How is immigration different in 2012?

Loyal MR reader V has a request:

1. Engage with the arguments by Sailer and his ilk that Mexican immigration is different than the waves of the 1920′s, 1880′s, etc.

Specifically, they cite the example of New Mexico, current Latin America, evolving California, etc. where class-based hierarchies that closely mirror IQ differences have proven remarkably stable to all sorts of interventions over the time span of centuries (whether peaceful in the case of NM or violent in the case of the Mexican revolution).

Also, they point out that communication differences as well as the changed nature of the economy now (i.e., many fewer blue collar manufacturing jobs that transition families between immigrant manual labor to white collar knowledge industry workers, fewer overall manual labor jobs such as garment factories, the presence of a welfare state, etc.) make assimilation a much harder proposition.

Interesting to see what Tyler and Alex have to say in response to these arguments…

To that list I would add that, related to TGS, the negative effect of immigration on U.S. educational norms has been more significant than it otherwise might have been.  On the other side of the ledger, here are a few relevant factors:

1. The slower influx of Mexicans (100,000 a year vs. a former 500,000 a year) means that assimilation will from now on proceed more rapidly, and certainly more rapidly than the critics had been predicting.

2. The effect of Latino communities in lowering crime rates and revitalizing neighborhoods and cities has been stronger than might have been expected twenty years ago.

3. The notion that Latino migrants to the U.S. might help seed and sustain a broader Latin American economic and democratic boom has become a reality, and this was not obvious twenty years ago.

4. The idea that “the New World” will become a major trading bloc to rival “Chinese Asia” is a more important idea than it might have seemed twenty or even ten years ago.  The United States needs extensive Latin connections to maintain its status as active leader of that bloc.

5. Outsourcing is more of a force than we had thought, and the possibility of outsourcing raises the (relative) gains from allowing immigration.  I will write more on this in the future, so I’ll leave the details for now.

Overall, the arguments on immigration have changed quite a bit in the last ten to fifteen years, but those changes have cut in both directions.


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