Assimilation? Who Needs to Assimilate?

Today the Center for Immigration Studies released some shocking data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS), which came out late last month. CIS headlines: “One in Five U.S. Residents Speaks Foreign Language at Home.” Some highlights:

* In 2014, a record 63.2 million U.S. residents (native-born, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants) spoke a language other than English at home.

* Taking a longer view, since 1990 the number of foreign language speakers has roughly doubled; the number has almost tripled since 1980.

* As a share of the population, 21 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home.

* The largest percentage increases from 2010 to 2014 were among speakers of Arabic (up 29 percent), Urdu (up 23 percent), Hindi (up 19 percent), Chinese and Hmong (both up 12 percent), and Gujarati and Persian (both up 9 percent).

* Of school-age children (five to 17), 22 percent speak a foreign language at home.

You might assume that anyone who speaks a foreign language at home is a recently-arrived immigrant. But that is not the case:

* Many of those who speak a foreign language at home are not immigrants. Of the more than 63 million foreign language speakers, 44 percent (27.7 million) were actually born in the United States.

California leads the way, with close to half its population (44%) speaking a foreign language at home.

One of the main reasons why I oppose the continued mass immigration of low-skilled workers is that little or no effort is being made to assimilate them. During our previous wave of mass immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both immigrants and American officials understood that assimilation into American culture, most importantly learning to speak English, was required. Immigrant parents made great sacrifices so that their children would grow up speaking English, and thereby enjoy the opportunities available to those who can participate fully in America’s economy.

Today, assimilation seems no longer to be even a goal. The Democratic Party is happy to have immigrants ghettoized, with limited opportunities for advancement. It makes their votes easier to harvest.

This chart summarizes the data:


Without assimilation, mass low-skill immigration is a recipe for disaster.