Posted on October 17, 2012

Affirmative Action and Immigration: Can They Coexist?

Daniel Akst, Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2012

Affirmative action is in the news again. The Supreme Court is mulling a case involving racial preferences at the University of Texas, and this weekend’s Saturday essay in the Wall Street Journal looked at “The Unraveling of Affirmative Action.”

One dimension of this debate that is sometimes overlooked involves the ways immigration and affirmative action interact. The late historian and political scientist Hugh Davis Graham tackled this subject head on in an enlightening and prescient little book entitled “Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America” (Oxford, 2003), which is briefly reviewed here.

Given the nature of 21st century immigrants (most are from Asia and Latin America), Graham saw affirmative action and immigration as being at odds and predicted that, while relatively high rates of immigration are probably here to stay, affirmative action was less likely to endure in a context of shifting rationales and a nation of ever-greater diversity.

Readers, what do you think? Should immigrants be entitled to the advantages of affirmative action? Are immigration and affirmative action mutually antagonistic in a democratic culture, or mutually reinforcing? On what practical basis might affirmative action be carried forward, if it should continue at all?

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to visit the original article link below and voice your opinion.]