Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Statistics show that if you are born elsewhere and later acquire American citizenship, you will, on average, earn more than us native-borns, study further, marry at higher rates and divorce at lower rates, fall out of the work force less frequently and more easily dodge poverty.

What’s curious is where this immigrant advantage is most pronounced. In left-leaning, coastal, cosmopolitan America, native-borns seem well groomed by their families, schools and communities to keep up with foreign-borns. It’s in the right-leaning “Walmart America” where foreigners have the greatest advantage.

From Mississippi to West Virginia to Oklahoma, native-borns are struggling to flourish on a par with foreign-born Americans. In the 10 poorest states (just one on the East or West Coast: South Carolina), the median household of native-borns earns 84 cents for every $1 earned by a household of naturalized citizens, compared with 97 cents for native-borns in the richest (and mostly coastal) states, according to Census Bureau data. In the poorest states, foreign-borns are 24 percent less likely than native-borns to report themselves as divorced or separated, but just 3 percent less likely in the richest states. In the poorest states, foreign-borns are 36 percent less likely than native-borns to live in poverty; the disparity collapses to about half that in wealthier states like New Jersey and Connecticut.

...There’s no easy answer. But let’s first acknowledge the obvious: Most naturalized citizens — nearly half of America’s roughly 40 million immigrants — arrived by choice, found employer sponsors, navigated visas and green cards. (We’re not talking here of immigrants who never reach citizenship and generally have harder lives than American citizens, native- or foreign-born.) It’s no accident that our freshest citizens have pluck and wits that favor them later.

But I also think there’s something more complicated going on: In those places where mobility’s engine is groaning and the social fabric is fraying, many immigrants may have an added edge because of their ability to straddle the seemingly contradictory values of their birthplaces and their adopted land, to balance individualism with community-mindedness and self-reliance with usage of the system.
That ability to negotiate a balance gives them an advantage everywhere.
repeats (search terms on this site) also the idiot, Ulrich Beck. etc. etc.

Bertram (see previous): Symposium on Joseph Carens’s The Ethics of Immigration

Bertram, responding to a comment
I’m sure that other contributors to the symposium will cover this point, but Carens’s advocacy of open borders in the final part of the book is coupled with a commitment to greatly reducing global inequality. If people can secure a decent standard of living in the same place as their friends and family and the culturally familiar, then most of them will choose to do so.
Begin with idealist formalism and then plug in data to find a way to make it fit. Backwards by design, because authority is from above.

From an angry note to a stranger. Everything below, no exaggeration.
A few nights ago I sat in cafe owned by a half-German Cypriot from London, drinking tequila, listening to a discussion of Arabic diacriticals between a Bulgarian from Morocco with an MBA from France who studied kickboxing in Thailand, and an Iranian-Bangladeshi fashion stylist who's just broken up, again, with her Afro-Scottish boyfriend.  The next night I sat in a Bosnian wine bar with an Israeli fascist talking about our mutual friend, a Croatian ex-Nazi. Next to him was an Indian pharmacologist, an ex-dancer for Dolly Parton, the ex-dancer's Moroccan roommate—a bartender with memories of TriBeCa in the 90s—and a gay ex-priest. The bartender that night was from Macedonia; the Afro-Swedish waitress has the number one blues album in France, and the uncle of another led Serbian battalions in Kosovo. She's in NY studying international law. The father of a Montenegrin waitress at the Greek cafe was indicted at the Hague. She does stand up. She started a gig at an AIDS benefit by wishing her ex-boyfriend was HIV positive and dying. About her current boyfriend she says "My boyfriend is black, and I'm from Serbia.  Once you go black, you can't go back." The Croatian Nazi has great stories about the war. "Cover me! I'm going for a beer." 
The few Americans on that list are middle aged and don't want to be here. The immigrants are here for the money. None of them have much to say to the young white Americans who've moved into the neighborhood and now think they've made it a hip. What could an immigrant tell them that they hadn't learned already in the suburbs of Ohio, Carolina or Texas? After all they go or went to NYU or Columbia and immigrants are just Mexicans from other countries.
"You're not a real New Yorker. You're from Queens", says the white girl from Baltimore who speaks one language to the brown girl who speaks five.  The brown girl laughs when she tells the story, and more out of pity than contempt.

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