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Mexican Emigration Is Straining Families

By John Wahala, June 12, 2017

A new study published in the journal International Migration provides some insight into the motivations of Mexican emigrants and the impact their decisions have on the families they leave behind. Sociologist Heather Fuller conducted focus groups in an outlying township of Mexico City — an urbanizing area with a 43 percent poverty rate, high unemployment, and increasing out-migration — to examine the emotional toll on parents whose children have gone to the United States. Read more...

Unraveling the Immigrant Education Paradox

By John Wahala, March 5, 2017

In her recent Atlantic piece, Emily Deruy reports on new research that challenges the notion of an "immigrant paradox" — the theory that immigrant students outperform their native-born counterparts, in spite of all the obstacles, but that this upperward mobility is slowed across generations, perhaps because of some deficiency in American culture. Read more...

Diligence on a Changing Canadian Border

By John Wahala, October 13, 2016

The Center for Immigration Studies recently completed its sixth border tour. Heading north for the first time, we began our trip in Ottawa. From there we traveled east, crisscrossing nearly a thousand miles over the waterways and rolling hills of upstate New York and Vermont and into the lush forests of Quebec. The geography and relative calm of the region is a stark contrast to the rugged terrain and volatility of the U.S. Southwest. But behind the bucolic charm a host of factors are at work to make securing this part of the border just as challenging as the more trafficked parts. Read more...

Study Reveals Education Decline Across Immigrant Generations

By John Wahala, July 6, 2016

Deeply ingrained in American mythology is the notion that succeeding generations of immigrants always do better than their forefathers. This belief is predicated on the success that descendants of last century's great wave of immigration achieved. While researchers have pointed out that that success was often slow and the result of specific historical forces, most importantly a 40-year period of significantly reduced immigration, it has nonetheless become romanticized and held up as a model for all future immigrant trajectories. It worked in the past, say advocates for open-ended immigration, so there is no reason to be concerned. This sort of thinking can quickly turn into ideology that has no use for facts. Read more...

Immigration, Segregation, and Education

By John Wahala, March 17, 2016

One of the more controversial initiatives enacted by the Obama administration is the effort now underway to aggressively reduce segregation in residential neighborhoods across the country. Officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development are collecting and sharing extensive amounts of data with local officials to devise policies to better integrate communities. Localities that do not cooperate are being coerced in various ways, including the withholding of federal funds. Read more...

Schools Undergo Comprehensive Immigration Reform

By John Wahala, February 19, 2016

The Washington Post recently reported on the transition underway in public schools across the country. Struggling to accommodate a growing influx of students from immigrant families, they are devoting significant resources to social services. The effort goes far beyond English-language instruction to include mental health care, workshops on family reunification and housing, and regular counseling sessions where newcomers can share their experiences with peers in similar situations. Read more...

Out of Many, Many

By John Wahala, November 2, 2015

Democrat pollster Cornell Belcher recently discussed racial division in America as part of his Harvard study group on the fractured electorate:

How do we win the future when we are so segregated and continue to be increasingly segregated in our politics and voting patterns and are becoming more tribal at the level of voting? ... If we don't fix this and our politics continue to be even more segregated and more polarized as the demographics of our country continue to change ... I think you will see our politics, our legislative bodies come to a complete halt, more so than they already have, if we don't solve for this problem, if we can't solve for the tribalism in our politics and be one big tribe and not several separate, smaller tribes.

Superficial by Design: Immigration in the Presidential Debates

By John Wahala, August 7, 2015

Immigration was actually discussed at the Republican presidential debate last night. The senseless and tragic murder of Kathryn Steinle, which drew national attention to the public safety threat of sanctuary cities, and the offhand comments made by Donald Trump on Mexican crime made the subject difficult for the moderators to avoid. Read more...

Constant Activity on the California Border

By John Wahala, March 27, 2015

The Center's fifth annual border tour began in San Diego earlier this month. On our week-long itinerary we saw most of the California border, from both sides of the fence, and made it as far as Yuma, Ariz. In five trips, we have now seen almost the entire 1,993-mile southwest border, from Brownsville to the Pacific. These excursions are mere snapshots of a particular area, but we meet with enough people to get a sense of current trends. Our most recent trip underscored the ever changing nature of cross-border traffic and why managing it requires sustained political will and vigilance. Read more...

Schools Experiencing Years-Long Border Surge

By John Wahala, July 30, 2014

The influx of tens of thousands of Central Americans across the southern border has seized the attention of the American people. Gallup recently found immigration to be the top policy concern of those polled. An Economist/YouGov poll reported that 77 percent of the public supported returning the illegal aliens to their home countries.

Cities and towns where the illegal crossers are being resettled are struggling to handle the influx. Judith Flanagan Kennedy, the mayor of Lynn, Mass., recently expressed her frustration: "It's gotten to the point where the school system is overwhelmed, our Health Department is overwhelmed, the city's budget is being sustainably [sic] altered in order to accommodate all of these admissions in the School Department." Read more...

Holding Steady in West Texas

By John Wahala, March 28, 2014

Earlier this month, a group of us convened in El Paso for the Center for Immigration Studies' fourth annual border tour. On previous trips we followed the southwest boundary from east of Douglas, Arizona, to the Imperial Valley of California and traveled south along the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to Brownsville. This year we covered 1,100 miles, heading briefly into New Mexico before traveling through west Texas down the Rio Grande, into Big Bend National Park, and as far south as Terlingua. Read more...

What I Say, Not What I Spend

By John Wahala, April 3, 2013

The Sunlight Foundation reports that $1.5 billion went to immigration lobbying from 2007 through 2012. The money was spent by 678 organizations in 170 sectors on 987 proposed bills.

Analyzing nearly 1,000 bills is no small task, even for those devoted exclusively to the immigration issue. Proposed immigration legislation can get complicated, with attempts to reform the entire system nearing 1,000 pages. Since immigration affects practically every aspect of American life and Congress keeps trying to change the existing law, you can see why the public might want to invest substantial amounts to influence what is being decided. Read more...

A Washington Narrative Meets Reality

By John Wahala, March 4, 2013

During his visit to El Paso in May 2011, President Obama mocked calls for border security. After declaring that sufficient measures had been taken to stem illegal crossings, he joked that his critics would always demand more, perhaps even calling for alligators in a moat. While the line drew howls from the national media, local residents did not laugh. The quip revealed only ignorance or callousness to the escalating dangers that are part of their daily life. Read more...

The Migrant's Prerogative

By John Wahala, August 3, 2012

Peter Sutherland, the UN's Special Representative for Migration and Development, recently argued that "at the most basic level individuals should have a freedom of choice" as to where they wish to live. To this end, he wants the European Union to "do its best to undermine" the sense of homogeneity held by the citizens of its member states so that a global approach will be adopted on immigration. Read more...

Summertime, Brought to You by Eastern Europe

By John Wahala, June 13, 2012

The season of outdoor amusement has arrived. Across the country, the young and the young at heart bask in sun-drenched days and long tranquil evenings, enjoying cookouts, concerts, sporting events, and of course trips to the pool and the beach. It is the time of many American traditions. In recent years this has included the arrival of legions of young foreign workers who descend on resorts and recreational areas to keep them running day and night. Read more...

Sunshine, Saguaros, and Smugglers

By John Wahala, March 14, 2012

In late February, the Center for Immigration Studies hosted its second tour of the southwest border. Last year we explored the eastern half of Arizona and this year we began just west of Yuma in the Imperial Valley of California. Led by Jerry Kammer, our group crisscrossed almost a thousand miles, from the dunes around Algodones to the eastern portions of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge near Tucson. We saw captivating landscapes and got invaluable insight on the human and drug cartels that operate in the area. Read more...

Reflections from the Border

By John Wahala, February 17, 2011

Last month I had the opportunity to tour southern Arizona with a small group led by our own Jerry Kammer, who lived and wrote there for many years and whose passion for the region is contagious. Through his connections, we were given intimate perspectives on the border situation from those who face it on a daily basis. Read more...

Immigration and Education: Only the Beginning

By John Wahala, September 13, 2010

The Census Bureau finds that one of every four members of this year's kindergarten class is Hispanic. To put this number in context, Hispanics were less than five percent of all students in 1970. This unprecedented transformation is the result of our federal immigration program, which continues at record pace. Read more...

A Growing Struggle

By John Wahala, June 24, 2010

The Pew Hispanic Center’s recent analysis of educational attainment data from the Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey finds that only one in ten Hispanic high school dropouts has a General Educational Development (GED) credential, the lowest among any major race/ethnic group. Read more...

A New People

By John Wahala, February 9, 2010

Not content with their political progress, certain figures on the Left have sought to use mass immigration as a way of bolstering their electoral support. The notion that a large majority of newcomers will naturalize, register, and vote for candidates that advocate radical agendas seems tenuous to some observers. But there is evidence that immigrants who vote generally favor Democratic candidates. And it is the prospect of increasing political clout that drives some ideologues to push for open-ended immigration policies. Read more...

Corruption as Convention

By John Wahala, August 3, 2009

In the midst of the debate over state-run health care comes news that blames the steady influx of immigrants for a rise in Medicare fraud.

A top investigator at the Department of Justice tells the Houston Chronicle, "There's a real problem of health care fraud in recent immigrant communities—we see it every day," the official said. "One of the reasons is you're looking at people who don't come up through the educational system, they're impoverished, they think this country is very rich, and they don't view taking advantage of a government program as a crime." Read more...

The Change They Seek

By John Wahala, May 8, 2009

In what has become an annual exercise, activists came together on May 1, International Workers’ Day 2009 to demand a pardon for all those residing illegally in the country. And although last week’s rallies lacked the magnitude and intensity of recent years—when a sweeping legislative amnesty appeared imminent—they were replete with the same conspicuous contempt for the American mainstream that illegal aliens ostensibly seek to join. Read more...

Perverse Policy

By John Wahala, February 27, 2009

Lamenting the choice of Somali Americans to become suicide bombers back home, FBI Director Robert Mueller explained, “The prospect of young men, indoctrinated and radicalized within their own communities, and induced to travel to such countries to take up arms—and to kill themselves and perhaps many others—is a perversion of the immigrant story.” Read more...

Mexico’s Failings

By John Wahala, January 16, 2009

The fragility of institutions is not a concern for most Americans. Despite our relatively short—and occasionally tumultuous—history, we view our situation with the hubris borne from beginning the world over again. There is a sense we are immune from the internal crises that threaten the civility of other parts of the world. Read more...

Hollow Populism

By John Wahala, September 3, 2008

Senator John McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin for vice president surprised most of the punditry, who are now chortling with glee over what they perceive as her lack of sophistication. What they actually deride is what the McCain camp is gambling will be her greatest strength—a life deeply rooted in a community far away from the corruption of Washington. Far from a liability, such localism is what has defined America and what most Americans embrace. And Senator McCain is hoping she can embody this sentiment. Read more...

More Fallout from Mass Immigration

By John Wahala, August 6, 2008

A recent study published in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds that immigrant children are less likely to be physically active than their native-born peers. Close to 20 percent of foreign-born children get no physical exercise and 56 percent do not participate in organized sports. The results vary significantly among ethnic groups. Read more...