Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd
Despite waves of anti-immigrant rhetoric, an analysis by The Economist magazine makes a persuasive case that the US will benefit greatly from its Latino immigrants. As global competitors throughout the rest of the world are graying, the US has an influx of youthful immigrants that will help keep the American dream alive.
The magazine lauds California’s efforts to educate all of its immigrants. ESL programs play a big role in helping to ensure that immigrant Latino children become fluent in English. More than 90% of these second-generation immigrants across the US are fluent in English according to the Pew Research Center.
Despite concerns about rampant floods of Latino immigrants crossing the Southern border, most of the growth in the US Latino community has been driven by births rather than fresh immigration. Ninety-three percent of the Latino children in the US are citizens.
Already, the purchasing power of American Latinos is so high that it is comparable to the 16th largest economy in the world. As the baby boomer population ages and retires in increasing numbers, The Economist predicts that young Latinos will pick up the slack and help to support older Americans. While the median age of Caucasian Americans is 42, the median among Latinos in the US is just 28.
Thus, it is vital that this population be well educated and trained, so they can fully contribute to US competitiveness in the world. Having a large population of US citizens with fluency in English and Spanish will surely prove beneficial to helping America compete in the global economy.
America’s Latino immigrants are following the paths blazed by previous waves of immigrants to this country. It has long been the case in the US that the older generations of immigrants retain their native language, while the second generation assimilates. Fortunately, current Latino immigrants have the benefits of high-quality ESL education to accelerate their rate of assimilation in America’s melting pot.