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R8 - Article Testing Huntington Is Hispanic Immigration a...

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Article: “Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?” Authors: Jack Citrin, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami, and Kathryn Pearson Issue: March 2007 Journal : Perspectives on Politics This journal is published by the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved. APSA is posting this article for public view on its website. APSA journals are fully accessible to APSA members and institutional subscribers. To view the table of contents or abstracts from this or any of APSA’s journals, please go to the website of our publisher Cambridge University Press ( http://journals.cambridge.org ). This article may only be used for personal, non-commercial, or limited classroom use. For permissions for all other uses of this article should be directed to Cambridge University Press at [email protected] .
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Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity? Jack Citrin, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami, and Kathryn Pearson SamuelHuntingtonarguesthatthesheernumber,concentration,linguistichomogeneity,andothercharacteristicofHispanicimmi- grants will erode the dominance of English as a nationally unifying language, weaken the country’s dominant cultural values, and promote ethnic allegiances over a primary identification as an American. Testing these hypotheses with data from the U.S. Census and national and Los Angeles opinion surveys, we show that Hispanics acquire English and lose Spanish rapidly beginning with the second generation, and appear to be no more or less religious or committed to the work ethic than native-born whites. Moreover, a clear majority of Hispanics reject a purely ethnic identification and patriotism grows from one generation to the next. At present, a traditional pattern of political assimilation appears to prevail. E thnic diversity married to a heightened conscious- ness of race, language, religion, or group culture poses challenges to national unity. 1 By celebrating “difference,” identity politics raises questions about what defines us as a nation. Immigration is the engine of in- creased diversity in contemporary nation-states. By stim- ulating a steady influx of immigrants from Latin America and Asia with high fertility rates, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 has transformed the ethnic com- position of the United States. Increased assertiveness about group identities in the aftermath of the civil rights move- ment and increased immigration has crushed the “liberal expectancy” that modernization would overcome the divi- siveness of ethnic ties. 2 In this context, anxieties about the national commitment to e pluribus unum have resurfaced. Immigration reform is currently on the political agenda, although there is no consensus about what approach to take.
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