Baylor College Medical School

How accurate do you think the "findings" of the U.S. News study are? Can you please explain.

1. More than 8.6 million immigrants entered the United States during the 1980's, an influx which has impacted the United States, economically, politically, and socially. Communities across America are grappling with what many politicians, pundits, and talk-show hosts refer to simply as the "immigrant problem." In the 1980s, the nation absorbed more than 8.6 million newcomers, mostly from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.....

To better understand who the new immigrants are and what impact they have on the nation, U.S. News conducted a computer analysis of 12.5 million recently released census records. Reporters also interviewed dozens of immigrants and local government officials in eight communities across the nation. The results reveal somewhat surprising picture of the newest Americans-those who arrived between 1980 and 1990. Principal findings of the U.S. News study:

*Far from being uneducated huddled asses, a majority of recent immigrants have high-school educations; the exceptions are Mexicans and Indochinese refugees. More than half those from nations such as the Philippines have bachelor's degrees.

* Contrary to popular opinion, immigrants do not rob citizens of jobs but either expand employment niches or take jobs few Americans want.

* Most newcomers do not rely on welfare. Though public assistance increased much faster for a few immigrant groups than for citizens, overall only about 4 percent of new immigrants received welfare aid.

* While only 20 percent of recent immigrants boast incomes higher than the average U.S. citizen, they catch up. After a decade in this country, immigrants, on average, took home salaries comparable to those of nonimmigrant Americans.

* There is no significant difference in political opinions between immigrants and American-born citizens. While immigrants are more apt to register as independents, both immigrants and native-born citizens hold nearly identical beliefs on issues such as crime and welfare, a comparison of polling data from the University of Chicago shows.

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This study was dome 23 years ago but I have no doubt it is accurate. The idea that immigrants are hoards of unemployable leaches is old and inaccurate. It is not surprising that education levels and work ethic outpace even that of many Americans. The study confirms that there is little difference between the aspirations of immigrants and established citizens.