Friday, March 25, 2005

U.S. Immigration – The Hispanic Challenge?

In March 2004, Harvard professor Samuel Huntington caused quite a stir in Mexico with the publication of his article “The Hispanic Challenge” in Foreign Policy magazine. The article was also expanded into a book entitled Who Are We. Such intellectual heavyweights as Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa were called upon to refute Huntington, who points out that U.S. immigration is overwhelmingly Hispanic and, when legal and illegal immigration are combined, predominantly from a single country: Mexico. He calls that lopsided immigration a danger to U.S. “Anglo-Protestant values” and says that it “threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages.” You can read the article on Foreign Policy’s Website at the following URL:

Huntington’s article and book might not have received so much attention if it had not been for an earlier work. In 1993, he published an article called “The Clash of Civilizations” in which he divided the world into seven or eight different civilizations that he claimed would be increasingly in conflict with each other. After the attacks of September 11 in New York, some saw the article as prophetic. That article is also online. The URL is:

While I agree that it would be better to have a more varied immigration, I believe that Huntington greatly overstates the problem. His basic error is in assuming that the United States has a static, Anglo-Protestant culture. I do not believe that a country that has elected an Irish-Catholic president, whose current and past Secretaries of State were Afro-American, which consumes more salsa mexicana than ketchup, and which has a Jewish mayor of one of its two most important cities (Michael Bloomberg, New York) can be considered Anglo-Protestant. I believe that most people in the U.S. would agree that the U.S. culture is both varied and dynamic.

The other weakness of Professor Huntington’s study of immigration is his exclusively academic approach. He bases his argument on statistics and quotations from prominent figures. The statistics indicate that Hispanics are integrating into American society more slowly than past immigrants. That may be the case, but there is a difference between integrating more slowly and not integrating at all. The statistics show that Hispanics are integrating.

Huntington quotes several Hispanic “leaders” to show their anti-U.S. bias. If Huntington had left his office and gone out in the street to mingle with immigrants, he would have learned that most Hispanic immigrants do not share the opinions of these self-appointed spokespeople. For example, in California and Arizona, the majority of Hispanics ignored the urgings of the Spanish-language media and voted to abolish poorly run bi-lingual education programs. Most Hispanic parents want their children to learn English, and they realized that the so-called bi-lingual programs were not doing a good job of teaching it. Although many Mexican-born immigrants have an understandable nostalgia for the country where they grew up, they do not want to turn the U.S. into the society that they struggled so hard to leave.

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Anonymous said...

I don't agree at all! I think illegal immigration is a real danger. Let's all get guns and go to the border and stop it!

Anonymous said...

I think it's normal for every culture
to protect itself. Mr. Huntington is
probably worrying about his own