October 29, 2009

Zogby poll raises concerns over Mexican immigration

By David Paulin

Why do many Mexican immigrants -- legal and illegal -- have trouble assimilating into American culture? Most of the 10 to 12 million Hispanics estimated to be here illegally are from Mexico. How would granting them amnesty affect future illegal immigration -- especially from Mexico?

Recently, polling firm Zogby International surveyed more than 1,000 Mexican adults across Mexico. The idea was to get the opinions of the average man and woman on the street – all to better understand America's immigration debate from a Mexican point of view, according to the Center for Immigration Studies of Washington, D.C. The conservative think tank is now reporting the results of the Zogby poll.

According to CIS, the survey was the first of its kind to get the opinions of Mexicans, including those entertaining the possibility of immigrating to America illegally.

Many Americans may find the views that Mexicans have on immigration and America unsettling -- and even disturbing.

Critics of an amnesty for illegal immigrants contend it would only encourage more illegal immigration. Well, surprise, surprise: That's just what the average Mexican on the street thinks, too.

According to CIS: "A clear majority of people in Mexico, 56 percent, thought giving legal status to illegal immigrants in the United States would make it more likely that people they know would go to the United States illegally.”

In addition, the think tank stated that: “Of Mexicans with a member of their immediate household in the United States, 65 percent said a legalization program would make people they know more likely to go to America illegally.”

And that raises another question: Just how many more Mexicans would like to immigrate to America? According to CIS: "Interest in going to the United States remains strong even in the current recession, with 36 percent of Mexicans (39 million people) saying they would move to the United States if they could. At present, 12 to 13 million Mexico-born people live in the United States.”

Most Americans would be shocked by how the majority of Mexicans felt about America. According to CIS:

* "An overwhelming majority (69 percent) of people in Mexico thought that the primary loyalty of Mexican-Americans (Mexico- and U.S.-born) should be to Mexico. Just 20 percent said it should be to the United States. The rest were unsure."

* "Also, 69 percent of people in Mexico felt that the Mexican government should represent the interests of Mexican-Americans (Mexico- and U.S.-born) in the United States."

CIS noted that "the perspective of people in Mexico is important because Mexico is the top sending country for both legal and illegal immigrants.

"In 2008, one of six new legal immigrants was from Mexico and, according to the Department of Homeland Security, six out of 10 illegal immigrants come from that country."

CIS noted there are now “10 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country, seven million of whom are estimated to have come from Mexico. But this poll suggests that many people who might like to come have not done so. This could be seen as an indication that enforcement efforts are effective."

The results of the survey are sure to add to concerns raised by Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington in his 2005 book "Who are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity."

He wrote:

"The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril.”

He also published a related essay, “The Hispanic Challenge,” in Foreign Policy magazine. It prompted liberals to all but accuse him of being a racist and xenophobe.

The Zogby survey had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent, “for a 95 percent confidence level,” CIS noted.

This was originally published at the American Thinker.

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