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Immigrants give us their gifts every day

Esther J. Cepeda on

The study also looked specifically at immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other major South American countries and compared them with children of poor Finnish, Scottish, Norwegian and other European immigrants. The researchers found that the average income rank of the Hispanic group is the same or better as the European group, relative to each other and adjusted for inflation.

The researchers concluded: "Children of first-generation immigrants growing up in the poorest 25% of the distribution end up near the middle as adults. These children of immigrants have rates of economic mobility that are 3-6 percentage points higher than their U.S. born peers. For those in the top quarter of the income distribution, the gap in mobility is about 1-5 percentage points."

They also found what nearly every researcher has concluded in nearly all studies of immigrants: Even immigrants who come to the U.S. with no generational wealth or few academic skills bring a lot to the U.S. economy, mainly their healthy children, who keep America young. I'd add that they also carry an ironclad belief in the American dream, the energy of fully buying in to a country's work ethic, a love of our culture and no room to fail.

It's a powerful combination that people who were born here in the U.S. have a hard time understanding, because they've lived in relative comfort -- relative, that is, to the soul-crushing poverty, violence and government corruption of many other countries.

But successful, law-abiding, society-enriching immigrants are like gravity -- a natural phenomenon that acts upon our lives whether we recognize it or not.

 

Don't despair about the current political climate: Immigrants never have and never will be dependent on others' belief in their capacity and potential to make the most of themselves. It's something they carry across borders and give to the U.S. in full every day.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com or follow her on Twitter @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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