Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Myth of Hispanic Family Values

President Bush and the rest of the "open borders"/amnesty crowd like to argue that the massive wave of illegal Hispanic immigrants will actually improve the nation's cultural condition because Hispanics are inherently hard-working, conservative and dedicated to their families. Thus, Hispanics will also naturally gravitate toward the GOP, itself currently overflowing with conservative virtues (like massive deficit spending, cronyism, new entitlement schemes and Wilsonian crusades for democracy abroad). Of course, anyone who has driven through the newly burgeoning barrios of Los Angeles, Houston, Miami or New York, is apt to strongly doubt the President's Hispanic fantasies. Naturally, the President himself doesn't venture to such places very often; nor do his supporters frequent inner city hospitals and welfare agencies, where the real nature of Hispanic family values are all-to-clearly on display. They spin their fantasies not from actual interaction with Hispanics, nor from observations of illegal Hispanic immigrants as they are, but rather from a reality-detached idea that all human beings are the same - equal not just in legal rights, but absolutely interchangeable in skills, cultural, behavior and intelligence. To this point of view, Hispanics are just as good as say, Germans or English or Japanese in terms of the cultural and economic value to the nation. Having adopted this view, the open borders crowd must assume that all immigrants are good for the country and deny any inconvenient bits of reality that conflict with this idea.

One of the few pundits to challenge Bush's empty rhetoric with fact is Heather Mac Donald. Writing in Human Events, she surveys the depressing facts and finds them shockingly contrary to the President's delusional opinions:

Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country -- over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for every 1,000 unmarried black women. Forty-eight percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with 24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births. Only the percentage of black out-of-wedlock births -- 68% -- exceeds the Hispanic rate. But the black population is not going to triple over the next few decades.

As if the unmarried Hispanic birthrate weren’t worrisome enough, it is increasing faster than among other groups. It jumped five percent from 2002 to 2003, whereas the rate for other unmarried women remained flat. Couple the high and increasing illegitimacy rate of Hispanics with their higher overall fertility rate, and you have a recipe for unstoppable family breakdown.

The rate of childbirth for Mexican teenagers, who come from by far the largest and fastest-growing immigrant population, greatly outstrips every other group. The Mexican teen birthrate is 93 births per every 1,000 girls, compared with 27 births for every 1,000 white girls, 17 births for every 1,000 Asian girls, and 65 births for every 1,000 black girls.
For a long time, conservatives have been uniquely willing to sound the alarm about the costs of illegitimacy. Children raised in single-parent homes, they have warned, are at far higher risk of school failure, juvenile delinquency, emotional problems, teen pregnancy, and poverty than children raised by married parents. Yet when it comes to Hispanics, open-borders advocates, fearless about decrying family break-down among blacks, suddenly go silent.

Ditto the other social problems that are showing up above all in the second and third generations of Hispanic immigrants. Hispanics have the highest school drop-out rate in the country -- a recipe for economic decline. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is 73% Hispanic, just 40% of Hispanic students graduate. Immigrant advocates have fiercely opposed in court a long-deferred California high school exit exam, which would require students to answer just over 50% of questions testing eighth-grade-level math and ninth-grade-level English. The California Research Bureau predicts that if the exam becomes a reality, Hispanic graduation rates would drop well below 30%.

Gang life is thriving in L.A.’s schools, and is spreading across the country with the migration of Hispanic immigrants. The incarceration rate of Mexican-Americans is 3.45 times higher than that of whites. Sociologists Alejandro Portes of Princeton and Rubén G. Rumbaut of the University of California, Irvine, followed the children of immigrants in San Diego and Miami from 1992 to 2003. A whopping 28% of Mexican-American males between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having been arrested since 1995, and 20%reported having been incarcerated -- a rate twice that of other immigrant groups. Anyone who speaks to Hispanic students in immigrant-saturated schools in Southern California will invariably hear the estimate that 50% of a student’s peers have ended up in gangs or other criminal activities.

This is why the President has resorted to smears and insults against critics of his amnesty. He cannot admit the truth and cannot resort to facts when arguing his position, so tearing down and slandering his opponents is all that is left in his arsenal.