposed to illegal immigration, which I think sets up a horrible scoff-law dynamic, I think our welcome for legal immigrants, immigrants who embrace the American way of doing things, is one of our great strengths. It keeps our country constantly dynamic and innovative. As Kotkin says:
Recent immigrants like Bobmanuel and their children now amount to almost 60 million Americans, the largest number in our nation’s history, and roughly one fifth of our total population. Some of this large group will inevitably fall into our underclass, as will millions of whites. And certainly the persistence of Latino second- and third-generation gang members in places like Los Angeles confirms that the integration of immigrants into the productive part of American society has been far from perfect. But the overwhelming trend in this country is for new people and new races to be folded into an ever-shifting and ever-increasing American mainstream.
Hat tip: Cheat-Seeking Missiles