Ron Guhname Compares Ethnic Groups

Randall Parker,, June 5, 2006

The Inductivist blogger Ron Guhname digs through the results of the National Opinion Research Center General Social Surveys (GSS) and finds facts about groups that go against the conventional wisdom. He’s been digging for info in the last couple of months about Mexicans compared to other immigrants and has dug up a lot of facts that do not support immigration myths widely promoted by the “Open Borders” crowd. I’ve collected up many of his posts on this topic and excerpted them below.

Some happy talkers argue that Mexicans come to the United States for freedom. I think they come to make more money. If they come for freedom you’d expect they’d be keen on becoming American citizens. Nope. Most Mexican immigrants do not place much value on American citizenship.

Mexican immigrants do not value American citizenship: An reader wrote that illegals don’t want to be citizens, but “Mexicans with benefits.” What do the data say? GSS respondents were asked how important is it to them to be an American citizen. Only one-third of Mexican immigrants said this was important. Almost twice as many immigrants from all the other countries felt this way (60%). Eighty percent of native-born Americans value their citizenship.

They don’t come here for freedom. If they did they’d want to become citizens. They come here to make more money.

Mexicans are most race conscious after blacks.

Mexicans are the most race conscious, after blacks: The General Social Survey asks which social identity is most important to the respondent, then lists the following: current occupation, race/ethnicity, gender, age, religion, political party, nationality, family or marital status, social class, and region of the country. I was interested in how many Mexicans consider ethnicity to be their most important identity compared with other groups. Fifteen percent of blacks list this as being most important. For whites, it is 2 percent. For Mexican immigrants, it is 12%, and for native-borns of Mexican ancestry, it is 8%. Except for blacks, no ethnic group has numbers that high, whether we are looking at immigrants or those born in this country.

Another post provides a more detailed numeric breakdown on ethnocentricity by ethnic group.

In America, which ethnic group is most ethnocentric? The General Social Survey asked respondents if they think about social and political issues as Americans or as members of an ethnic group. The obvious choice is blacks, right? Well yeah, there’s no news there. Listed below are the percent who answered ethnic group:

1. Blacks 43.5%

2. Mexicans 21.9

3. Jews 15.8

4. Italians 12.0

5. American Indians 7.8

6. Irish 5.1

7. Scots 4.8

8. English/Welsh 2.5

9. Germans .9

With massive Mexican illegal immigration, we might be creating yet another nation within a nation. It surprises me that Jews and Italians are more ethnocentric than American Indians! But for most white groups, just about all sense of ethnicity has vanished.

Whites will eventually become more ethnocentric in response. Do the advocates of large scale immigration want to make Americans less individualistic? Or are they just indifferent on this question?

Says Steve Sailer in the comments:

What’s funny is that this list is in almost perfect inverse order from how the media stereotypically portrays these groups in terms of ethnocentricity and bias: the Germans want to conquer the world, the WASPs are super snooty and exclusive, etc. etc.

Mexican teens behave poorly.

Truant 4+ days last semester

White 10%

Black 12

Mexican 19

. . .

Ever tried cocaine

White 5

Black 4

Mexican 10

Ever carry weapon

White 8

Black 12

Mexican 14

Hey there white liberals: Mexicans are worse that blacks by some measures. Take note.

Respect for free speech is not equal among all groups.

For American political values, I looked for a free speech question. Respondents were asked if they agreed that a racist should have the right to give a speech in their community. The numbers (just for immigrants this time):

1. Filipinos 66.7%

2. English/Welsh 66.3

3. Germans 60.7

4. Africans 58.4

5. Italians 56.9

6. Chinese 50.7

7. Indians 50.0

8. Spain 43.9

9. Mexicans 40.8

My guess is that economic libertarians will attach little importance to these results because they attach more importance to the free movement of labor than to free speech.

Some of you may have noticed from events over in Iraq (among other places) that not all people support basic human rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If you are keen to have such rights then you ought to support immigration policies designed to keep out people who attach less importance to basic rights.

Liberals are making a mistake by supporting mass Hispanic immigration. Hispanics vote for the Democrats because the Democrats are more inclined to deliver government spending for the benefit of Hispanics. But on some other matters dear to the hearts of liberals Mexicans oppose Democratic Party positions and as Mexicans become a larger fraction of the Democratic Party’s base they will push the party away from positions that white liberals hold dear. Not surprisingly, lower income Mexicans are less supportive of spending on the environment. Environmentalism is an upper class cause. People who have satisfied their basic needs are more inclined to want to clean up the environment. Poorer people just want more money.

35% of Mexican descent males born in the United Sates have been arrested.

Mexicans are not assimilating: My friends tell me to not worry about illegal immigration because, while we see certain problems now, they are temporary because America has always successfully assimilated new people. Well, one good indicator of assimilation is less and less involvement in crime. But the General Social Survey tells us that recent cohorts of immigrants from Mexico have been differentiating away from mainstream America. Eleven percent of first generation male immigrants admitted that they had been arrested before. Fine, that rate is not high. (They may be underreporting for fear of being deported). But the percent of men of Mexican descent born in this country who say they have been arrested is 35 percent—a huge increase! Studies put the country’s number of Hispanic gang members at close to half a million, and most of them were born here.

I never used to see graffiti in my neighborhood. Now I see lots of it. I bet economic models on the effects of immigration do not have graffiti included on the cost side. Nor do I suspect those models include the costs of private schooling and driving costs for taking kids to private schools for those who pull their kids out of schools which are more dangerous and less conducive to learning due to increasing numbers of Hispanic kids in the schools.

To a libertarian predisposed for ideological reasons to see no problem with Mexican immigration my guess is this evidence can pretty easily be ignored. But those who are more empirically minded should consider the empirical evidence on immigration.

Mexican Americans are for big government.

Very strongly agree that government should reduce income differences

Blacks 33%

MA 24%

All Americans 18%

. . .

Very strongly agree that government should help pay for medical care

Blacks 47%

MA 34%

All Americans 29%

You might think that economic libertarians or the Wall Street Journal Open Borders crowed would be disturbed by these results. But, again, I think they can rationalize away all of this.

The immigration debate is between restrictionsts who marshal large amounts of evidence and large scale immigration advocates who offer myths and unrealistic models.


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