From Fri Mar 12 13:45:09 2004
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 23:21:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Givel <>
Subject: [progchat_action] Harvard scholar pens Nativist attack on
Article: 175168
To: undisclosed-recipients: ; 7908p-146764c.html

Harvard scholar pens attack on immigration

By Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News, 26 February 2004

It seems that when it comes to immigration, irrationality can cloud even the minds of people from whom profound research, detached analysis and clear conclusions are expected.

People like Samuel Huntington, the chairman of Harvard University’s Academy for International and Area Studies, who wrote an essay—scheduled to run in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs magazine—that will misguidedly add fuel to the anti-immigration fires.

Huntington’s main problem is with immigration from Latin America, which, according to him, is at such a high level that it could cause the U.S. to face the loss of its core Anglo-Protestant culture. And that’s not all. He also predicts, rather apocalyptically, that the country could soon be divided into two peoples with two cultures and two languages. Even though the article has not been published yet, leaked copies have been making the academic rounds for days and have provoked reactions ranging from disbelief to anger.

Here in New York, Columbia University Prof. Rodolfo de la Garza, a political scientist, has said that Huntington’s ideas more closely resemble nativist ravings than scholarly assessments.

As if to prove De la Garza right, Huntington also goes so far as to predict that America may soon become an officially bicultural country, like Canada or Belgium.

The director of the University of California’s Research Policy Center, Andris Jiminez, wrote in a letter to the editors of Foreign Policy that Huntington’s piece was misinformed, factually inaccurate, inflammatory and potentially injurious to public policy because of its potential for being used as a further baseless rationalization for anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican politics.

And even though Jiminez is right, the idea of a country divided is not new, although not necessarily for the same reasons Huntington brandishes in his article.

In 1962, The Other America, a book by Michael Harrington, made clear the appalling contradictions between the apparent prosperity of the country in those times, and the reality of the daily lives of thousands of desperately poor Americans. One in four Americans, Harrington said, were victims of grinding poverty, and were part of that semihidden Other America of the dispossessed and the powerless.

Much more recently, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has been playing a similar note in his campaign to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Under President Bush, Edwards insists, there are two Americas, one that is doing well and another that is living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to get by.

Edwards and Harrington before him attribute the country’s undeniable divide to social and economic inequalities—not to immigration. And even though Huntington’s fear that Hispanic immigrants’ loyalties to their old countries might be strong enough to jeopardize their chance of becoming fully integrated Americans seems reasonable, it has little to do with reality.

De la Garza cited a 1988 study by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, that shows that, perhaps surprisingly, Hispanics have a relatively low level of engagement with the politics of their home countries and are much more oriented toward events in the U.S.

And what about Iraq? With its heavy toll of dead and wounded immigrants from fighting President Bush’s war, it is the saddest, most powerful and most immediate demonstration that Hispanics and other immigrants are eager to become full members of their new country, even if that means sacrificing their own lives.