Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mexican Americans do not want immigration from Latin America slowed: General Social Survey respondents (all were Americans) were asked if they wanted more or less immigration from various regions of the world. (They could also answer that they want levels to remain the same). Here is the percent wanting more broken out by large ethnic groups:

Percent wanting more immigration from Latin America
Blacks 9.4
English/Welsh 8.0
Germans 5.5
Irish 6.9
Mexicans 24.4

Percent wanting more immigration from Asia
Blacks 6.6
English/Welsh 9.7
Germans 4.0
Irish 9.5
Mexicans 25.0

Percent wanting more immigration from Europe
Blacks 8.5
English/Welsh 13.1
Germans 5.5
Irish 8.7
Mexicans 20.4

These numbers tell us at least two things. First, in forming their immigration attitudes, Americans generally do not think in terms of where immigrants are coming from--if you're for it, you're for it for everyone. Second, Mexican Americans are the most pro-immigration. They have the most immigrants and immigrant relatives, so this is no surprise. The above numbers do not show that Mex-Ams have a preference for Latino immigrants, but keep in mind that these questions (I think) were asked together, and a repsondent might feel awkward answering yes he wants more immigrants from Latin America, but then no when he is then asked about Asia or Europe. In America, we can't discriminate, right? Also, if Mex-Ams have a preference, it would be more for Mexicans than all Hispanics. Let's look at those wanting less immigration:

Percent wanting less immigration from Latin America
Blacks 39.2
English/Welsh 45.6
Germans 47.3
Irish 54.7
Mexicans 20.0

Percent wanting less immigration from Asia
Blacks 43.5
English/Welsh 42.3
Germans 45.6
Irish 49.1
Mexicans 34.1

Percent wanting less immgration from Europe
Blacks 34.0
English/Welsh 36.6
Germans 37.2
Irish 32.8
Mexicans 27.3

Not surprisingly, for all groups there are more restrictionists than open borders folks, and we see again that people are very simple in their attitudes. They don't think about things like how well do people from certain regions assimilate, or what characteristics, good or bad, do they bring. They want more or fewer immigrants, period. Mex-Ams have the fewest restrictionists, but we do see a little group solidarity slipping through in this second set of numbers: with Asia and Europe, Mex-Ams percentages are somewhat lower than the others, but the percent wanting less Latino immigration is less than half the other groups. Only 20% of Mex-Ams want fewer immigrants from Latin America. The more benign explanation is that they are thinking of relatives that plan to come to America in the future, but the more political explanation is that they see people like themselves freely coming and expanding the Hispanic presence here, and they like this trend, and don't want to see it diminish.


  1. How about Asian attitudes toward immigration from Asia, etc.? Numbers too small?

  2. Robert: Right, too small, even if I combine different groups.

  3. Anonymous5:20 PM

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