Study Shows Hispanic Immigrants Are Not Socially Conservative

Study shows Hispanic immigrants not socially conservative

Issue Date: –
May 8-14, 2007, Posted On: 5/7/2007

A new study has struck a harsh blow to the premise that U.S. immigrants, particularly from Mexico, are committed to traditional family values.

The Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies said that immigrants from Mexico and Spanish-speaking countries were not committed to traditional values and pointed to the dramatic rise in illegitimate birth rates among Hispanic immigrants. The center said in a study that immigrant out-of-wedlock births have kept pace with those of native-born Americans.

“The argument is often made that immigrants have a stronger commitment to traditional family values than do native-born Americans,” said the report, entitled “Illegitimate Nation: An Examination of Out-of-Wedlock Births Among Immigrants and Natives. However, birth records show that about one-third of births to both groups are now to unmarried parents. Moreover, unmarried immigrants are significantly more likely than unmarried natives to give birth.”

The report was expected to be used by conservatives to warn against amnesty for illegal immigrants. Conservative Republicans have expressed concern that President Bush will work with the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass a bill that will legalize illegal immigrants.

“I know he's [Bush] ready to sign it,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and 2008 GOP presidential contender. “He's probably sitting over there in the Senate right now, just, you know, cheering everybody on.”

“It's a Bush-Kennedy immigration bill,” Tancredo added. “Anybody, any Republican certainly, and most Americans, should get pretty frightened about that combination.”

Authored by Steven Camarota, the report said Hispanic immigrants have seen the largest increase in out-of-wedlock birthsfrom 19 percent of births in 1980 to 42 percent in 2003. Hispanics account for nearly 60 percent of all births to immigrants.

In 2003, the report said, the absolute number of illegitimate births to Hispanicsboth immigrant and nativefor the first time outnumbered illegitimate births to blacks. Camarota warned that illegitimate children of immigrants encounter challenges that usually keep them in poverty, illiteracy and crime.

“The country is currently debating whether to legalize illegal aliens or alternatively, to enforce the law and cause them to go home,” Camarota said. “Since 60 percent of illegals lack a high school diploma and 80 percent are Hispanic, legalization could contribute to the illegitimacy problem by allowing illegals to remain in the United States.”

Officials said the Bush administration has ordered stricter enforcement of border control and immigration laws. They reported a 20 percent increase in the removal of illegal immigrants from the United States in 2006.

In all, 221,664 illegal immigrants were expelled last year. The government estimates there are 12 million illegal immigrants.

Most Republican presidential contenders have been cautious in dealing with immigration reform. GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani has called for a national database of and identity cards for immigrants as well as both physical and technological barriers along the border.

“There's no question that we're entitled to security,” Giuliani told the Latino Coalition last week. “Let's sign them up, let's register them, let's collect their taxes and let's let them pay their fair share.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has sought to bring an immigration bill to the Senate floor by May 14. Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, has asked Reid for a one-week review period before consideration of the legislation.

The Center for Immigration Studies report has been circulating on Capitol Hill in briefings that argue against the amnesty bill. The Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus intend to create a task force to study immigration issues and their impact on the black and Hispanic communities. Polls show widespread black resentment against illegal immigrants.

“Available evidence indicates that there is no reason to believe that the problem will be any better in the next generation,” the report said. “Thus, hoping that the descendants of today's immigrants will somehow strengthen family values seems unfounded.”