A Good Article in The Atlantic

Hey, folks, the article in The Atlantic somebody linked earlier today did turn out to be very good. It’s long, so here are some quotes:

Like the country receiving them, immigrants to the United States are cleaved by class. Approximately one quarter of immigrants arrive with high formal educational qualifications: a college degree or more. Their record and that of their children is one of outstanding assimilation to the new American meritocratic elite, in many ways outperforming the native-born. By contrast, about one-third of immigrants arrive with less than a high-school education. They too assimilate to American life, but to the increasingly disorderly life of the American non-elite. Their children make educational progress as compared to the parents, but—worryingly—educational progress then stagnates or retrogresses in the third generation.

The underlined bit is mostly about Latin American immigrants, and my personal observations confirm this.

When children of immigrants grow up poor, they assimilate to the culture of poorer America. While Mexicans in Mexico are slightly less likely to be obese than Americans, U.S. Latinos are considerably more likely to be obese than their non-Latino counterparts. The disparity is starkest among children: While 28 percent of whites under 19 are obese or overweight, 38 percent of Latino children are. American-born Latinos likewise are more likely to have children outside marriage than foreign-born Latinos.

Note that obesity, not emaciation is now a standard measure of poverty.

While Mexican immigrants are less likely to be sent to prison than the native-born, U.S.-born Hispanics are incarcerated at rates 50 percent higher than their parents and grandparents.

That’s what I’ve been saying: children of immigrants bear the brunt of their parents’ untreated emigration trauma.

Americans talk a lot about the social difficulties caused by large-scale, low-skill immigration, but usually in a very elliptical way. Giant foundations—Pew, Ford—spend lavishly to study the problems of the new low-skill immigrant communities. Public policy desperately seeks to respond to the challenges presented by large-scale low-skill immigration. But the fundamental question—“should we be doing this at all?”—goes unvoiced by anyone in a position of responsibility. Even as the evidence accumulates that the policy was a terrible mistake from the point of view of the pre-existing American population, elites insist that the policy is unquestionable … more than unquestionable, that the only possible revision of the policy is to accelerate future flows of low-skill immigration even faster, whether as migrants or as refugees or in some other way.

And then everybody goes, ‘Oh Lordy, why on Earth would Trump be so popular?’ Yes, really, what a mystery.

And my favorite part:

Also disquieting is the way in which refugee advocates toggle back and forth between reassuring the West that there is nothing to fear—and warning of terrorist violence if the refugees are refused.

That’s so true. Don’t fear the refugees, they are just poor, innocent widows and orphans. Remember, though, that upsetting the refugees in any way will make them start exploding buildings and shooting into the crowd. Yet the ridiculous argument that “We are doing ISIS’s recruitment work for it” is being advanced with the insistence of unhinged parrots.

6 thoughts on “A Good Article in The Atlantic

  1. \ children of immigrants bear the brunt of their parents’ untreated emigration trauma.

    Could you write about how such kinds of trauma work? Whether they are from immigration or war or anything else.

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    1. Emigration is one of the most traumatic experiences one can have. Even moving house is considered major life trauma, so how much more massive will moving country or even continent be?

      Warfare is even more traumatic, of course. But I’m talking about any emigration, including the very peaceful kind. And unresolved trauma is always inherited and magnified until somebody finally breaks the chain and treats the inherited trauma. But this have to be people of a certain educational level and certain financial resources.

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      1. I don’ know I have been a labour migrant since 2007 first to Kyrgyzstan for four years and now Ghana for five years. I also lived in the UK for three years from 2001 to 2004 to get my MA and PhD but then returned to the US to be unemployed for three years. Being unemployed was a lot more traumatic than moving to another continent and then to another one.

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  2. High skill immigration to the U.S. should be encouraged. Low-skill immigration should be discouraged, if not completely stopped. We no longer have huge factories employing thousands of people doing relatively simple tasks. We have automated factories employing several tens of engineers and several hundred maintenance technicians and people of good mechanical skills. The service sector is beleaguered with a huge, low-skill immigrant population driving down wages and increasing competition for jobs for people who lack the cognitive (and mechanical) skills to work in modern automated factories. It is time we recognize this reality and implement a rational immigration policy that recognizes the reality of human capital.

    Human capital should be central to any debate of immigration policy.

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    1. “We no longer have huge factories employing thousands of people doing relatively simple tasks. We have automated factories employing several tens of engineers and several hundred maintenance technicians and people of good mechanical skills.”

      • Exactly. We have all seen the abandoned, gutted factories of the Rust Belt. We have all met people who fell out of productive life because of automatization and the end of low-skill work. And these trends are only going to intensify. This is a fact of objective reality that it makes no sense to deny.

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