Pew Research: Views of Muslims in the US, 20 years after 9/11

Of interest:

An unprecedented amount of public attention focused on Muslim Americans in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. Muslim population has grown in the two decades since, but it is still the case that many Americans know little about Islam or Muslims, and views toward Muslims have become increasingly polarized along political lines.

There were about 2.35 million Muslim adults and children living in the United States in 2007 – accounting for 0.8% of the U.S. population – when Pew Research Center began measuring this group’s size, demographic characteristics and views. Since then, growth has been driven primarily by two factors: the continued flow of Muslim immigrants into the U.S., and Muslims’ tendency to have more children than Americans of other faiths.

In 2015, the Center projected that Muslims could number 3.85 million in the U.S. by 2020 – roughly 1.1% of the total population. However, Muslim population growth from immigration may have slowed recently due to changes in federal immigration policy.

The number of Muslim houses of worship in the U.S. also has increased over the last 20 years. A study conducted in 2000 by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership identified 1,209 mosques in the U.S. that year. Their follow-up study in 2011 found that the number of mosques had grown to 2,106, and the 2020 version found 2,769 mosques – more than double the number from two decades earlier.

How we did this

Alongside their population growth, Muslims have gained a larger presence in the public sphere. For example, in 2007, the 110th Congress included the first Muslim member, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Later in that term, Congress seated a second Muslim representative, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. The current 117th Congress has two more Muslims alongside Carson, the first Muslim women to hold such office: Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., first elected in 2018.

As their numbers have increased, Muslims have also reported encountering more discrimination. In 2017, during the first few months of the Trump administration, about half of Muslim American adults (48%) said they had personally experienced some form of discrimination because of their religion in the previous year. This included a range of experiences, from people acting suspicious of them to being physically threatened or attacked. In 2011, by comparison, 43% of Muslim adults said they had at least one of these experiences, and 40% said this in 2007.

A bar chart showing that Americans are more likely to say Muslims face discrimination than to say this about other religions

In a March 2021 survey, U.S. adults were asked how much discrimination they think a number of religious groups face in society. Americans were more likely to say they believe Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination than to say the same about the other religious groups included in the survey, including Jews and evangelical Christians. A similar pattern appeared in previous surveys going back to 2009, when Americans were more likely to say that there was a lot of discrimination against Muslims than to say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, Mormons or atheists.

A series of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2014, 2017, and 2019 separately asked Americans to rate religious groups on a scale ranging from 0 to 100, with 0 representing the coldest, most negative possible view and 100 representing the warmest, most positive view. In these surveys, Muslims were consistently ranked among the coolest, along with atheists.

Over the last 20 years, the American public has been divided on whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, and a notable partisan divide on this question has emerged. When the Center first asked this question on a telephone survey in 2002, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were only moderately more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say that Islam encourages violence more than other religions – and this was a minority viewpoint in both partisan groups. Within a few years, however, Republicans began to grow more likely to believe that Islam encourages violence. Democrats, in contrast, have become more likely to say Islam does not encourage violence. Now, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say they believe Islam encourages violence more than other religions.

Though many Americans have negative views toward Muslims and Islam, 53% say they don’t personally know anyone who is Muslim, and a similar share (52%) say they know “not much” or “nothing at all” about Islam. Americans who are not Muslim and who personally know someone who is Muslim are more likely to have a positive view of Muslims, and they are less likely to believe that Islam encourages violence more than other religions.

Source: Views of Muslims in the US, 20 years after 9/11

Close to home: how US far-right terror flourished in post-9/11 focus on Islam

Of note. Tragic irony:

The US government acted quickly after 9/11 to prevent further attacks by Islamic extremists in the US. Billions of dollars were spent on new law enforcement departments and vast powers were granted to agencies to surveil people in the US and abroad as George W Bush announced the war on terror.

But while the FBI, CIA, police and the newly created Department of Homeland Security scoured the country and the world for radicalized Muslims, an existing threat was overlooked – white supremacist extremists already in the US, whose numbers and influence have continued to grow in the last two decades.

In 2020 far-right extremists were responsible for 16 of 17 extremist killings, in the US, according to the Anti-Defamation League, while in 2019, 41 of the 42 extremist killings were linked to the far right.

Between 2009 and 2018 the far right was responsible for 73% of extremist-related fatalities in the US, while rightwing extremists killed more people in 2018 than in any year since 1995, when a bomb planted by an anti-government extremist killed 168 people in a federal building in Oklahoma City.

Despite the statistical dominance of far-right and white supremacist killings in the US, America’s intelligence agencies have devoted far more resources to the perceived threat from Islamic terror.

“The shock of 9/11 created this incredible machinery really, in the US and globally – the creation of entire new agencies and taskforce hearings, and all those sorts of things, that created blind spots,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, author of Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right and a professor at American University, where she runs the school’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab.

“Of course, they were also interrupting plots and warning of threats. So some of that was happening, but at the same time, this other threat was increasing and rising, and they weren’t seeing it,” she added.

In the last few years alone, a gunman killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas, after allegedly posting a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes online. In it he wrote that he planned to carry out an attack in “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.

In February 2019, a US Coast Guard lieutenant who was a self-described “white nationalist” was arrested after he stockpiled weapons and compiled a hitlist of media and government figures. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2020.

Nine black church members were murdered in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2017, by a 22-year-old who confessed to the FBI that he hoped to bring back segregation or start a race war.

But successive governments have spent most of the last two decades putting the majority of their resources towards investigating Muslims, both in the US and abroad. In 2019 the FBI said 80% of its counter-terrorism agents were focused on international terrorism, with 20% devoted to domestic terrorism.

As the government pursued Islamic terrorism, the civil rights of Muslims in America were impinged, and many innocent Muslims suffered. More than a thousand people were detained in the months following 9/11, and thousands more questioned as mosques and Muslim neighborhoods were placed under surveillance. The number of hate crimes against Muslims in the US spiked in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and have remained way above pre-2001 rates in every year since.

“There was a lack of attention from authorities – resources – but some of the actual interventions that authorities made were Islamophobic. And so they fostered some of this Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment,” Miller-Idriss said.

Michael German, a former FBI special agent who specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations, said a disparity in the attention giving to alleged Muslim actors and white supremacists was growing even before 9/11.

After that attack, however, new laws, including the Patriot Act, gave the government extra powers to surveil and target Americans, while the justice department was given more power to investigate people with no criminal record.

German, who is a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program said these powers were mostly focused on Muslim Americans, while paying white supremacists little heed.

“[There was] a disparity between how the FBI targeted Muslim Americans who simply said things the government didn’t like, or were associated with people the government didn’t like, or the government suspected just because they were Muslim, and had never committed any violent crime, had never been engaged with any terrorist group versus failing to even document murders committed by white supremacists,” German said.

After the World Trade Center attacks, “a tremendous amount of resources were coming into the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the counter-terrorism work”, German said. “But that was all being focused on potential terrorism committed by Muslims.”

A justice department audit in 2010 revealed that between 2005 and 2009 an average of fewer than 330 FBI agents were assigned to domestic terrorism investigation, out of a total of nearly 2,000 counter-terrorism agents.

The decision to not focus as intensely on white supremacist or domestic terrorism wasn’t just a strategic one, German said. He said the influence of money and big business had a role, as industries lobbied lawmakers and even the FBI itself to instead pursue anti-capitalist and environmental protest groups.

“The FBI needs resources. And to get resources, it needs to convince members of Congress. And Congress works most effectively when there are wealthy patrons who contribute to their campaigns,” German said.

“So the FBI has to cultivate a base of support in the wealthy community, and how can they do that? Well, by going to corporate boards, and telling them, you know, the FBI needs more resources.

“And then of course, that gets the corporate boards a lot of influence over what the FBI does. And what those corporate boards were saying wasn’t that there are minority communities in the United States that are being targeted by white supremacists, what are you doing about it?

“They were saying: ‘Hey these [anti-corporate or environmental] protesters are a real pain and you know, there’s a potential they could become violent.’”

When the government and intelligence agencies sought to expand its collection of intelligence post-9/11, that gave corporations another bargaining chip, German said – further knocking white supremacy and the far right down the priority list.

“Giant corporations hold a lot of private information about Americans, and getting access to that information became important to the FBI, so pleasing those corporations became part of the mission.”

Alongside that issue is the fact that there are “lingering racism problems within the FBI”, German said, with the agency still a predominantly white and male organization.

“So that’s one end of the spectrum, the people who are either explicitly racist or implicitly racist. Because white supremacists don’t threaten their community so they don’t see it as a threat.

“The white male agent who goes home to a white suburban community doesn’t really see a lot of white supremacist skinheads causing problems in his community. So it becomes a lesser threat.”

In 2020 there were signs that more attention was being focused on the far right. The Department of Homeland Security said white supremacists were “the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland” as it announced a report on threats in the US.

But that came just days after Donald Trump had told the extremist group Proud Boys to “stand by” during a presidential debate.

Trump was notoriously reluctant to condemn white supremacist violence, and his “both sides” comments after the Charlottesville riots were seen as legitimizing the far right. In April 2020, as the pandemic raged in the midwest, he told his supporters to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” after Gretchen Whitmer, the state’s Democratic governor, imposed stay-at-home orders. Hundreds of armed rioters duly stormed the Michigan state capitol. In October 2020 the FBI charged six people with allegedly plotting to kidnap Whitmer, who had been a target of Trump’s attacks for months.

The riot in Michigan could be seen as a grim preview of the events of 6 January, when a far-right movement that had been brewing for years spilled out in Washington DC and attacked the Capitol.

Joe Biden has been less reluctant than his predecessors to identify the danger to US citizens. In June Biden said white supremacists are the “most lethal threat” to Americans, and later that month his administration unveiled a sweeping plan to address the problem.

PW Singer, a strategist who has served as a consultant to the US military, intelligence community and FBI and is a fellow of New American, a public policy thinktank, said the growing threat of white supremacism in the US was too complex to blame just on a lack of attention from government intelligence agencies – “but it certainly didn’t help stop it”.

“Think of it as akin to a disease striking the body politic. The person was not only in active denial, deliberately avoiding the needed measures to fight it, but the normal defenses [used] against other like threats were not deployed.”

Trump may be gone, but the pandering of some Republicans to rightwing extremists seems unlikely to stop. As recently as August Mo Brooks, a Republican congressman from Alabama, defended a Trump supporter who carried out a Capitol Hill bomb threat.

“Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known, and generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society,” Brooks tweeted, hours after the man had parked close to the Capitol and supreme court and told police he had a bomb.

“The way to stop socialism’s march is for patriotic Americans to fight back in the 2022 and 2024 election,” he said. “Bluntly stated, America’s future is at risk.”

It’s a dangerous game, but with the rise of Trumpism and far-right extremism in conservative politics – which can be traced back to the Tea Party movement which demonized Barack Obama – it is one Republicans seem likely to continue.

“What was once the unacceptable extreme has become an accepted part of our politics and media,” Singer said.

“It is a hard truth that too many are unwilling to accept. It didn’t start on 6 January, but years before, where these extremist views were first tolerated and then celebrated as good for clicks, and then votes.”

Source: Close to home: how US far-right terror flourished in post-9/11 focus on Islam

Congress Can’t Solve Immigration. Maybe the States Can.

Seeing more arguments in US media regarding providing a role for states in selecting immigrants, citing Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program as a model. Given the political dynamics, hard to see this getting much traction as presume there would need to be legislative authority for such a change:

“A moral failing and a national shame.” During his 2020 campaign, that was how Joe Biden characterized America’s immigration policies in the Trump era. On his first day in office, the new president announced an ambitious reform. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It would raise caps on legal immigration. It would increase aid for Central America. It touched all the progressive erogenous zones.

And it was dead on arrival. “It’s such a progressive wish list that it’s almost counterproductive,” a pro-immigration lobbyist told me. By summer, the reform effort had stalled, migrants were flooding the border, the Democrats were divided, and the Republicans were demagoguing. Just like always.

For the country, as well as for immigrants and their families and employers, the cost of our never-ending immigration crisis has been very high. Among its consequences was the presidency of Donald Trump, who could not have reached the White House without the disruptive energy that immigration unleashed. In fact, if you had to pick a date when America launched itself toward Trumpism, June 28, 2007, would be a good choice.

Immigration was on the floor of the Senate. A bipartisan coalition had revived what was then—and still is—the logical compromise: stricter controls at the borders and at job sites, more legal immigration (especially of skilled workers), and a path to citizenship. Had the compromise passed, “it would have changed the politics,” Jim Kolbe, who was then a House Republican representing an Arizona border district, recently told me. “It would have been seen as putting the immigration issue behind us.”

Instead, the bill failed, badly. A disappointed Mitch McConnell, then the Senate minority leader, said, “I had hoped for a bipartisan accomplishment, and what we got was a bipartisan defeat.”

Before 2007, immigration had been a controversial issue but also a normal one—susceptible to bargaining and compromise. Congress had passed major reform under President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and then a series of tune-ups in the ’90s. After 2007, paralysis set in. For conservatives, the stalemate became emblematic of the country’s inability to secure its borders and enforce its laws. For liberals, it was emblematic of the country’s inability to deal humanely with millions of immigrants. And for moderates, it was a symbol of congressional incompetence. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of the public wants a pathway to citizenship and better border control. “Everyone knows what has to be done,” Kolbe told me, “but no one has the will to do it.”

This dispute has now inflamed our whole body politic. “I think the immigration debate is a bigger problem for the country than any of the failures of the immigration system,” Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute told me. In other words, the country needs a resolution to the political crisis around immigration at least as much as it needs a solution to the policy mess. As long as voters believe Washington is too incompetent and venal to handle immigration, they will not trust it to do anything else, and the door will stay open to demagogues and nihilists.

So now what? Plan A, comprehensive progressive reform, will not work. Plan B, comprehensive conservative reform, will not work. Plan C, compromise, should work but has failed time and again. That leaves Plans D, E, and F: piecemeal reforms for groups such as “Dreamers” and farmworkers, and the kinds of patchwork changes that congressional Democrats were seeking to include in their budget-reconciliation package this fall. They may be the best we can do.

But there is one piecemeal proposal that deserves special attention. I think of it as Plan Z, because it reframes the whole problem.

In 2019, representative John Curtis, a Republican from Utah, introduced what he called the State-Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act. It would have allowed a new avenue for immigration by authorizing states to sponsor people for three-year, renewable work visas. The bill found no co-sponsors and never came up for debate, but Curtis told me he intends to reintroduce it in the current Congress.

Delegating immigration authority to the states is not a new concept; Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, introduced a similar plan in 2017. According to Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, bills seeking authority to issue work visas have been introduced in 11 state legislatures since 2008, and three such bills have been voted into law. But the federal government has ignored them.

One problem is that people just can’t get their mind around letting someone other than the federal government decide who comes and stays. You can’t have individual states picking immigrants for the whole country! What about security? What about fairness? Could a conservative state discriminate on the grounds of, say, race or religion?

But the idea is not really that dramatic. This proposal wouldn’t encroach on the existing federal systems for visas, refugees, or family reunification. Any state-sponsored work permits would be in addition to the current number. The federal government would still vet the applications and control permanent residency and citizenship. Federal law and the Constitution would still forbid discrimination.

When I asked Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University, in Indiana, and a former Republican governor of the state, whether policy makers there would participate in such a program, he replied with a prompt yes. “The one thing” keeping Indiana from economic competitiveness, he said, “is that we don’t have enough people with the right skills.” Besides, he added, universities and businesses can already sponsor immigrants for visas; why shouldn’t states have the same authority?

how would state-sponsored visas work? In Curtis’s 2019 version, every state would have the option of sponsoring 5,000 work visas a year, plus an additional allotment based on its population, up to a nationwide total of 500,000. No state would be obligated to sponsor anyone, so states could shut their doors if they chose to. They could favor tech workers, farmworkers, family members; they could even use their visas to temporarily legalize undocumented workers already living there. The only requirements would be that the visas couldn’t be employer-specific (so bosses couldn’t use them to blackmail workers with deportation threats) and that the immigrants holding them live and work in the state that sponsored them.

How would the plan prevent immigrants from moving out of state? Each state would be required to report where its visa holders live and work, and if it couldn’t account for them, it would lose visas the next year. States that administered their programs well would be rewarded with more visas.

In any case, immigrants who settle into jobs and communities are not all that inclined to move. In Canada, which has allowed its provinces to sponsor immigrants since 1996 and which does not restrict where visa holders reside, more than 80 percent of them stay put for more than 10 years. “The vast majority,” a government report on the program said in 2017, “have become established economically, with high employment rates and earnings that increase over time.”

Even if this system isn’t perfect, the politics would be healthier than at present, when the federal government is making decisions, or nondecisions, and the states have no voice. “We’ve been so wrapped around the axle on immigration law and policy for so long that it might be very constructive to look at it through a different lens,” Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration, told me. “Maybe it avoids some of the hard lines that both sides have drawn.”

State-sponsored immigration is not a cure-all. It would not remedy Congress’s deficiencies or resolve difficult questions about border control, asylum, or citizenship. What it would do is make American communities feel that they have some influence. It might dispel the rancid air that has suffocated reform. And it might begin to free our national politics from the curse of immigration gridlock.

Jonathan Rauch is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth.

Source: Congress Can’t Solve Immigration. Maybe the States Can.

When the ‘Silent Majority’ Isn’t White

While focus is on the USA, fundamental point regarding political diversity within minorities also applies in Canada:

In her 1990 book “Fear of Falling,”Barbara Ehrenreich detailed how the widely broadcast violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago led to an immediate, dramatic paradigm shift in media coverage. In the month before the event, Mayor Richard Daley had denounced the various anti-Vietnam War protest groups who were planning to converge outside the city’s International Amphitheater. When those protesters arrived, Daley fought back with his police force who, on Aug. 28, attacked protesters in Grant Park.

In scenes that would be echoed a half-century later during the George Floyd protests, the police beat, detained and intimidated everyone from the Yippies to the Young Lords to Dan Rather. In both 1968 and 2020, the press heightened its critique against the police and the mayor once they saw their own being attacked in the streets.

Then came the reckoning. Ehrenreich writes:

Polls taken immediately after the convention showed that the majority of Americans — 56 percent — sympathized with the police, not with the bloodied demonstrators or the press. Indeed, what one could see of the action on television did not resemble dignified protest but the anarchic breakdown of a great city (if only because, once the police began to rampage, dignity was out of the question). Overnight the press abandoned its protest. The collapse was abrupt and craven. As bumper stickers began to appear saying “We support Mayor Daley and his Chicago police,” the national media awoke to the disturbing possibility that they had grown estranged from a sizable segment of the public.

Media leaders moved quickly to correct what they now came to see as their “bias.” They now felt they had been too sympathetic to militant minorities (a judgment the minorities might well have contested). Henceforth they would focus on the enigmatic — and in Richard Nixon’s famous phrase — silent majority.

The following months would provide even more evidence that the media had misjudged the moment. A New York Timespoll conducted a day after showed an “overwhelming” majority supported the police in Chicago. CBS reported that 10 times as many people had written to them disapproving of their coverage of the events as had written in approval.

In response, the media class spent the next few years, in Ehrenreich’s words, examining “fearfully and almost reverently, that curious segment of America: the majority.” The problem, of course, was that the same people who had just believed the world ended at the Hudson were the same people who now would be tasked with discovering everything beyond its banks. As a result, the media’s coverage of “the silent majority” was abstract and almost mythic, which allowed it to be shaped into whatever was most convenient.

There are a couple of obvious questions here: A year after the nationwide George Floyd protests, has mass media, which I’ll define here as the major news outlets and TV networks, undergone a similar paradigm shift? And if there is a new “silent majority” whose voices must be heard, who, exactly, is it?

Are we seeing a media backlash to the summer of 2020?

A quick caveat before we go much further into this: I am generally skeptical of the types of historical matching games that have become popular these days, especially on social media, where false symmetries can be expressed through heavily excerpted screenshots or video. Just because something looks vaguely like something that happened in the past doesn’t mean that the two events are actually analogous. More important, I do not see the need to take every current injustice by the hand and shop it around to a line of older suitors — if nothing else, the act of constant comparison can take away from the immediacy of today’s problem.

But regardless of whether the comparison between 1968 and 2020 is apt, plenty of people made it. Most notably, Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who, after what was seen as a disappointing result in a handful of House races, compared the slogan “defund the police” to “burn, baby, burn” from the 1965 Watts riots and said such talk was “cutting the throats of the party.” Omar Wasow’s work on voting patterns during the civil rights movement and how the public and media responded to different images of violence also became a central part of opinion discourse.

As was true in 1968, we’ve also seen a shift in public opinion polls, perhaps confirming Wasow’s claim that while images of law enforcement committing violence against protesters will generate a significant upsurge in sympathy, images of looting and rioting will have the opposite effect. A Washington Post-Shar School poll conducted in early June of 2020 found that 74 percent of respondents supported the protests, including 53 percent of Republicans­­ — stunning results that suggested a radical shift in public opinion had taken place — and the media followed suit with an enormous amount of coverage.

Writing in The Washington Post,Michael Heaney, a University of Glasgow lecturer, wrote, “Not since the Kent State killings, in which National Guard troops shot and killed four student protesters in May 1970, has there been so much media attention to protest.” Heaney also pointed out that the coverage had been “generally favorable.” But as of this summer, polling of white Americans on support for Black Lives Matter and policing reform had reverted to pre-2020 levels. Has media coverage followed suit?

We might look at coverage of the recent New York City mayoral race as a kind of case study. The campaign of Eric Adams, a former N.Y.P.D. officer who largely positioned himself against his more progressive opponents on public safety and school issues, was cast as a referendum on last summer. The media attributed Adams’s victory in the Democratic primary almost entirely to his pro-police platform. In June, a Reuters headline read, “Defying ‘Defund Police’ Calls, Democrat Adams Leads NYC Mayor’s Race.” In July, The Associated Press wrote that Adams’s win was part of a “surge for moderate Democrats” and said the centerpiece of his campaign was a rejection of activists’ calls to defund the police.

This echoed the coverage of Clyburn’s declarations after the election and fell in with a spate of media coverage about the shift in opinions on policing. So, some regression of media sympathy toward the summer of 2020 does seem underway — although we shouldn’t believe the media underwent some fundamental change during the summer of 2020, or, for that matter, in the months leading up to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Those moments should be seen, instead, as flare-ups that subsequently shamed the media into seeking out “the real America” or whatever.

Who is the silent majority in 2021?

In 1968, the turn in opinion came mostly at the expense of Black radicals and young protesters in favor of what was largely then assumed to be white working-class voters.

Today’s silent majority certainly does include white voters, but this time, recent coverage suggests that the media is reproaching itself for a somewhat different failing: neglecting the perspective of more-moderate voters of color.

The post-mortem of the 2020 election — in which more immigrants than anticipated, whether Latinos in Florida and Texas or Asian Americans in California, voted for Donald Trump — coincided with the need to make some sense of what had happened to public opinion after last summer. Connections were made. By the time Adams gave his victory speech, a narrative about the diverse silent majority had taken hold: People of color supported the police, hated rioting and wanted more funding for law enforcement. They did not agree with the radical demands of the Floyd protests — in fact, such talk turned them off.

There’s a lot of truth to the concerns about how much the mass media actually knows about minority voters. When the Latino vote swings from Texas and Florida came to light on election night, Chuck Rocha, a political strategist who specializes in Latino engagement, went on a media tour and placed the blame on “woke white consultants” who believed that a broad message of antiracism would work for “people of color.” As I wrote in a guest essay, a similar pattern held in Asian American communities — it turns out that Vietnamese refugees who reside in Orange County, Calif., might have different opinions on Black Lives Matter, capitalism or abortion rights than, say, second-generation Indian Americans at elite universities.

These mistakes came from a grouping error: Liberal white Americans in power, including members of the media, tended to think of immigrants as huddled masses who all shook under the xenophobic rhetoric of the Republican Party and prayed for any deliverance from Donald Trump. They did not see them as distinct populations who have their own set of political priorities, mostly because they took their votes for granted.

So, if the media is actually overlooking an entire population and sometimes misrepresenting them, what’s the big deal if it’s now correcting for this?

A few things can be true at once: Yes, the media overwhelmingly misconstrued the actual beliefs of minority voters, particularly in Latino and Asian American communities. Yes, those voters tend to have more moderate view on policing.

The problem isn’t one of description, but rather of translation. The media took a normal regression in polling numbers, mixed it with some common sense about how minority populations actually vote and created a new, diverse “silent majority.” This is a powerful tool. These unheard, moderate minorities carry an almost unassailable authority in liberal politics because of the very simple fact that liberals tend to frame their policies in terms of race. If those same objects of your concern turn around and tell you to please stop what you’re doing, what you’ve created is perhaps the most powerful rebuttal in liberal politics. Over the next few years, I imagine we will see an increasing number of moderate politicians and pundits hitch their own hobbyhorses to this diverse silent majority. The nice thing about a vaguely defined, still mysterious group is that you can turn it into anything you want it to be.

Some version of this opinion engineering, I believe, is happening with the police and public safety. There’s not a lot of evidence that Latino and Asian voters care all that much either way about systemic racism or funding or defunding the police. (Black voters, on the other hand, listed racism and policing as their top two priorities leading up to the 2020 election.) Polls of Asian American voters, for example, show that they prioritize health care, education and the economy. Latino voters listed the economy, health care and the pandemic as their top three priorities. (“Violent crime” ranked about as high as Supreme Court appointments.) If asked, a large number of people in both of these groups might respond that they support the police, but that’s very different from saying they base their political identity on the rejection of, say, police abolition. If they’re purposefully voting against the left wing of the Democratic Party, it’s more likely they are responding to economic or education policy rather than policing.

And so it may be correct to say that within the new, diverse “silent majority,” attitudes about the police and protest might be much less uniform than what many in the mass media led you to believe in the summer of 2020. It may also be worth pointing out that reporters, pundits and television networks should probably adjust their coverage to accurately assess these dynamics, just as I’m sure there were legitimate concerns with media bubbles in 1968. But it also seems worth separating that assessment from the conclusion that the media should now see the summer of 2020 as political kryptonite and cast the millions of people who protested in the streets as confused revolutionaries who had no real support.

After 1968, the mass media’s turn away from the counterculture of the ’60s and its indifference to the dismantling of Black radical groups narrowed the scope of political action. This constriction would be aided over the next decade by lurid, violent events that all got thrown at the feet of anyone who looked like a radical. When Joan Didion wrote of the Manson murders, “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on Aug. 9, 1969, at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true. The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled,” she was saying that all the fears of the so-called silent majority had come to pass.

We are living through some version of that today. But what seems particularly telling about this moment is that the retreat no longer requires Charles Manson, the fearmongering over Watts or the police riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Those images hover above the public’s consciousness as evergreen cautionary tales; the paranoia they fulfilled will do just fine.

The question at the outset of this post, then, has a split answer: Yes, we seem to be reliving a moment of media revanchism in the name of the (diverse) silent majority, but it is also a replay of a replay, akin to filming a television screen with your phone’s camera, with all of its inherent losses in resolution, clarity and immediacy.


Why Racial Inequities Still Persist in Health Care

Likely fewer disparities in Canada given medicare but some commonaliyies:

Two decades ago, only 9 percent of white Americans rated their health as fair or poor. But 14 percent of Hispanic Americans characterized their health in those terms, as did nearly 18 percent of Black Americans.

In recent years, access to care has improved in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, which reduced the number of uninsured Americans across all racial and ethnic groups. But the racial health gap has remained, according to a series of studies published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA.

A dismal picture of persistent health disparities in America was described in an issue devoted entirely to inequities in medicine. The wide-ranging issue included research on spending and patterns of care, comparative rates of gestational diabetes and the proportion of Black physicians at medical schools.

The journal’s editors committed to a sharper focus on racism in medicine after a controversy in June, in which a staff member seemed to suggest that racism was not a problem in health care. The ensuing criticism led to the resignation of the top editor and culminated with a pledge to increase staff diversity and publish a more inclusive array of papers.

“The topics of racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in medicine and health care are of critical importance,” Dr. Phil B. Fontanarosa, interim editor in chief of JAMA, said in a statement. He noted that JAMA has published more than 850 articles on racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in the past.

The new issue offers studies on disparities in the utilization of health care services and in overall health spending. Together, the findings paint a portrait of a nation still plagued by medical haves and have-nots whose ability to benefit from scientific advances varies by race and ethnicity, despite the fact that the A.C.A. greatly expanded insurance.

The racial health gap did not significantly narrow from 1999 to 2018, according to one study whose author said it was tantamount to “a comprehensive national report card.”

“We’re failing,” added Dr. Harlan Krumholz, the study’s senior author.

“If our national goals are to improve the population’s health and promote more health equity, then we have to admit that whatever we’re doing now is not doing the trick,” he said. “This should wake us up, and spark us to think of new and better approaches.”

Other studies in the journal teased apart factors that may be contributing to the gap, including different patterns of care-seeking. White Americans, for example, are more likely than members of minority groups to visit primary care physicians and specialists in the community, rather than a hospital or emergency room.

Source: Why Racial Inequities Still Persist in Health Care

Census Shows Sharply Growing Numbers of Hispanic, Asian and Multiracial Americans

Good overview:

Of note, particularly the significant increase of the number of people reporting they were more than one race. In Canada, the category “multiple visible minorities” is minuscule, less than one percent of the total population and only three percent of visible minorities (2016 census):

The United States grew significantly more diverse over the past decade, as the populations of people who identify as Hispanic and Asian surged and the number of people who said they were more than one race more than doubled, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday.

Overall population growth slowed substantially over the past decade, but the growth that did occur — an increase of about 23 million people — was made up entirely of people who identified as Hispanic, Asian, Black and more than one race, according to the data, the first racial and ethnic breakdown from the 2020 census.

The white population declined for the first time in history. People who identify themselves as white on the census form have been decreasing as a share of the country’s population since the 1960s, when the United States lifted strict ethnic quotas aimed at keeping the country Northern and Western European.

That drop, of 2.6 percent, was driven in part by the aging of the white population — the median age was 44 in 2019, compared with 30 for Hispanics — and a long-running decline in the birthrate. Some social scientists theorized that another potential reason for the decrease was that more Americans who previously identified as white on the census are now choosing more than one race.

The single biggest population increase was among people who identified as more than one race, a category that first appeared on census forms 20 years ago, and now is the fastest-growing racial and ethnic category.

People who identify as white now make up 58 percent of the population, down from 64 percent in 2010, and 69 percent in 2000.

“We are in a weird time demographically,” said Tomás Jiménez, a sociologist at Stanford University who writes about immigrants, assimilation and social mobility. “There’s more choice about our individual identities and how we present them than there has ever been. We can presume far less about who somebody is based on the boxes they check compared to previous periods.”Where the Racial Makeup of the U.S. Shifted in the Last DecadeMaps show a rise in the share of people of color in nearly every county across the United States, as the nation records its first drop in the white population.

The data also showed that just under a majority of people under the age of 18 checked boxes other than white — multirace, Hispanic, Asian, or Black — a milestone that is the result of a substantially more diverse younger American population. A decade ago, 65 percent of children were white. Overall, the number of Americans under the age of 18 declined, partly an effect of the drop in the birthrate, according to William Frey, chief demographer at the Brookings Institution.

Thursday’s numbers provide this census’ first picture of changes in the American population below the level of states.

The five largest cities in the country are now New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix. Philadelphia is now the sixth largest city, bumped from fifth by Phoenix, which was the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities. Its population rose by 11.2 percent.

The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, was the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country over the decade.

The data, charting which parts of the country have seen growth and decline, have a practical use in politics. They are the basis for redistricting, a process in which state legislatures redraw voting lines based on changes in their states’ populations.

The new data show that Hispanics accounted for about half the country’s growth over the past decade, up by about 23 percent. The Asian population grew faster than expected — up by about 36 percent, a rise that made up nearly a fifth of the country’s total. Nearly one in four Americans now identifies as either Hispanic or Asian. The Black population grew by 6 percent, an increase that represented about a tenth of the country’s growth. Americans who identified as non-Hispanic and more than one race rose the fastest, jumping to 13.5 million from 6 million.

And in what appears to be a big shift in how Hispanics think of their racial identity, one third of Hispanics reported being more than one race, up from just 6 percent in 2010. That means that Hispanics are now nearly twice as likely to identify as multiracial than as white.

Hispanic origin is counted as an ethnicity, and is a distinct category from race. But Hispanics can also check race boxes.

Richard Alba, a sociologist who has studied demographics and the fluidity of racial categories, said the rise in multiracial Americans was a logical extension of the substantial mixing that has been happening for years in the United States.

Among Asians and Hispanics, more than a quarter marry outside their race, according to the Pew Research Center. For American-born Asians, the share is nearly double that.

The jump in the multirace category is partly to do with the Census Bureau collecting more detailed data, Professor Alba said, and analyzing answers more deeply. He said he believed that part of the decrease in the white population was people switching from the category of white to the category of more than one race.

“The census is doing a much better job at reflecting the growing complexity of the population,” he said. “They are really trying to acknowledge that the world is changing out there.”

The nation has been growing more diverse for decades, but recently the pace has accelerated. Non-Hispanic white people accounted for 46 percent of population growth in the 1970s, 36 percent in the 1980s, 20 percent in the 1990s, but just 8 percent of the growth in the first decade of this century and now zero in the 2010s.

Immigration is a force that has bolstered the American population, and boosted the economy, bringing a younger work force that is helping support a growing older population.

Despite the dramatic slowdown in immigration at the end of the decade, the proportion of U.S. residents born in foreign countries is still at its highest point since the last big immigration wave around the turn of the 20th century.

Immigrants who have arrived in more recent years have largely been from countries in Asia and Latin America and have tended to settle in large cities, like New York and Los Angeles.

But over time, Hispanic and Asian immigrants and their children have fanned out broadly across the country, to smaller towns and rural areas.

That migration has helped support the numbers of people in rural places: Over the past decade, rural places lost both Black and white residents — their populations in those places each dropped by about five percent — but the numbers of people who identify as Hispanic and Asian continued to rise. In 2000, Hispanic and Asian residents made up just 6 percent of the rural population. Now it’s nearly 10 percent.

But that increase was not enough to stem the tide out of rural places, which ultimately lost population over the decade, a change from the previous decade, when rural places made modest gains.

The biggest winners in population growth were suburbs and retirement communities in the South and the West. In counties considered to be retirement destinations, the population jumped by 17 percent.

Industrial cities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions saw the biggest population losses, places such as Saginaw, Flint and Detroit in Michigan; Gary, Ind.; and Youngstown, Ohio.

The counties that have changed the most demographically over the past decade tended to be places that started out overwhelmingly white. Counties like Luzerne in Pennsylvania and Forsythe in Georgia are among the biggest gainers of diversity since 2010. Also high on the list are two counties in North Dakota, Cass and Ward, and Livingston Parish in Louisiana.

Now, about 98 percent of Americans live in a county with an increasing number of Latinos, and 95 percent live in a county where the Asian population is on the rise. Diversity is rising in 19 out of every 20 counties.

Still, growth slowed dramatically, even for Hispanics and Asians, driven in part by declining birthrates, as well as a drop in immigration. For example, the population of Asian people grew at just half the rate of the previous decade, when it rose by about 43 percent. Growth in the Hispanic population had an even steeper decline.

Growth in the Black population slowed too, but was still broad. All but nine states gained Black residents and the Black share of the population went up in 32 states. While half the nation’s population growth occurred in the South, 70 percent of Black population growth occurred in those states. The vast majority of the Black population growth was suburban. It increased by 6 percent overall but 12 percent in suburban neighborhoods.

And in a new twist likely to draw demographers’ attention, the Black population fell in Black-majority neighborhoods but rose in neighborhoods where Black people made up less than 10 percent of the population.

The white population may have declined nationally, but it grew in certain parts of the country. As in previous decades, the vast majority of white population growth occurred in neighborhoods that were mostly white to begin with — largely exurbs at the outer edges of metro areas.

Nearly three dozen states lost white population and all but the District of Columbia, which is treated as a state for statistical purposes, saw the share of white residents drop.

Race may be socially constructed but the understanding of it has important political effects. One change that has been politically resonant has been the shrinking share of the white population, with the right seeing the shift as a threat and the left celebrating it as a kind of demographic destiny in which growing numbers of people of color will vote for Democrats.

Professor Jiménez, whose county, Santa Clara, in California, became minority white more than 20 years ago, said these two views are most common among highly politicized Americans, and that most people don’t notice diversity.

“You go to places that have been majority-minority for a long time and the diversity is banal — it’s not like everyone has bumper stickers saying celebrate diversity,” he said. “It’s not something they celebrate or panic over. It’s mostly just a fact of life.”


American Muslims Are 2 Times More Likely To Have Attempted Suicide Than Other Groups

Of note. Wonder if there are compable studies for Canada:

For an entire year that involved emergency room visits, legal proceedings, involuntary unemployment and the death of loved ones, Mehran Nazir struggled with a depressive episode. He would find his mind flooded with self-destructive thoughts. He’d faintly hope his plane from Newark to San Francisco would crash or that he would doze off at the wheel of his car and end up in a fatal accident.

The normally extroverted Nazir would lie paralyzed in bed for hours doing nothing, not wanting to speak with family and canceling plans with friends.

It came to a head when Nazir found himself on the brink of suicide. In his darkest moment, he drafted a will and decided where it would happen.

Eventually, Nazir found comfort in journaling. And when he shared his writings online, he quickly found that other Muslims shared his struggles.

“I realized that this is not something that is unique in my history,” Nazir told NPR. “This was not a random occurrence.”

Nazir was right. U.S. Muslims are two times more likely to have attempted suicide compared with other religious groups, according to a study published last month in JAMA Psychiatry. Nearly 8% of Muslims in the survey reported a suicide attempt in their lifetime compared with 6% of Catholics, 5% of Protestants and 3.6% of Jewish respondents.

“Anecdotally and in clinical settings, we’re definitely seeing an uptick in suicides and suicide attempts,” Dr. Rania Awaad told NPR. She’s the director of the Muslim Mental Health & Islamic Psychology Lab at Stanford University and a researcher on the study.

At the heart of these numbers are several issues

Researchers attribute the high suicide attempt rate to two factors: religious discrimination and community stigma — both of which, they say, prevent Muslim American communities from seeking mental health services.

Earlier this year, a murder-suicide involving a Muslim family in Allen, Texas, sent shock waves through the community. Brothers Farhan Towhid, 19, and Tanvir Towhid, 21, both of whom reportedly battled depression, made a pact to die by suicide and kill the rest of their family so they wouldn’t have to live with the grief. Since then, public discussions on mental health, trainings on suicide response and healing circles have taken on new urgency.

“We have a very long way to go,” Awaad said. “There is just the beginning of a discussion that is happening now.”

There’s still a community stigma surrounding mental health

Naureen Ahmed, now 39, remembers how her family would visit her mother, Seema, at a psychiatric hospital. But the family never openly discussed why she was there.

Some days, Seema would sing along to Bollywood music at home wearing red lipstick. Other days, she’d walk around the house brandishing knives — or jump out of the car on the highway, threatening to kill herself.

Ahmed, a social butterfly at school, was hesitant to invite friends over because she never knew which side of her mother she would get that day.

It wasn’t until she was 25 that Ahmed finally learned why her mom acted that way: she had bipolar depression and schizoaffective disorder, her grandparents told her.

“It was difficult to say it out loud, this secret that I had held inside my entire life,” Ahmed told NPR.

Of the many factors that prevent families or individuals from seeking mental health treatment, stigma is “perhaps the most significant,” according to a 2013 study that looked at the cultural backgrounds of Muslims.

“If you believe that your mental illnesses will bring shame on you or your family, then you tend to stay silent about it,” said Dr. Farha Abbasi, founder of the Muslim Mental Health Conference. Through the conference, hosted by Michigan State University for 13 years, Abbasi hopes to destigmatize mental illness within the Muslim community using open dialogue.

After Ahmed’s mother died in 2012, she created SEEMA to support families like hers who are shamed by the stigma of mental illness, are isolated by their communities or are suffering alone.

SEEMA, launched in 2018, hosts support groups with licensed therapists at community centers and mosques and awareness workshops highlighting the importance of mental health and how to care for someone struggling with a mental illness.

“We need to have these conversations to destigmatize and bring awareness because people think that they’re alone,” Ahmed said.

Religious discrimination makes them more vulnerable

Abbasi, who has studied the impact of growing Islamophobia on Muslims’ mental health, says she was not surprised by the results of the Stanford study.

“Right now, the exposure to toxicity is making us more vulnerable,” Abbasi told NPR.

U.S. Muslims were more likely to report suicide attempts than those from Muslim-majority countries, according to the Stanford study. As a religious minority in the U.S., Muslims are highly vulnerable to religious discrimination, which is associated with depression, anxiety and paranoia.

According to 2020 polling from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 60% of Muslims reported personally experiencing religious discrimination. And the FBI’s latest hate crime statistics in 2019 suggest that, of the reported 1,715 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, 13.2% were victims of anti-Muslim bias.

“There’s just trauma over trauma over trauma,” Abbasi says. “The impact of growing Islamophobia, the violence that is being directed against Muslims, all that is having a huge impact on mental health.”

They sometimes find it hard to reconcile their feelings and their faith

Last November, 39-year-old Chicago investor Jessica Ali broke down after separating from her husband.

“I felt that I was unworthy and there was no reason for me to live,” she said. Ali, a mother of three, had attempted suicide for a third time. The first two were in 2008 and 2018. “I started believing that I was crazy, that I must be a bad Muslim.”

That was until she joined a Muslim support group. It was there that Ali, who was diagnosed with severe depression, first came to terms with her mental illness.

“It’s very likely that when you’re sitting at the masjid, somebody in your praying row has felt this way,” Ali told NPR.

Now, Ali takes medication and visits a therapist.

But unlike Ali, some Muslims may not get the help and support they need.

To help jump over these hurdles, Muslim mental health professionals across the country are providing more culturally appropriate and religiously sensitive resources for Muslims.

Culturally appropriate resources can help

Dr. Sameera Ahmed, executive director of The Family & Youth Institute, a Muslim nonprofit, developed a suicide prevention toolkit in 2017 that helps Muslim American families navigate suicide risks, intervention, assessment and prevention.

“There may be mental health providers available, but if an individual doesn’t trust the system, they’re not going to use it,” Ahmed told NPR. “We try to translate the research into culturally and religiously tailored mental health resources that are community informed and disseminated by Muslim American mental health professionals.”

In 2017, the Khalil Center, which offers Muslims faith-based mental health services, launched a hotline that provides a “safe and empathic space” for those in crisis situations. “There’s more awareness happening,” Khalil Center psychologist Dr. Fahad Khan told NPR. “We have seen a rise in those who are seeking services.”

Imams have an integral role in community mental health because Muslim Americans may be more willing to seek help from religious leaders. That’s why Awaad started a campaign to train 500 Muslim leaders on suicide response in their communities by 2022.

“A number of imams came forward and said, ‘We as the religious and community leaders of the Muslim community really need to step up to this discussion,’ ” Awaad said.

Dr. Heather Laird, founder of the Center for Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology, found that Muslims were more likely to seek psychotherapy if it aligned with Islamic values. So she ignited a movement toward Islamic psychology. By Laird’s definition, Islamic psychology is the treatment of the mind and soul within an Islamic context.

As for Nazir, he uses a combination of therapy and journaling to tend to his psychological wounds.

“This battle for mental health is not necessarily you solve it, you cure it, you move on,” Nazir said. “For me, it’s an ongoing journey.”

Source: American Muslims Are 2 Times More Likely To Have Attempted Suicide Than Other Groups

The U.S. Attracts Fewer International Students, Loses Billions In Revenue. Here’s Why

Of note:

The Biden administration is hoping to attract tens of thousands of international students who stayed away from U.S. campuses during the pandemic. Foreign enrollment plummeted by 20% last year costing nearly $10 billion dollars in lost revenue. Though some students are starting to return, recovery might not be so easy. Even before the pandemic, international students were already turning away from the U.S.

In the 2018-2019 school year, foreign enrollment peaked at 1.1 million students and it’s been declining ever since as countries like Australia, Canada and the U.K gain more foreign students.

That’s a challenge for American colleges. But it also could be a blow to U.S. competitiveness. ​​​​Foreign students often go on to build their lives in the United States, filling our faculty offices, our laboratories, our boardrooms. One in five entrepreneurs who founded start-ups in the United States is an immigrant — and three-quarters of them first came to America as students.

International students are more likely than Americans to pay full freight. At public universities, the out-of-state tuition they pay has helped make up for a drop in state funding, especially after the Great Recession.

“They [colleges] need the tuition. They need full four-year out of state tuition payers,” says Robert Daly who directs the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center. Daly argues that colleges have become too reliant on students from one country: China. “They’ve become addicted to this money.”

Higher education is one the America’s largest service exports

When the pandemic sliced away a huge chunk of foreign students, the new administration took note. Higher education is one the nation’s largest service exports — bigger than agriculture exports like corn and soybeans.

Unlike the Trump administration’s hostility to foreigners, the Biden administration recently called it a “foreign policy imperative” that the U.S. remain the top study destination for international students. It’s putting students first in line for interviews and visa processing at U.S. consulates around the world.

But for many foreign students, the U.S. just isn’t as dominant. Emily Dobson calls it the “geoswerve.” Dobson, a college counselor in Brazil, has seen more diversity in where her students apply to colleges over the past few years. She says they’re finding options not just in traditional destinations like Australia and the U.K. but in Qatar, Japan, and the Czech Republic. “We’re not seeing the future we used to see here,” she says of the United States. “Still love you. A few of you are on our list. But you know, we’re going to go to other schools.”

“The American Dream idea,” she says, “is being questioned more.”

Dobson’s students are looking for more affordable options than the U.S. and for places where they can earn a degree in just three years. Safety is also a big concern — America’s gun violence scares many families.

New hesitancy by foreign student spells big trouble for U.S. colleges and economy

And 70% of international students on American campuses are from Asia. The recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes have made some of them reconsider their futures in the U.S. Early in the pandemic, Lily Cao, a Chinese student at Mount Holyoke College, was confronted in a grocery store by a woman accusing her of spreading the coronavirus. “COVID has really been the trigger point where I felt like, Oh, I might get discriminated against,” Cao says. She plans to return to China to build her career in public health.

This new hesitancy spells big trouble for colleges — and for the larger U.S. economy, which is propelled by immigrant entrepreneurs, many of whom came here as college students. Competitor countries, such as Australia and Canada, make it easy for international graduates to stay and work and give them priority above other applicants for permanent residency. Britain last year introduced a global talent visa that fast-tracks people in in-demand fields for immigration. Universities in those countries frequently promote the ability to work after graduation when they recruit international students.

U.S. colleges are trying to regain their competitive edge and the pandemic may offer something of a blueprint. After more than a year of remote learning, both professors and students are more comfortable with online education. More hybrid and online programs could shorten the amount of time students would need to be in the U.S. And colleges hope a new commitment by the Biden administration to welcome international students can reignite the American Dream for students from abroad.

Source: The U.S. Attracts Fewer International Students, Loses Billions In Revenue. Here’s Why

Column: Is it time to let noncitizens vote in local elections? Some Americans think that’s just nutty

Even at the municipal level questionable, particularly in Canada with reasonable and not excessive requirements. And it still raises issues regarding minimum residency and other requirements:

Should noncitizens be allowed to vote?

That sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? Weren’t we taught growing up that the right to vote belongs only to full-fledged, passport-eligible citizens of this country?

Nonetheless, the movement to expand immigrants’ voting rights is gaining ground.

We pay taxes, immigrants say. We run businesses. We send kids to public schools, drive the roads, ride the subways and fight in America’s wars. We are stakeholders in our communities and shouldn’t be excluded from the decision-making process that affects us.

There’s currently a bill before the New York City Council to let legal permanent residents vote in municipal elections — up to and including mayoral elections. Since 2018, San Francisco has allowed noncitizens to vote in school board elections, regardless of whether they’re in the country legally or not. Chicago allows it for school council elections.

Here in Los Angeles, the L.A. Unified school board authorized a study more than a year ago on how to extend voting rights in school board elections to noncitizen parents, grandparents and caregivers. The study — which would presumably lead to a ballot measure — was delayed by the pandemic but will be revived as school reopens.

There’s no question that noncitizen voting rights is a radical notion. It’s understandably worrisome to those who believe citizenship matters.

And you don’t have to be a xenophobe or a white nationalist or a Trump voter to feel that way.

A few years ago, then-Gov. Jerry Brown, whose liberal credentials are pretty impeccable, vetoed a bill passed by the California Legislature that would have allowed permanent legal residents to serve on juries, saying: “Jury service, like voting, is quintessentially a prerogative and responsibility of citizenship.”

Citizenship is a concept, a construct — but it’s a meaningful one. The idea is that there is a difference between merely living in the U.S. and being a full participant in its democratic self-government. Many people are stakeholders, but citizens are more like shareholders.

Becoming a citizen is a process (unless you’re born here, in which case it’s simple luck). At the end of it — after you’ve waited your time, lived in the U.S., taken a test, paid your fees, pledged your loyalty — you are rewarded for your formal commitment with both rights and responsibilities.

And there’s a value to waiting. The term “assimilation” is out of favor (perhaps because it implies that immigrants must check their differences at the door), but “incorporation” and “integration” are still important — learning the language, understanding the culture, making sure you buy into the rules and values laid out in the Constitution. Shared citizenship is a unifying force.

My mother, who came to America during World War II, went through this process, becoming a citizen seven years after she arrived.

Nevertheless, despite everything I’ve just said, I’ve come around to the idea that we should try noncitizen voting anyway, at least in a limited way on the most local level. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

After all, the United States was founded on the promise of “no taxation without representation” — yet there are some 25 million people living in the country, more than half of them legally, who are unable to participate in the elections that affect their lives and livelihoods. And yes, most of them pay taxes.

When a segment of the population is excluded from the political process, it can lead to discriminatory public policy and mistreatment.

Furthermore, noncitizen voting was widespread in the U.S. at the beginning of the nation’s history; it ended only in the 1920s. It is permitted in 45 countries around the world in local or regional elections, and in some cases, at the national level.

Noncitizen voting in federal elections was barred in 1996, but where it’s been allowed in the U.S. in recent years — in 11 towns in Maryland as well as San Francisco, two cities in Vermont and a few other jurisdictions — the sky hasn’t fallen. In many cases, it has led to greater political engagement and often to “improved outcomes,” says Ron Hayduk, a political science professor at San Francisco State.

Hayduk argues that noncitizen voting on the local level can be seen as part of the process of becoming a citizen, rather than a substitute for it. It undoubtedly fosters a sense of belonging and investment in the community.

It’s all well and good to tell immigrants to wait their turn to vote, but gaining citizenship is caught up in the U.S. immigration system, which is broken and irrational by all accounts, with no fix in sight.

In contrast, a limited experiment in noncitizen voting by the L.A. Unified School District makes sense. After all, the school board cited an estimate that 42% of Southern California’s children have at least one parent who is not a citizen, without a voice in the district’s leadership.

The expansion of the franchise should be narrow. It should be for school board elections only, and it could be restricted to legal permanent residents with children in the system. Let’s try it and see what happens.

Noncitizen voting raises fundamental questions about our country. Who is an American? Who gets to set the rules? What does it mean to run a country “with the consent of the governed”? What are the costs if millions of stakeholders are excluded from decision-making?

This experiment would challenge our assumptions but perhaps make us stronger in the long run.

Source: Column: Is it time to let noncitizens vote in local elections? Some Americans think that’s just nutty

USA: Public Opinion Shifts in a Pro-Immigration Direction

Of note. Dysfunctional US political system does not translate shift into political action:

Since 1965, Gallup has been polling Americans about whether they want immigration levels to decrease, increase, or remain the same. Last year, the percentage of Americans who want to increase immigration rose above the percentage who want to decrease it for the first time. In 2021, that shift held with more respondents again supporting increasing immigration than decreasing it (Figure 1). The support for increasing legal immigration may have narrowed in 2021 to 33 percent from 35 percent in 2020, but the changes are so small that they are likely statistically insignificant.

Consistent with the general rise in support for increasing immigration, a large majority of Americans still believe that immigration is a good thing for the United States (Figure 2). Just like in Figure 1, the percentage saying it’s a good thing has declined by 2 percentage points but that is a small shift a statistically insignificant shift. Although this is consistent with pro‐​immigration policy views, it also includes those who like the current level of immigration.

However, an even more important shift has continued in U.S. opinion about immigration. Since 2001, Gallup has asked this question: “(Asked of those dissatisfied with level of immigration into U.S.) Would you like to see the level of immigration in this country increased, decreased or remain about the same?” Respondents who are dissatisfied with the level of immigration are increasingly likely to be dissatisfied because they think that there is too little immigration. I wrote about this last year but the trend has grown in 2021 (Figure 3). In 2020, 26 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the level of immigration and they wanted to decrease immigration. By 2021, that percentage had fallen to 19 percent. The percent of those who were dissatisfied and wanted an increase stayed about the same and the percent of those satisfied climbed slightly.

That’s a tectonic shift. From 2001–2016, an average of 63 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the level of immigration. Only about 5 percent of respondents were dissatisfied and wanted to increase immigration levels and a whopping 44 percent of the dissatisfied wanted to decrease them (Figure 3). This began to change shortly after President Trump took office. From 2017–2020, an average of about 11 percent of respondents wanted to increase immigration levels while 28 percent were dissatisfied and wanted to decrease them. By the end of the Trump administration, there was still quite a gap among those dissatisfied with immigration, but it had narrowed.

We’re clearly seeing a shift in public opinion where those who dislike the current system are beginning to dislike it because it’s too restrictive. To the extent that we can believe surveys that measure opinions unexpressed through concrete actions like voting, this is a big shift. So far, virtually all of the political energy and enthusiasm has been for immigration restriction. Anti‐​immigration voters cared a lot more about this issue than pro‐​immigration voters. Now, the decline in the percent of respondents who are dissatisfied and who want less immigration is beginning to look like the collapse in anti‐​immigration sentiment that began in the mid‐​1990s (Figure 1).

One doubt I had about this change in behavior last year was that this increased pro‐​immigration opinion was just a reaction to President Trump and that it would fade out after he left office. In other words, I was worried that this was just an ephemeral liberal reaction of President Trump rather than a real and sustained change in opinion. But since the 2021 survey results show that only 19 percent of respondents are dissatisfied and want less immigration, a number 7 percentage points below the previous response in 2020, that is an indication that the pro‐​immigration sentiment of the American public is continuing to increase in the Biden administration. That improvement is especially surprising considering the rise in apprehensions along the border.

This appears to be a positive and sustainable change in American public opinion.

Source: Public Opinion Shifts in a Pro-Immigration Direction | Cato at … › blog › public-opinion-shifts-pro…