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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Learning Values from Immigrants

Yesterday, George W. Bush commented that immigrants must adopt American values. That made me wonder why Americans shouldn’t learn a few values from immigrants. How about a few of these:

The Value of Hard Work
Immigrant labor force participation is consistently higher than native-born. Although immigrants only make up about 11% of the population, they make up over 14% of our workforce, and they are about 20% of our low-wage workers. Obviously they are doing more than their fair share of hard work.

The Value of Patriotism
More than 60,000 immigrants serve on active duty in the US Armed Forces.
More than 20% of the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor in US wars have been immigrants.
Over 500,000 immigrants fought in the Union Army during the Civil War.

The Value of Marriage
According to the latest census data, people of Hispanic origin in the United States are less likely to be divorced (7.1%) as compared to their white counterparts (10.1%).

The bottom line is that most immigrants to the US already share our values. Most of them are coming here to better their lives and the lives of their families. That is surely a noble endeavor. Perhaps before we start lecturing immigrants about adopting our values, we should check to see if they already share them.

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