I have to admit that when I read Samuel P. Huntington's article in Foreign Policy about the Hispanic Challenge I felt outraged by its conclusions
This article is article featured by a number of blogs like Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution that features a link to Daniel Drezner about several facts that Huntington touches in his article.
My main concern with Huntington article is that he rants all over the article about the lack of integration of the Hispanic community into the wider American experience without ever touching the institutional reasons why this happens. He mentions as possible explanation the fact that this group feels proud of its language and its traditions, but he misses the point totally when the fact is that most immigrants feel proud of their heritage. Many immigrants leave their country with great pain and just because they face economic hardships or political intolerance at home.
People come to the US primarily not because it's culture but because the economic opportunities it brings. My guess is that many when they arrive and start discovering the intricacies of the American culture discover also its virtues. Liking the American culture does not means that you reject your own culture. Having loyalties to both cultures does not mean that you hate one or the other. Latinos as I have experienced in my short time here in the US admire the American system and they want to participate more on it.
Currently the biggest stumbling block, as opposed to what happened in the past with other ethnic groups, for integration I believe is the immigration law. Latinos or Hispanics are less and less integrated because of the legal system that leave little or no room to be here in the US legally and with the same rights as any American. This forces Latinos to live in ghettos permanently and not as a stage in their settling in this country. The ghetto provides shelter and anonymity in a world where being illegal is becoming more difficult. Why leave the ghettos and settle in a community where you can be easily pointed out as an outsider. This I believe is the reason why less and less Latinos are refusing to learn the Language and integrate. The ghetto provides them security from the police and the ability to remain there without learning the language. Why move to a neighborhood were he will be pointed out as a foreigner and potentially be singled out by the authorities?
On the other hand I agree with Huntington’s allusion to the fact that the American culture is going to be affected by the huge influx of Latinos to the US, but my question is what is wrong with it? Latinos have a lot of virtues that are cherished and are desirable like family values, appreciation for the history and hard work. I don’t see where Huntington sees the problem. If he is worried about the ever increasing influence of the Democratic Party on Latino’s it’s because the Democratic Party has opened the doors to them. The Republican Party until recently had paid no attention to them, and have crazy guys like Representative Tom Tancredo (by the way his last name sounds Portuguese) or Pat Buchanan that are the most outspoken anti-immigration or anti-Hispanic. I will definitively agree with Peter Carlson in a review of Huntington’s Article at the Washington Post. He says that at some point a new crisis will send a new flood of immigrants to America and some fully assimilated Hispanic politician or pundit or Harvard professor will denounce this new comers citing their ignorance, their barbaric customs and so forth and he will at last find a Hispanic soul brother.
Other comments on Huntington's Book: