Regg-Cohn: Surprised that some Black people and Latinos voted for Trump? Try looking at them as individuals

Good commentary on the diversity within groups:

In other news, it turns out that more Blacks, Latinos and gays turned out for Donald Trump this time than last time.

Why is that news? The only surprise is that anyone is surprised.

That certain groups are presumed to vote in their supposed self-interest — as determined by other groups who know better what’s best for them — is not merely presumptuous. It’s profiling.

Today, some of the same social critics who warn against stereotyping Blacks or Latinos are now scratching their heads about why they didn’t vote as expected in the U.S. presidential election. Profiling can be perilous.

Today, some of the same social critics who warn against stereotyping Blacks or Latinos are now scratching their heads about why they didn’t vote as expected in the U.S. presidential election. Profiling can be perilous.

It is a human impulse. But impossibly dehumanizing at times.

Profiling seeks out similarities, but it is pointless if we forget individual differences. It relies on the notion that people of similar backgrounds or aspirations hold similar beliefs, live in similar neighbourhoods, and so on.

Profiling seeks out similarities, but it is pointless if we forget individual differences. It relies on the notion that people of similar backgrounds or aspirations hold similar beliefs, live in similar neighbourhoods, and so on.

The biggest problems with profiling are the premises and definitions that underlie it. That more Latinos voted for Trump this time tells us little of interest, because it’s such an imprecise term (and is overshadowed by the overpowering reality that whites voted massively and decisively for him).

Latinos range from anti-Communist arch-capitalists in Miami’s Cuban émigré community to impoverished Honduran refugees fleeing drug wars via Mexico, to second-generation strivers in Texas or Arizona aspiring to join the ruling Republican establishment. Ethnic is not monolithic.

Just as LGBTQ voters can be Republican or Democrat, Latinos are more different than they are alike.

Profiling is a tool and a template. It is a form of demography and part of democracy, for better or for worst — which is why pollsters, political operatives and party fundraisers mine the data to harvest votes and donations at election time.

They’re just more sophisticated than the rest of us in slicing and dicing the fruit salad. They know that skin colour is only skin deep, so they drill down for other demographic details such as education, income, location.

That’s why postal codes are the preferred proxies for pollsters. Yet zeitgeist and zip codes are rarely congruent.

My own education in demographic divisions came when I was posted to the Toronto Star’s Middle East bureau years ago. Despite my background as a political reporter, I only realized as a foreign correspondent how many ways Israelis could be subdivided.

Not merely as hawks versus doves, but ethnic Ashkenazi versus Sephardi; secular Russian immigrants versus ultra-Orthodox Haredi; socialist kibbutzniks versus modern Orthodox Jewish settlers; urban versus suburban; Muslim and Christian Arab citizens versus Jewish citizens; and last but not least, left versus right. The miracle was how quickly those internecine divisions melted away when Israelis faced an external enemy and existential threat; and how quickly the internal tensions returned (Palestinians, too, fought their own civil war in Gaza between Islamist Hamas rejectionists and secular Yasser Arafat loyalists).

The security services typecast people as safe or threatening based not only on background but back story and behaviour — whether at airport check-ins, military checkpoints or political rallies. Which is why Yitzhak Rabin’s security guards let down their guard when a kippah-wearing orthodox Jew chatted them up before assassinating the prime minister — he didn’t fit their Palestinian profile of a clear and present danger.

Stephen Harper’s Tories made inroads in the GTA suburbs by appealing to the traditional values of many immigrant communities that converged with conservatism. His then-minister of multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, once sat me down to demonstrate his mastery of Chinese Canadian demographics — delineating early anti-Communist immigrants from Taiwan, subsequent waves of Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong dual citizens, and more recent (more apolitical) arrivals from mainland China.

The New Democratic Party — founded as an alliance between the co-operative agricultural movement and the labour movement — long ago learned the working class would not reflexively rally to their side. If workers are reluctant to recognize their own enlightened self-interest — rallying to Doug Ford’s Tories even when they campaigned on cancelling a minimum wage hike and then freezing it for years — why are progressives perplexed when Blacks or Latinos warm up to Trump?

Vote-determining issues are more likely to be economic than ethnic, and political preferences are often more idiosyncratic than ideological. That’s only human.

The point is that profiling tells you everything and nothing about people. Just as postal codes are imprecise — people are unpredictable.

Political parties bank on profiling because there’s much to gain from voters and donors, and little to lose from mass mailings or email blasting that misses the mark. The minimal cost of bulk postage and mass spamming is a mere rounding error.

The point is that profiling tells you everything and nothing about people. Just as postal codes are imprecise — people are unpredictable.

Political parties bank on profiling because there’s much to gain from voters and donors, and little to lose from mass mailings or email blasting that misses the mark. The minimal cost of bulk postage and mass spamming is a mere rounding error.

The rest of us can’t afford to be so reckless with our wild guesses, unproven hunches and dehumanizing assumptions. If the penalty of your profiling is an assassin’s bullet, or an airplane bombing, or a human rights humiliation, then the miscalculation yields an incalculable cost.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2020/11/11/surprised-that-blacks-and-latinos-voted-for-donald-trump-try-looking-at-them-as-individuals.html

What We Know About The Latino Vote In Some Key States

Expect to see more detailed analyses over the coming months. But a forceful reminder of the diversity of views among different immigrant-origin communities and the danger of over-generalized political strategies and assumptions:

Democrats’ long-term hopes for electoral success have long cited the growing Latino population in the country. But former Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in heavily Latino areas of key states has concerned members of his party — and may have cost him Electoral College votes, according to groups and activists working to mobilize Latino voters.

Nationally, Biden appears to have gotten support from roughly twice as many Latino voters as President Trump, but that support looked very different depending on where you looked in three key states with large Latino populations.

Democrats were pleased with their performance in Arizona, where The Associated Press awarded Biden the state’s 11 electoral votes early Wednesday morning, while anxiety ran high about the results in Florida, where President Trump’s strength with conservative Cuban American voters helped secure him that state’s 29 electoral votes, according to AP. And while Texas was a long shot for Biden, Democrats had seen opportunity in the explosive growth in the state’s Latino population.

During a post-election virtual press conference on Wednesday, leaders from groups aimed at mobilizing Latino voters expressed frustration that the votes of Latinos were not more aggressively pursued, even as they cheered record levels of turnout among Latinos in some key states.

Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said that the Biden campaign missed an opportunity in Florida and Texas.

“The Democrats cannot take Latinos for granted. I think Biden missed a grand opportunity to have been able to carry both Florida and Texas,” he said. “If he had just invested in the Latino community more, if he had delivered the correct message. The numbers that we’ve seen out of Miami-Dade is he got 250,000 less Latino votes than Hillary Clinton got.”

Leaders in the Latino community have repeatedly stressed the diversity and complexity of the Latino vote, ranging from conservatives with more traditional social views to young liberals. There are first-generation citizens and families who have been in the United States for decades.

President Trump’s reelection campaign has aggressively courted Latino voters in Florida for years, particularly conservative Cuban Americans, in an effort to offset likely losses among suburban voters and seniors. Trump won a significant majority of Cuban American voters in Florida, as Republican attacks on Joe Biden and Democrats as “socialists” have resonated.

While Trump won over Cuban Americans across the state, Biden’s campaign won the other segments of the state’s Latino electorate. But Biden’s support among Florida’s Latinos fell short of the support that Hillary Clinton carried them with in 2016.

Four years ago, Clinton won Miami-Dade County, the state’s largest county where nearly 7 out of every 10 residents are Hispanic, by 30 percentage points, despite losing the state. This year, Biden won it by just seven points.

Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, told reporters on Wednesday that Biden had not underperformed among Latinos.

“We just saw Donald Trump increase his support with the Cuban American vote,” she said. She defended the campaign’s Latino voter outreach program both in Florida and nationally, citing strong Latino support in states like Arizona and Nevada.

Democrats also had high hopes to turn Texas blue, due to a combination of Democratic breakthroughs in the suburbs and demographic change that they believed benefitted them, including explosive growth in the state’s Latino population. Democrats in the state had been focused heavily on the Rio Grande Valley near the southern border with Mexico, but they ultimately came up short.

Garcia and others pointed to Trump’s victory in Zapata County, just north of the Rio Grande Valley, where voters had overwhelmingly backed the Democratic candidate in the past two presidential elections.

“It went from Hillary to Trump. Why? Because the issues of law and order are impacting Latinos quite a bit,” Garcia said. “For example, a lot of the border patrol, law enforcement are heavily Latino in the Rio Grande Valley. So when you are talking about defunding the police, and you don’t stand up to those types of rhetoric, then it leaves an opening for Republicans to come in and take advantage of that.” That’s despite the fact that Biden vociferously opposed defunding the police, something that has support in the Democratic base.

Biden’s strength in Arizona was in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Biden’s campaign focused its efforts there, and drove up turnout among Latinos there, who are largely of Mexican origin. Strategists say that they believe Latinos younger than 30 to have been decisive in that state.

The Trump campaign also worked to win over Latinos in this state, particularly Latino men, and the president was in the state in the closing days of the election, holding rallies despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: What We Know About The Latino Vote In Some Key States

How Hispanics see themselves varies by number of generations in US

Interesting how identity changes over generations, not atypical for many with immigrant ancestry:

The terms Hispanics in the United States use to describe themselves can provide a direct look at how they view their identity and how the strength of immigrant ties influences the ways they see themselves. About half of Hispanic adults say they most often describe themselves by their family’s country of origin or heritage, using terms such as Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican or Salvadoran, while another 39% most often describe themselves as “Hispanic” or “Latino,” the pan-ethnic terms used most often to describe this group in the U.S.

The terms Latinos use to describe their identity differ across immigrant generations

Meanwhile, 14% say they most often call themselves American, according to a national Pew Research Center survey of Hispanic adults conducted in December 2019.

The use of these terms varies across immigrant generations and reflects their diverse experiences. More than half (56%) of foreign-born Latinos most often use the name of their origin country to describe themselves, a share that falls to 39% among the U.S.-born adult children of immigrant parents (i.e., the second generation) and 33% among third- or higher-generation Latinos.

How we did this

Meanwhile, the share who say they most often use the term “American” to describe themselves rises from 4% among immigrant Latinos to 22% among the second generation and 33% among third- or higher-generation Latinos. (Only 3% of Hispanic adults use the recent gender-neutral pan-ethnic term Latinx to describe themselves. In general, the more traditional terms Hispanic or Latino are preferred to Latinx to refer to the ethnic group.)

The U.S. Hispanic population reached 60.6 million in 2019. About one-third (36%) of Hispanics are immigrants, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Another third of Hispanics are second generation (34%) – they are U.S. born with at least one immigrant parent. The remaining 30% of Hispanics belong to the third or higher generations, that is, they are U.S. born to U.S.-born parents.

A large majority of Hispanics who are third or higher generation see themselves as typical Americans

The December 2019 survey also finds U.S. Hispanics are divided on how much of a common identity they share with other Americans, though views vary widely by immigrant generation. About half (53%) consider themselves to be a typical American, while 44% say they are very different from a typical American. By contrast, only 37% of immigrant Hispanics consider themselves a typical American. This share rises to 67% among second-generation Hispanics and to 79% among third-or-higher-generation Hispanics – views that partially reflect their birth in the U.S. and their experiences as lifelong residents of this country.

Speaking Spanish seen as a key part of Hispanic identity

What it means to be Hispanic can vary across the group. Hispanics most often say speaking Spanish is an essential part of what being Hispanic means to them, with 45% saying so. Other top elements considered to be part of Hispanic identity include having both parents of Hispanic ancestry (32%) and socializing with other Hispanics (29%). Meanwhile, about a quarter say having a Spanish last name (26%) or participating in or attending Hispanic cultural celebrations (24%) are an essential part of Hispanic identity. Lower shares say being Catholic (16%) is an essential part of Hispanic identity. (A declining share of U.S. Hispanic adults say they are Catholic.) Just 9% say wearing attire that represents their Hispanic origin is essential to Hispanic identity.

The importance of most of these elements to Hispanic identity decreases across generations. For example, 54% of foreign-born Hispanics say speaking Spanish is an essential part of what being Hispanic means to them, compared with 44% of second-generation Hispanics and 20% of third- or higher-generation Hispanics.

For U.S. Hispanics, speaking Spanish is the most important part of Hispanic identity across immigrant generations

Most Latinos feel at least somewhat connected to a broader Hispanic community in the U.S.

About six-in-ten Hispanic adults say what happens to other Hispanics affects what happens in their own lives

For U.S. Latinos, the question of identity is complex due to the group’s diverse cultural traditions and countries of origin. Asked to choose between two statements, Latinos say their group has many different cultures rather than one common culture by more than three-to-one (77% vs. 21%). There are virtually no differences on this question by immigrant generation among Latinos.

Few Hispanics report a strong sense of connectedness with other Hispanics, with only 18% saying what happens to other Hispanics in the U.S. impacts them a lot and another 40% saying it impacts them some. Immigrant Hispanics (62%) are as likely as those in the second generation (60%) to express a sense of linked fate with other Hispanics. This share decreases to 44% among the third or higher generation.

Note: Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology.

Source: How Hispanics see themselves varies by number of generations in US

Discrimination may contribute to decline of ‘birthweight advantage’ in black immigrants

Striking and disturbing findings from Florida. Contrast between Blacks and Latinos also striking:

Black women have the highest prevalence of low birthweight babies compared to other racial and ethnic groups, but black immigrants typically have much better outcomes than their U.S.-born counterparts. Yet, little has been known about whether this “healthy immigrant” effect persists across generations.

According to a new study published by Princeton University researchers, the substantial “birthweight advantage” experienced by the foreign-born black population is lost within a single generation. In contrast, a modest advantage among foreign-born Hispanics persists across generations.

The authors suspect discrimination and inequality in the U.S. may be a contributing factor to this decline. Experiences of interpersonal discrimination, both before and during pregnancy, are likely to trigger physiological stress responses that negatively affect birth outcomes, they said.

The study, published in Epidemiology, has important public health implications given that low birthweight is a significant predictor of a broad range of health and socioeconomic outcomes throughout one’s life. The findings also underscore the potential role of discrimination in producing racial and intergenerational disparities in birth outcomes.

The research was conducted by Noreen Goldman, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Demography and Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and first author Theresa Andrasfay, who received her Ph.D. from Princeton’s Program in Population Studies.

Motivated by an earlier study of a small number of black immigrants in Illinois in the 1950-1970s, the researchers felt that conclusions regarding intergenerational changes in birthweight warranted a larger sample based on recent data in a popular immigrant destination state.

The authors analyzed administrative records from 1971 to 2015 in Florida, which receives a large number of black immigrants from the Caribbean. They linked several hundred thousand birth records of daughters to those of their mothers. This allowed them to compare birthweights of daughters born to foreign-born and U.S.-born mothers with the birthweights of their granddaughters. The study provides estimates of these intergenerational changes in birthweight for white, Hispanic, and black women.

The results point to what the researchers call a large foreign-born advantage among blacks: 7.8% of daughters born to foreign-born black women are low birthweight (under 2,500 grams or 5.5 pounds) compared to 11.8% among U.S.-born black women. But, whereas foreign-born Hispanic women maintain a birthweight advantage in the next generation, black women see this advantage essentially eliminated with the birth of their granddaughters. These granddaughters are more than 50% more likely than their mothers to be low birthweight. In contrast, the increase in low birthweight prevalence between daughters and granddaughters of U.S.-born black women is only about 10%, which is more in line with national increases in low birthweight over the same time period.

Andrasfay and Goldman were surprised by the rapidity with which the foreign-born advantage among black women was lost. After only one generation spent in the U.S., the prevalence of low birthweight is almost as high among the granddaughters of foreign-born black women as among the granddaughters of U.S.-born black women (12.2% vs. 13.1%) and is considerably higher for both groups of black infants than for white and Hispanic babies.

The authors identified an equally striking finding with regard to differences in low birthweight by level of schooling. Contrary to the pattern found among all other racial and ethnic groups, foreign-born black women are about as likely to have a low birthweight daughter if they have low or high levels of schooling. However, in the next generation, the prevalence of low birthweight declines as maternal education increases. This likely reflects a difference in the context in which mothers received their education.

In the U.S., mothers with less than high school education are disadvantaged in multiple ways, but women who obtained this same level of schooling before immigrating to the U.S. were likely relatively advantaged in their origin countries.”

Theresa Andrasfay, First Author

The authors controlled for socioeconomic and health-related risk factors, including characteristics of women’s neighborhoods that varied among racial, ethnic, and nativity groups, but these factors did not account for their findings. They concluded that the high frequency of low birthweight babies among blacks, and the increase from daughters to granddaughters among black immigrants, were likely both due to exposure to discrimination and inequality. “Unfortunately,” said Goldman, “high quality measures of discrimination are notoriously difficult to obtain.”

The researchers note several limitations of the study. The study is based on birth records from only one state, Florida, and in order to observe multiple generations within the same family, the study was restricted to families in which both daughters and granddaughters were born in Florida. Though the main analysis used only female births, there is evidence that the findings extend to male births. Nevertheless, their study has important implications.

“Though black immigrants currently make up a small share of the population, their numbers are growing,” said Andrasfay. “This growth emphasizes the importance of understanding how their health evolves with time in the U.S. to better understand future disparities.”

“Foreign-born blacks may experience less prejudice than their U.S.-born peers because they have spent part of their lives in majority black countries where discrimination may be less severe than in the U.S.,” said Goldman. “In contrast, their children spend their entire lives in a more racialized social environment than found in the Caribbean, which could explain the worsening of birth outcomes between generations.”

“This study also underscores the need for more research,” said Goldman, “both to develop better measures of interpersonal discrimination and to identify epigenetic mechanisms that link social stressors to birth outcomes among black women.”

The paper, “Intergenerational change in birthweight: effects of foreign-born status and race/ethnicity,” was published online in Epidemiology on June 1 and will be featured in the September print edition.

Source: Discrimination may contribute to decline of ‘birthweight advantage’ in black immigrants

After Stephen Miller’s white nationalist beliefs outouted, Latinos ask, ‘where’s the GOP outrage?’

Good question but yet not surprising:

It wasn’t the content of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s leaked emails that shocked Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso, Texas, but the silence of her Republican colleagues that has followed.

Miller is the architect of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies that have separated children from parents,forced people seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico under squalid conditions, instituted the Muslim ban and poured money from the military into border wall construction. The administration is currently under fire for the deaths of migrant children and teens who have died while in government custody.

In a trove of emails provided to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, Miller cited and promoted white nationalist ideologies of white genocide, immigrants as criminals and eugenics, all of which were once considered fringe and extreme. White nationalists embrace white supremacist and white separatist views.

Three weeks after the emails were made public, Miller still is in the White House. Only Democrats have called on the White House to rid itself of white nationalism.

“It really has been jarring (that) the president’s enablers and Republicans have not stood up and said, Mr. President, this is unacceptable,” Escobar said in an interview. “I would implore my Republican colleagues to join us in calling for Stephen Miller’s resignation,” she said.

MIller’s ideology has wide reach, consequences

Escobar represents El Paso, where a gunman opened fire in a Walmart on Aug. 3, killing 22 people and injuring 26.

Police have said the suspect in the El Paso shootings told them his target was “Mexicans.” They also said he posted an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino screed that stated the attack was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Some of the language in the screed is consideredsimilar to words used by the president and state leaders.

After the shootings, Trump condemned white supremacy and said “hate has no place in America” but did not mention that Latinos were targeted or that the victims were predominantly Latino in his speech.

Miller is more than helping reshape immigration policy.

With Miller’s assistance, the administration is “doing an end run around Congress to dismantle every aspect of the immigration system” through executive actions and gutting regulations and replacing them with their own, said Doug Rand, an immigration policy adviser in the Obama White House and cofounder of Boundless Immigration, which uses technology to help immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship.

“Believe it or not, it’s possible to be to the right of President Trump on immigration, and that’s where Stephen Miller has spent his whole career,” Rand said. “He idealizes the 1924 law that banned immigrants from just about everywhere but Western Europe, and he is pulling every lever he can find throughout the federal government to accomplish the same outcome.”

Escobar has asked the Department of Homeland Security to audit its policies to determine which were influenced by Miller “to show the motivations of the administration’s immigration policies and shed light on the people that help craft them.”

Separately, 107 members of Congress signed a letter to Trump demanding he fire Miler.

“A documented white nationalist has no place in any administration, and especially not in such an influential position,” the Democratic congressional members said in the letter.

There also are several petitions calling for Miller’s resignation, including one started by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that had more than 130,000 signatures as of this week.

Miller previously worked for former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. — who served as Trump’s first attorney general — before joining the Trump campaign.

More tolerance for intolerance?

That he persists reflects a change in what the country and political leaders are willing to tolerate under a Trump administration.

At the start of the year, House Republicans removed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from committee assignments after he said in an interview with The New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

When he said in 2013 that young immigrants had calves the size of cantaloupes, King drew condemnation from throughout the party, including from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both Florida Republicans. King has been repeatedly re-elected and is a Trump ally.

Diaz-Balart, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the three most senior Latino Republicans in Congress, either didn’t respond or declined to comment on the calls for Miller’s resignation.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart, both from immigrant families, have a moderate record on immigration. Miller even targeted Rubio in emails to get negative stories written about him by Breitbart. Rubio’s response has been that he knew Miller wasn’t a fan of his immigration policies.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The White House has defended Miller in previous statements to media, raising Miller’s Jewish background in that defense.

Ocasio-Cortez dismissed that defense in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes saying “the color of your skin and the identity you are born with does not absolve you of moral wrong.”

“I don’t think any public servant should weaponize their identity in order to advance white nationalist ideas. Period. Punto. I don’t care who you are,” Ocasio-Cortez said. Having Miller at the helm of U.S. immigration policy means policies “will become more fascistic and we cannot allow that to be us,” she said.

A rise in violent, white supremacist extremism

In his emails, Miller makes clear the esteem he holds for another period in the country, when President Calvin Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924 that severely restricted immigration from certain parts of the world. Coolidge is admired by white nationalists, according to the SPLC.

The act was the nation’s first comprehensive restrictive immigration policy that established the Border Patrol.

After being told that Fox radio host Mark Levin has said there should be no immigration for several years “for assimilation purposes,” Miller responds:

“Like Coolidge did. Kellyanne Conway poll says that is exactly what most Americans want after 40 years of non-stop record arrivals,” according to emails posted by SPLC. Conway is an adviser to Trump.

In referencing the 1924 act, Miller is “harkening to an era of racial violence,” said Monica Muñoz Martinez, author of “The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas.”

FBI statistics released in November showed an increase in hate crimes and violence against Latinos.

In a September report, the Department of Homeland Security said while the country still faces threats from foreign terrorist organizations, “unfortunately, the severity and number of domestic threats have also grown.”

The agency said there has been a “concerning” rise in attacks by people motivated by racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, including white supremacist violent extremism, anti-government and anti-authority violent extremism and other ideologies.

White supremacist violent extremists can generally be characterized by hatred for immigrants and ethnic minorities, often combining these prejudices with virulent anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim views, the DHS report states.

In a Sept. 6, 2015, email, Miller suggested Breitbart write about “The Camp of the Saints,” SPLC reported. The novel’s theme is the end of white civilization by migrants who arrive from India.

Kathleen Belew, an expert on the white-power movement, said in an interview with NPR that Miller’s citation of the book is “clear evidence that this is a person who is immersed in trafficking in white nationalist ideology.”

“Voters across the country, constituents across the country who see their leaders standing in silence in the face of unprecedented racism and bigotry at the highest levels of government in our generation, they need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves: Is this acceptable?” Escobar said.

Source: After Stephen Miller’s white nationalist beliefs outouted, Latinos ask, ‘where’s the GOP outrage?’

The unknowns of US immigration policy are increasing anxiety among first-generation Latinx teens

Not surprising:

Despite the fast-moving news cycle nowadays, shifting immigration policies and policy guidelines make headlines every week. At the end of one dizzying week that included a serious discussion on the decriminalization of border crossings and a Supreme Court ruling againstadding a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the Trump administration’s appeal to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) next fall, just in time to issue their ruling the summer before the election. And that was just one week in June.

Dreamers have faced uncertainty about their immigration status since September 2017 when the Trump administration moved to terminate the program and the federal courts took up several lawsuits challenging these actions. Now, new research shows that immigration policy concerns are taking mental tolls on first-generation Latinx (Latino/Latina) adolescents.

Using data from a long-term study of primarily Mexican families living in California’s Salinas Valley region, researchers surveyed 397 sixteen-year-olds with at least one immigrant parent. In the year following the 2016 presidential election, nearly half of the teens reported that they worried about how immigration policies could affect themselves and their families. Compared to before the 2016 election, the teens who worried more about immigration policy also reported an increase in symptoms of anxiety. Particularly among teenage boys, higher anxiety was correlated with poor sleep quality.

As we debate changes to U.S. immigration policy, many immigrant families are having difficult conversations about planning for the worst-case scenario. This research shows that the uncertainty regarding immigration status has effects on mental health in children as well as adults. More studies need to be done to address the long-term health consequences of these policies on immigrant families, both directly and indirectly through their access to healthcare services.

Source: The unknowns of US immigration policy are increasing anxiety among first-generation Latinx teens

USA demographic changes and political shifts: Asians, Latinos and Orange County

Good question regarding whether or not Asian Americans will be influenced by the Trump administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and actions:

The same sort of panic that hit California’s Latinos after the 1994 passage of the anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 is now hitting many of this state’s almost 6 million ethnic-Asian residents.

Latino fears in the wake of Prop. 187, which sought to keep the undocumented immigrant out of public schools, hospital emergency rooms and seemingly any place its authors could imagine, led to citizenship applications and then voter registration by more than 2.5 million Hispanics over the next three years.

They caused a political revolution in California, which morphed from a swing state equally likely to elect Republicans or Democrats into one of the most staunchly Democratic states in the Union. Only one Republican has been elected to statewide office in the last 20 years, the almost non-partisan former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won out in the 2003 recall of ex-Gov. Gray Davis.

Now Asian immigrants are feeling fearful because of President Trump’s ban on entry to this country by residents of several Muslim-majority countries and his attempts to restrict the number of political and humanitarian refugees allowed in, plus a drive to deport Vietnamese refugees with any kind of crime on their record, no matter how old or minor.

Asians also remember the Japanese internment during World War II, in which 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held in remote camps for several years.

“You hope things like that can’t happen again, but they really can,” said one green card holder from Thailand. “So I will become a citizen.”

Like her, thousands of Asians in California, from countries as diverse as China, the Philippines and India, see citizenship as the best protection from a potential future expulsion.

If they become citizens in anything like the proportions of Latinos who felt similarly in California after passage of Prop. 187, they could spur vast political changes well beyond this state’s borders. In fact, if both they and citizenship-eligible Latino immigrants ever register in large numbers, they could turn several once-solid Republican states into battlegrounds or cause them to lean Democratic.

And Asians here are applying, although there are impediments Latinos did not face in the late 1990s. Example: Of the 220,000 immigrants in Orange County now eligible for naturalization, nearly 30 percent are Asian. Of them, about 4,500 applied for naturalization through the first three quarters of 2017. If that trend continues statewide for the remainder of Trump’s current term, more than 150,000 Asians will be added to California’s voting rolls.

Because they’re registering largely for the same reasons as Latinos once did, they probably won’t change this state’s political composition. But what about other states? Taking Texas as an example, more than 680,000 Asians are now eligible for citizenship but have not applied. That could make for big change in a state that in November almost gave a Democrats their first statewide victory in more than 20 years.

Yes, the $725 naturalization application fee is a roadblock for many. So is the required blizzard of paperwork. But Texas saw more than 20,000 citizenship applications from Asians last year. If Latinos, many even more apprehensive about Trump’s policies than Asians, register in Texas in similar percentages – and they have not yet – they could combine with Asians to turn Texas Democratic. For that state contains more than 3 million Hispanics who have not sought naturalization despite being eligible.

For sure, the numbers indicate fear among both Latinos and Asians has not reached the same levels it did among California Hispanics after Prop. 187.

But what happens when and if Trump begins serious work on his long-advertised border wall? And what if he attempts mass deportations of illegal immigrants, as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated during his days in the Senate?

For sure, hate crimes against immigrants of all kinds increased during Trump’s presidential campaign and his first year in office. If that trend accelerates, it may spur the kind of fears that pushed Latinos to get naturalized here.

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion tells us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Just as former President Obama’s policies produced the backlash that elected Trump, so Trump’s policies may already have begun producing an even stronger national backlash against him and his party.

Source: Thomas D. Elias: Will Asians spur big new political changes?

And this analysis of the shift from solidly Republican to leaning Democratic in Orange Country is revealing:

To appreciate the vast cultural and political upheaval across Orange County over the last 40 years, look no further than Bolsa Avenue. The auto body shop, the tax preparer, a church, a food market, countless restaurants — all are marked by signs written in Vietnamese.

Or head seven miles west to Santa Ana, where Vietnamese makes way for Spanish along Calle Cuatro, a bustling enclave of stores and sidewalk stands serving an overwhelming Latino clientele.

The Democratic capture of four Republican-held congressional seats in Orange County in November — more than half the seven congressional seats Democrats won from Republicans in California — toppled what had long been a fortress of conservative Republicanism. The sweep stunned party leaders, among them Paul D. Ryan, the outgoing House speaker. Even Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor-elect of California, won the county where Richard M. Nixon was born.

But the results reflected what has been a nearly 40-year rise in the number of immigrants, nonwhite residents and college graduates that has transformed this iconic American suburb into a Democratic outpost, highlighted in a Times analysis of demographic data going back to 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected president.

The ideological shift signaled by the most recent election results, on the heels of Hillary Clinton beating Donald J. Trump here in 2016, is viewed by leaders in both parties as a warning sign for national Republicans, as suburban communities like this one loom as central battle grounds in the 2020 elections and beyond.

Those new swing suburban counties were one of the central factors behind the 40-seat Democratic gain in the House in November. Many of them have been changed by an increase in educated and affluent voters who have been pushed toward the Democratic column by some of Mr. Trump’s policies. That partly accounts for what is happening here in Orange County, but the political shifts can also be explained by the rapidly changing cultural, political and economic face of the region and are on display in places like Bolsa Avenue, which is known as Little Saigon.

“There are so many of us here and that is what is contributing to these changes,” said Tracy La, 23, who is Vietnamese. Ms. La helped organize a rally in Westminster in mid-December to protest an attempt by the Trump administration to deport thousands of Vietnam War refugees. It drew hundreds of people to the Asian Garden Mall, one of the largest and oldest Vietnamese-operated malls in the nation.

“This is where the future is heading,” said Mark Baldassare, the president of the Public Policy Institute of California. “I don’t see anything that took place in these elections or the demographic trends that are ongoing, to make me think this is a one-time incident.”

That said, the critical question for Democrats — and for Republicans eager to get back in the game — is how much of the November outcome, and the large turnout of younger Latino and Asian-American voters, was because of Mr. Trump.

Kyle Layman, who ran the Southern California congressional campaigns for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said this election had apparently begun to cement long-term changes in voter behavior — an assessment that is not disputed by California Republican leaders.

“I think what we have done is built a foundation that is going to be sustainable,” he said. “These seats are going to be swing seats moving forward. They are going to be very, very tight. But this is part of a long-term trend.”

Indeed, even if the dramatic shift on display in 2018 was in reaction to Mr. Trump — and particularly the immigration policies he has embraced — analysts said that he had only accelerated political movements that were well underway.

“Because it’s becoming more diverse it’s becoming more Democratic, because the Democratic Party is more inclusive,” said Gil Cisneros, a Democrat from Yorba Linda who captured a House seat held by Representative Ed Royce, a Republican. “This is no fluke at all. It’s been this way for a long time and it’s going to continue to trend this way for a long time.”

There was a steady decrease in white voters in the seven congressional districts that are in and around Orange County between 1980 and 2017, according to census data. In 1980, whites made up 75 percent of the population in the district where Mr. Cisneros won. By 2017, that number dropped to 30 percent.

The county’s immigrant population grew five times as fast as the general population between 1980 and 2000, and while the pace of immigration has slowed, the Latino and Asian populations continues to increase, driven by the children of immigrant families born in the United States.

“The Republican Party in Orange County has been traditionally all white,” said Carlos Perea, 25, who moved to Santa Ana from Mexico to join his parents 11 years ago. “The party has pushed for policies that are very harmful to those communities: 2018 was a referendum on that old Orange County.”

Source: In Orange County, a Republican Fortress Turns Democratic

In contrast, Republican support among Latinos, although low at about one-third of voters, is holding steady:

The 55-year-old Colombian immigrant is a pastor at an evangelical church in suburban Denver. Initially repelled by Trump in 2016, he’s been heartened by the president’s steps to protect religious groups and appoint judges who oppose abortion rights. More important, Gonzalez sees Trump’s presidency as part of a divine plan.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Gonzalez said of the president. “He was put there.”

Though Latino voters are a key part of the Democratic coalition, there is a larger bloc of reliable Republican Latinos than many think. And the GOP’s position among Latinos has not weakened during the Trump administration, despite the president’s rhetoric against immigrants and the party’s shift to the right on immigration.

In November’s elections, 32 percent of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to AP VoteCast data. The survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including 7,738 Latino voters — was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Other surveys also found roughly one-third of Latinos supporting the GOP. Data from the Pew Research Center and from exit polls suggests that a comparable share of about 3 in 10 Latino voters supported Trump in 2016. That tracks the share of Latinos supporting Republicans for the last decade.

The stability of Republicans’ share of the Latino vote frustrates Democrats, who say actions like Trump’s family separation policy and his demonization of an immigrant caravan should drive Latinos out of the GOP.

“The question is not are Democrats winning the Hispanic vote — it’s why aren’t Democrats winning the Hispanic vote 80-20 or 90-10 the way black voters are?” said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. He argues Democrats must invest more in winning Latino voters.

The VoteCast data shows that, like white voters, Latinos are split by gender — 61 percent of men voted Democratic in November, while 69 percent of women did. And while Republican-leaning Latinos can be found everywhere in the country, two groups stand out as especially likely to back the GOP — evangelicals and veterans.

Evangelicals comprised about one-quarter of Latino voters, and veterans were 13 percent. Both groups were about evenly split between the two parties. Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist in California, said those groups have reliably provided the GOP with many Latino votes for years.

“They stick and they do not go away,” Madrid said. Much as with Trump’s own core white voters, attacks on the president and other Republicans for being anti-immigrant “just make them dig in even more,” he added.

Sacramento-based Rev. Sam Rodriguez, one of Trump’s spiritual advisers, said evangelical Latinos have a clear reason to vote Republican. “Why do 30 percent of Latinos still support Trump? Because of the Democratic Party’s obsession with abortion,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life and religious liberty and everything else follows.”

Some conservative Latinos say their political leanings make them feel more like a minority than their ethnicity does. Irina Vilariño, 43, a Miami restauranteur and Cuban immigrant, said she had presidential bumper stickers for Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney and Trump scratched off her car. She said she never suffered from discrimination growing up in a predominantly white south Florida community, “but I remember during the McCain campaign being discriminated against because I supported him.”

The 2018 election was good to Democrats, but Florida disappointed them. They couldn’t convince enough of the state’s often right-leaning Cuban-American voters to support Sen. Bill Nelson, who was ousted by the GOP’s Spanish-speaking Gov. Rick Scott, or rally behind Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who lost to Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Still, in the rest of the country, there were signs that pleased Democrats. Latinos voted at high rates in an election that saw record-setting turnout among all demographic groups. Latinos normally have among the worst midterm turnout rates, and while official data won’t be available for months, a number of formerly-Republican congressional districts in California and New Mexico flipped Democratic.

That’s why Republicans shouldn’t take solace from being able to consistently win about one-third of Latinos, said Madrid. They’re still losing two-thirds of an electorate that’s being goaded into the voting booth by Trump.

“That is contributing to the death spiral of the Republican Party — even if it holds at 30 percent,” Madrid said. “That’s a route to death, it’s just a slower one.”

Gonzalez, the pastor, sees the trend in Colorado. He distributed literature across Spanish-speaking congregations supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, who was crushed by Democratic Rep. Jared Polis as the GOP lost every race for statewide office.

Gonzalez understands the anger among some Latinos at the GOP and Trump for what he says is a false impression of a solely hardline immigration stance. “In the community that is not informed, that is following the rhetoric of the media, there’s a view that Donald Trump is a bad guy,” Gonzalez said. Evangelicals “understand that he’s there to defend values.”

Gonzalez’s church is Iglesia Embajada del Reino, or Church of the Kingdom’s Embassy. On a recent Saturday night, an eight-piece band played Spanish-language Christian rock before Gonzalez walked to the podium. Wearing a blue corduroy blazer, blue shirt and grey slacks, Gonzalez, a onetime member of a Marxist group in Colombia, told his congregants that they were ambassadors of a higher power — the kingdom of God.

“It’s important that your political opinions, your social opinions,” not enter into it, Gonzalez said. “We need to represent the position of ‘The Kingdom.’ ”

Gonzalez did not mention Trump in his sermon, though he spoke about the Bible as a book of governance.

Afterward the congregation gathered for bowls of posole, a traditional Mexican soup. When politics came up, church-goers struggled to balance their enthusiasm for some of Trump’s judicial appointments with their distaste at his rhetoric and actions.

“I think the president has good, Christian principles,” said Jose Larios, a parks worker. “But we feel as Latinos that he doesn’t embrace our community, and our community is good and hard-working.”

Oscar Murillo, a 37-year-old horse trainer, is not a fan of Trump’s. But he tries to stay open-minded about Republicans. He voted for the GOP candidate for state attorney general, who visited the congregation before the election. “He’s in the same party as Trump, but he seems different,” Murillo said.

Source: Latino support for GOP steady despite Trump immigration talk

 

 

Anti-Immigration Laws Have Negative Health Effects on Undocumented Youth

Not too surprising:

Anti-immigration laws, coupled with the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), have negative public health implications for undocumented Latino immigrant youth, according to results presented at the American Public Health Association 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo, held November 10 to 14 in San Diego, California.

These negative effects on public health stem from limited access to education and include higher percentages of tobacco and alcohol use, higher rates of stress-induced chronic disease, and a decrease in the use of health and human services.

The researchers conducted 5 focus groups in San Mateo County, with 3 objectives: to better understand undocumented immigrants’ feelings around the fear of deportation, to identify strategies that can lessen negative effects, and to develop recommendations to help support undocumented immigrants. The researchers also conducted interviews with 6 key informants and 8 healthcare providers.

The researchers found that participants noted signs of depression and anxiety in children and young adults. Particularly, participants expressed concern for older children who once qualified for DACA: these children now reported feelings of hopelessness and lower self-esteem.

The results of the study indicated that undocumented immigrant children sometimes refuse to continue seeking an education, fearing deportation and threats against the Latino community.

To mitigate the negative effects of the political climate on this community, participants expressed a need to increase awareness about health implications, offer practical support systems, and pass local policies that protect all residents, including undocumented immigrants.

“The research highlights the need to study the impact of DACA and immigration enforcement in relation to stress levels, including mental health and chronic disease,” lead study author Mayra Diaz, MPH, from the San Mateo County Health System, Belmont, California, said. “It will be critical to look into areas of outreach for access to public, health, and social services.”

Source: Anti-Immigration Laws Have Negative Health Effects on Undocumented Youth

Latinos Increasingly Concerned About Their Place In U.S. Society, Survey Finds

Hardly surprising given the language of President Trump and the impact of his policies:

One out of every two Latinos in the United States says that life has become more difficult for them in the past year, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew and a co-writer of the survey, says the findings reflect a turn “towards being pessimistic about the country, about the direction of the country and also the future for their own children.”

Lopez says Latinos have traditionally been more optimistic than the general U.S. population about life in the United States. “But that’s changed,” he says.

Nearly 4 in 10 Latinos say they experienced some kind of harassment related to their ethnicity in the past year.

Chart showing that four-in-ten Latinos experienced an incident and heard expressions of support tied to their background in the past year.

Yet a similar number say they have also heard expressions of support for Latinos.

The experience of 38-year-old Janet Sadriu illustrates both of these findings.

Sadriu was driving on a two-lane, 35 mile-an-hour city street in Houston recently when a driver passed her on the right, pulled next to her and started yelling obscenities at her at a red traffic light. She pulled out her phone and started recording him.

Houston resident Janet Sadriu recorded this video when a driver started yelling obscenities at her at a red traffic light.

“I don’t know him,” says Sadriu, “but he automatically assumed I’m Hispanic. I have black hair, I’m not blue-eyed and white.”

“Learn English,” he rants in the video. “It’s my country. Get out.”

Sadriu was born in Mexico. She’s a U.S. citizen and has lived in the United States since 2009.

“I was shocked and shaken,” she says. “I was afraid that this man was going to follow me and pull out a gun.”

Sadriu, whose 2-year-old daughter was in the car with her, filed a police report.

Sadriu says she was angry when she posted her video on social media. “I was thinking of other immigrants who are out of status,” she explained, “and who are afraid to speak up or ashamed and would not expose this man’s ugly behavior.” But she’s also hoping for change, so that “by the time my daughter is older, she is going to live in a world where all the racism and hate and bullying is gone.”

She says the response has been overwhelmingly kind and supportive.People from all over don’t agree with this type of behavior,” she says.

According to the Pew survey, 38 percent of Latino respondents experienced similar incidents in the past year. Some said they were asked not to speak Spanish in public or were told to go back to their country.

Nearly two-thirds of Latino respondents say that Trump administration’s policies have been harmful to their communities. The survey found many Latinos are more worried about deportation and family separation. They are also more concerned about their personal finances than in past years, even though the country’s economy is doing well and Latino unemployment is at historic lows, according to Pew.

Social media documents harassment

Other recent examples of harassment include an incident in May, when a lawyer in Manhattan threatened to call ICE agents on the kitchen staff making his lunch.

Last month, a Colorado woman harassed two women for speaking Spanish at a supermarket.

At Andy’s Restaurant in Lovettsville, Va., in October, a Guatemalan family was accosted by a white woman finger-wagging at them for speaking Spanish. In the video, the woman is heard demanding, “show me your passports,” followed by, “go back to your f****** country.”

A response to the belligerent woman was posted on Andy’s Facebook pageby the restaurant owners. “Thank you for thinking that you have a right to express your venomous and vitriolic views — no matter how odious and ignorant — wherever and whenever you desire,” they posted. “Thank you —and we mean this with all the aforementioned respect that you rightfully deserve — for never returning to Andy’s. You are not welcome.”

Comments to Andy’s Facebook post quickly poured in from all over the country with words of support like Caroline Hart’s: “Thank god for human beings like you.”

Janet Sadriu, the Houston mom who experienced verbal harassment while driving “just for my looks,” has a message for Hispanics who encounter such harassment. She urges them “not to be afraid and speak up.” There are more good than bad people out there, she says.

Source: Latinos Increasingly Concerned About Their Place In U.S. Society, Survey Finds

Research Shows Spanish Speakers Take Longer To Learn English. Why? : NPR

Likely a mix of all three explanations:

A recent study out of Philadelphia tracked kindergartners who were learning English and found that four years later there were major discrepancies between which groups of students had mastered the language.

Students whose home language was Spanish were considerably less likely to reach proficiency than any other subgroup. And, on the extreme end, Spanish speakers were almost half as likely as Chinese speakers to cross the proficiency threshold.

The study, conducted by the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, just looked at English learners who entered the district as kindergartners in 2008 and their progress through the end of third grade.

But this phenomenon isn’t specific to Philadelphia. “I have never seen any study that has looked at this question and not found this trend,” says Ilana Umansky, who studies English acquisition at the University of Oregon.

Earlier this year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a 415-page report on English learners. The report cited 12 studies — dating back to 2004 — that found this gap between Spanish-speaking English learners and other groups.

But to date, no research has been able to determine why.

So, we emailed or spoke with about two dozen researchers, teachers, and students to hear how they would explain this trend. Predictably, there’s no consensus, but here are three basic theories.

Spanish saturation

There are nearly 150,000 Spanish speakers in Philadelphia, according to the American Community Survey. The numbers are even greater in New York City, where Jose Garcia arrived in 2012, at 11 years old, after emigrating from the Dominican Republic.

Garcia moved to the heavily Hispanic Washington Heights neighborhood in upper Manhattan. At home, he spoke Spanish. In school, classmates spoke Spanish. When he watched television, he often tuned into Spanish-language news.

“So it wasn’t like a big challenge for me,” Garcia says.

Eventually, Garcia moved to Philadelphia and weaned himself off Spanish media by watching American movies like The Fast and the Furious. But he considers his early months in New York wasted time, compounded by the fact that many of his friends didn’t seem all that interested in learning English.

“They didn’t wanna learn it as fast because they didn’t need to use it,” he says. “They were speaking Spanish already. So they had a way to communicate with each other.”

But Nelson Flores, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, grew up in an area of Philadelphia with a lot of Spanish speakers, too, and he says that’s not always the case. In fact, he doesn’t think the Spanish-language achievement gap has much to do with language at all.

Family income and segregation

Flores contests the notion that Spanish speakers aren’t learning English — at least in the way we typically understand language acquisition.

“We’re not talking about the ability to communicate in English,” Flores says. “We’re talking about the ability to do grade-level content in English.”

Flores believes a lot of the students who score below proficient in English can speak and comprehend the language with ease. Many of them, he says, can speak English better than Spanish.

So why aren’t they testing well? Flores believes it’s because Latino students are disproportionately living in isolated, high-poverty neighborhoods and learning in isolated, high-poverty schools.

High-poverty schools, Flores points out, tend to receive fewer resources and less-experienced teachers. Plus, these schools have to deal with the compound effect of having so many students who experience trauma, transience and other disadvantages.

It could be true that Spanish-speaking English learners in Philadelphia are generally poorer than, say, Vietnamese-speaking students, but it’s unlikely family income totally accounts for the achievement gap.

It’s no surprise that researchers studying this trend in the past have used income-based controls — such as whether a child qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Those researchers have still found Spanish speakers lagging.

Family background

If you look only at family income, you might assume many immigrant groups come from relatively similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Immigrants often look low-income because they’re in transition,” says Patricia Gandara, a UCLA professor who has studied this trend in California. “They may have been physicians in their home country, but now they’re having to work as a cook.”

Many of the proxies we use to measure poverty or disadvantage trace back to how much money a family makes. But in the case of immigrant groups, that may mask some crucial differences.

A 2009 analysis led by Hunter College professor Donald Hernandez found, for instance, large discrepancies in the relative education levels of many immigrant groups. Adult immigrants from East Asia and the Middle East were among the most likely to have a high school or college degree. Adult immigrants from Mexico and Central America were among the least likely to have made it to high school.

Researchers Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou came to similar conclusions when they compared Mexican and Chinese immigrants. They found that, relative to their parents, the children of Mexican immigrants progressed further educationally from one generation to the next. But the children of Chinese immigrants progressed further overall, in large part because their parents started many steps ahead.

The logic here is pretty simple: Parents who attended college are better able to help their children with homework or connect them to resources.

Tip of the iceberg

These were just three theories we heard when we asked about the language acquisition gap, not all of them.

For instance, many people pointed to societal biases against Hispanic students, arguing that teachers and administrators have lower expectations of them than Asian students because of deeply ingrained stereotypes.

Right now, it’s hard to isolate the cause of this gulf between Philadelphia’s Spanish-language English learners and everyone else. It’s possible — maybe likely — that all of these theories have some shade of truth to them.