[House Hearing, 110 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM: BECOMING AMERICANS--U.S. IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP, REFUGEES, BORDER SECURITY, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ MAY 16, 2007 __________ Serial No. 110-27 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov ------ U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 35-450 PDF WASHINGTON DC: 2007 --------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866)512-1800 DC area (202)512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan, Chairman HOWARD L. BERMAN, California LAMAR SMITH, Texas RICK BOUCHER, Virginia F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., JERROLD NADLER, New York Wisconsin ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina ELTON GALLEGLY, California ZOE LOFGREN, California BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas STEVE CHABOT, Ohio MAXINE WATERS, California DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts CHRIS CANNON, Utah WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts RIC KELLER, Florida ROBERT WEXLER, Florida DARRELL ISSA, California LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California MIKE PENCE, Indiana STEVE COHEN, Tennessee J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia HANK JOHNSON, Georgia STEVE KING, Iowa LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois TOM FEENEY, Florida BRAD SHERMAN, California TRENT FRANKS, Arizona TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York JIM JORDAN, Ohio ADAM B. SCHIFF, California ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota Perry Apelbaum, Staff Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Gibson, Minority Chief Counsel ------ Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law ZOE LOFGREN, California, Chairwoman LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois STEVE KING, Iowa HOWARD L. BERMAN, California ELTON GALLEGLY, California SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia MAXINE WATERS, California DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota Ur Mendoza Jaddou, Chief Counsel George Fishman, Minority Counsel C O N T E N T S ---------- MAY 16, 2007 OPENING STATEMENT Page The Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, and Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.............................................. 1 The Honorable Steve King, a Representative in Congress from the State of Iowa, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.. 4 The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary...................................................... 6 WITNESSES Mr. Gary Gerstle, Ph.D., Professor of History, Vanderbilt University Oral Testimony................................................. 9 Prepared Statement............................................. 12 Mr. Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine Oral Testimony................................................. 21 Prepared Statement............................................. 23 Mr. Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Oral Testimony................................................. 50 Prepared Statement............................................. 51 Mr. John Fonte, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute Oral Testimony................................................. 55 Prepared Statement............................................. 57 LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING Prepared Statement of the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, and Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law................................ 3 Prepared Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary........................... 7 Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law................................ 7 APPENDIX Material Submitted for the Hearing Record Letter from a Majority of the Minority Members of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law requesting a Minority day of hearing to the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.............................................. 86 Letter from Gary Gerstle, Ph.D., Professor of History, Vanderbilt University to the Honorable Steve King, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law................................ 87 Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Gary Gerstle, Ph.D., Professor of History, Vanderbilt University.................... 90 Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine....... 94 Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.............. 108 Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from John Fonte, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute................................ 111 COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM: BECOMING AMERICANS--U.S. IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION ---------- WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2007 House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC. The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:37 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Zoe Lofgren (Chairwoman of the Subcommittee) presiding. Present: Representatives Lofgren, Gutierrez, Berman, Jackson Lee, Waters, Sanchez, Ellison, Conyers, King, Goodlatte, and Gohmert. Staff present: Ur Mendoza Jaddou, Najority Chief Counsel; J. Traci Hong, Majority Counsel; George Fishman, Minority Counsel; and Benjamin Staub, Professional Staff Member. Ms. Lofgren. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law will come to order. I would like to welcome the Immigration Subcommittee Members, our witnesses, and members of the public who are here today for the Subcommittee's ninth hearing on comprehensive immigration reform. We started our series of hearings at Ellis Island, where we examined the need for comprehensive immigration reform to secure our borders, to address economic and demographic concerns, and we reviewed our Nation's rich immigrant history. We studied immigration reform from 1986 and 1996 in an effort to avoid the mistakes of the past. We have considered the problems with and proposed solutions for our current employment and work site verification systems. In light of recent proposals by the White House to eliminate family priorities in immigration and replace it with a completely new and untested point system, we studied the contributions of family immigrants to America and various immigration point systems used around the world. The genius of America has always been our strength as a society. People from all over the world come to America to become Americans with us. When a new citizen raises her hand to become an American at her citizenship ceremony, she pledges her future to America. She promises to defend our country and our Constitution. And she immediately inherits a grand history of her new country from George Washington to today. Today, some fear that America has lost this exceptional status, and some contend that, unlike immigrants from other generations, immigrants today are not assimilating fast enough or at all. One clear and objective sign of assimilation is the process by which immigrants master the English language. The census and various academic studies and research show that immigrants and their descendants are learning English at a rate comparable to the past waves of immigrants. According to the 2005 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 82 percent of immigrants 24 and older report that they speak English well or very well. Younger immigrants fare even better. Ninety-five percent of immigrants from 18 to 23 report speaking English well or very well. By the third generation, most grandchildren of immigrants can, in fact, speak only English, even in heavily Spanish-speaking areas of the country such as Southern California. Our first witness, Professor Gerstle, explains that the Southern and Eastern Europeans who immigrated to the United States a century ago and are now held up as model immigrants were once depicted much as immigrants of today: unable and unwilling to assimilate. Yet, the professor explains, these European immigrants did well in joining American society. He finds that these so-called new immigrants of then successfully integrated into the United States, despite such hostility, because of three factors: the ability of immigrants to participate in American democracy, the natural transition from immigrants to their children, with the ability of immigrants to achieve economic security. He states that the, ``ability of immigrants to participate in politics and to feel as though their votes made a difference was crucial to their engagement with and integration into America.'' He also notes that an, ``immigrant population that finds itself unable to move out of poverty or to gain the confidence that it can provide a decent life for their children is far more likely to descend into alienation than to embrace America.'' What we can learn from this historical account is that including immigrants in mainstream American society and the economy is the quickest way to assimilation and integration. If creating new Americans is the goal of our immigration policy, then we should ensure that comprehensive immigration reform reflects that objective. Purely temporary worker programs with little opportunity for those who contribute to our economy to become full members of the country that they have helped to build run contrary to the goal of Americanism and assimilation, because such programs relegate people to a life in a permanent underclass. Furthermore, under purely temporary worker programs, there is little incentive and little time to learn English if, after 2 years or 3 years of full-time work in the U.S., the only choice is returning home to a non-English-speaking country. As we develop comprehensive immigration reform, we must not forget that mandating and facilitating the process for immigrants to learn English is important but not sufficient in achieving the goal of assimilation and allowing new immigrants to become Americans. The opportunity to become fully participating members of our polity, our civic society, and our economy is a key to, as Professor Gerstle so pointedly discusses in his written testimony, allowing new immigrants to become our new Americans. I would now recognize the Ranking Member for his opening statement. [The prepared statement of Ms. Lofgren follows:] Prepared Statement of the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, and Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law I would like to welcome the Immigration Subcommittee Members, our witnesses, and members of the public to the Subcommittee's tenth hearing on comprehensive immigration reform. We started our series of hearings at Ellis Island where we examined the need for comprehensive immigration reform to secure our borders, to address economic and demographic concerns, and we reviewed our nation's rich immigrant history. We have studied immigration reform from 1986 and 1996 in an effort to avoid the mistakes of the past. We've considered the problems with and proposed solutions for our current employment and worksite verification system. In light of recent proposals by the White House to eliminate family priorities in immigration and replace it with a completely new and untested point system, we studied the contributions of family immigrants to America and various immigration point systems used around the world. Today we turn our attention to the integration of immigrants in our society. Some contend that unlike immigrants from other generations, immigrants today are not assimilating fast enough. One clear and objective sign of assimilation is the process by which immigrants master the English language. The Census and various academic studies and research show that immigrants and their descendants are learning English at a rate comparable to past waves of immigrants. According to the 2005 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 82% of immigrants 24 and older report that they speak English well or very well. Younger immigrants fare even better. 95% of immigrants from 18 to 23 report speaking English well or very well. By the third generation, most grandchildren of immigrants can in fact speak only English, even in heavily Spanish-speaking areas of the country, such as Southern California. More importantly, our first witness, Professor Gerstle, explains that the southern and eastern Europeans who immigrated to the United States a century ago and are now held up as model immigrants, were once depicted much as immigrants of today--unable and unwilling to assimilate. Yet, Professor Gerstle explains, these European immigrants did well in joining American society. He finds that these ``new immigrants'' successfully integrated into the United States despite such hostility because of three factors: 1) the ability of immigrants to participate in American Democracy, 2) natural transition from immigrants to their children; and 3) ability of immigrants to achieve economic security. He states that ``[t]he ability of immigrants to participate in politics and to feel as though their votes made a difference was crucial to their engagement with and integration into America.'' He also notes that ``[a]n immigrant population that finds itself unable to move out of poverty or to gain the confidence that it can provide a decent life for their children is far more likely to descend into alienation than to embrace America.'' What we can learn from this historical account is that including immigrants in mainstream American society and the economy is the quickest way to assimilation and integration. If assimilation is a goal of our immigration policy, then we should ensure that comprehensive immigration reform reflects that objective. Purely temporary worker programs with little opportunity for those who contribute to our economy to become full members of the country that they've helped to build run contrary to the goal of assimilation, because such programs relegate people to a life in a permanent underclass. Furthermore, under purely temporary worker programs, there is little incentive and little time to learn English if, after two or three years of full-time work in the U.S., the only choice is returning home to a non-English-speaking country. As we develop comprehensive immigration reform with an eye towards assimilation, we must not forget that mandating and facilitating the process for immigrants to learn English is important, but it is certainly not sufficient to accomplish assimilation. It is the opportunity to become fully participating members of our polity and our economy that is the key to successful immigrant assimilation, as Professor Gerstle so poignantly discusses in his written testimony. Mr. King. Thank you, Madam Chair. As I expressed to the witnesses this morning, I appreciate you being here and committing your time to the knowledge base of this Congress, this panel, and the American people. However, nothing in these hearings will replace hearings on national legislation when we can actually examine the language and have input on the impact of that language on the American life with that policy that might come from specific language. But facing us on the back wall of this hearing room, we are looking at our national seal. And on the seal is our Nation's motto, ``E Pluribus Unum.'' And that means, of course, out of many, one. This motto was proposed by a Committee appointed by Congress on July 4, 1776. And on that Committee were John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Lest there be any doubt about what meaning was intended by our founders in choosing that phrase, ``E Pluribus Unum,'' I point out that the design they proposed for the seal was not the eagle originally as you see today, but rather a shield containing the six symbols for ``the countries from which these states have been peopled.'' The patriotic assimilation of new immigrants has been a primary objective of our immigration policy since our Nation's birth. Washington recommended that assimilation into the mainstream of American life and values be encouraged so that immigrants and native-born Americans would soon become one people. Only within the last generation or so have the terms assimilation and Americanization given way to cultural pluralism and multiculturalism. The title of this hearing uses the word ``integration,'' a term that is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as the bringing of people of different racial or ethnic groups into an unrestricted and equal association as in a society or organization or, alternatively, mostly we understand it to mean desegregation. That term, however, does not capture the spirit of Americans. In a public speech after the publication of the 1995 report by the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Barbara Jordan declared that the term Americanization earned a bad reputation when it was stolen by racists and xenophobes in the 1920's. But it is our word, and we are taking it back, according to Barbara Jordan. She explained, ``When using the term Americanization, the commission means the cultivation of a shared commitment to the American values of liberty, democracy and equal opportunity, something that is possible regardless of the nationality or religious background of immigrants and their children. We view Americanization positively as the inclusion of all who wish to embrace the civic culture which holds our Nation together.'' I agree with her on this policy. We need to refocus our priorities on helping those who are here legally now and help them embrace our new country by emphasizing the rapid learning of our common language of English by instilling core American values, the deals of our constitutional republic and by ensuring that immigrants' loyalty to America and not to the country from which they came is achieved. There are tens of thousands of people who have marched in the streets of America under thousands of flags of foreign countries, chanting for another nation--this doesn't give me confidence that we have established the Americanization or the assimilation that we need to hold this country together under one cultural foundation. Teddy Roosevelt spoke to it powerfully in a number of his writings and statements. But I would skip forward and say that, on a different subject, the minority requested a hearing for last week because we were denied the opportunity to present a witness of our choice from the previous week. What transpired was the use of the hearing process to demean the efforts of Mr. Willard Fair, one of our volunteer witnesses as well. He is the President and CEO of Urban League of Greater Miami, and he has worked for 40 years to help the lives of African-Americans and increase their employment. He was not allowed to answer or respond to the questions that were peppered at him, and I believe that we need to treat you all with that level of respect and deference. And I insist that we do so. But when I asked for unanimous consent for Mr. Fair to respond to those questions, there was an objection, and that is something that I hope does not happen again with any of the witnesses. I want to hear it from you myself. And so with that, I would say also that there was a rebuttal to the Rector study, and I hope that we can have a panel here to allow Mr. Rector to be able to face his accusers. I read the rebuttal. I didn't find any facts in that rebuttal. But what I do have here is a request for a minority hearing, Madam Chair, and I would ask unanimous consent that the letter be introduced into the record, and hopefully we can move forward with the proper edification of this panel and the people of this country as they observe our process here. This is a very pivotal issue that is before us in this Congress. There is no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. We had better get it right. We can learn from history. We can learn from facts. And as the Chair stated last week, we are entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts. The facts are in the Rector study. They do not include national interest or national defense in his conclusions. They are only there so that you can draw your own calculation if you choose, but not in Rector's conclusions. I look forward to hearing from him, and I hope that we can have that kind of a hearing in the future. Thank you, Madam Chair, and I would yield back. Ms. Lofgren. Without objection, the letter will be made a part of the record and dealt with according to the rules. [The letter referred to is inserted in the Appendix.] Ms. Lofgren. I would now recognize the Chairman of the full Committee, Mr. John Conyers, for his statement. Mr. Conyers. Thank you, and good morning, Madam Chairperson and Members of the Committee and our very important witnesses here. This, to me--and I congratulate you, Ms. Lofgren--is a philosophical inquiry that we are making today. Are new immigrant groups any different from old immigrant groups? That is a great subject to kick around on a Wednesday morning. And I am so happy to hear that the Ranking Subcommittee Member, Steve King, tell me that we need to refocus our energies on those who are doing their best to make it here, because that means he has come a little distance from an assertion that I remember him making that we have gotten so messed up in the immigration issue that even legal immigration is unworkable. And I am happy to know that that is a direction that he is moving in. Now, are the new wave of immigrants different from the ones that came from Germany in 1751, or Ireland in 1856, or from China in 1882, or from Italy in 1896, or from Mexico in 1956, and now, of course, the Latino groups from Latin America? And what I am thinking is that this discussion becomes critical to our understanding of what our job is about: reform, major reform, of the immigration law, because it is very easy to get caught in a time warp. That is to say what we are looking at now--and some might say, ``This is different, Conyers, don't you get it? This isn't the 18th century or the 19th century or the 20th century. This is different. And if you don't understand that, we are not going to be able to get anywhere.'' And so this discussion amongst us and with our witnesses becomes important because it attempts to pull another layer off the onion that gets us to the importance of what it is we are going to do legislatively. We have been given another week by the Senate. I think that is critical. I was very nervous when I came in to ask what finally happened late last night. But it just occurred to me that the first person killed in Iraq was Lance Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an illegal immigrant, if you please, who was undocumented. Our country gave him a chance, a home, a career in the military, and he was just one of millions who have embraced America's promise of freedom and opportunity. And so, yes, I say, time and time again, we have worried about whether some people can assimilate satisfactorily into this so-called American melting pot. And time and time again, these fears have proven to be completely unfounded. So I look forward to all of the witnesses, including the minority's witness as well, to join us in this discussion this morning. And I thank you for this opportunity. [The prepared statement of Mr. Conyers follows:] Prepared Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary At an earlier hearing before this Subcommittee, one of the witnesses remarked that while America is a nation of immigrants, it is also a nation that loves to discuss immigration policy. Time and time again, Americans have fretted about whether the next new group of immigrants would ever assimilate into American society and American values--the so-called American Melting Pot. But, time and time again, these fears have been proven to be completely unfounded. In the current debate on immigration, for example, conservative commentator Selwyn Duke just yesterday inveighed against any immigration (legal or not). He warned, ``[R]eplace our population with a Mexican or Moslem one and you no longer have a western civilization, you no longer have America. You have Mexico North or Iran West.'' As we have heard in other hearings before this Subcommittee, however, nothing can be further from the truth. immigrants create jobs, fill niches in our economy, and display American values of family and patriotism. We find immigrants and their children in all aspects of American life, at church, in 4-H clubs or girl scouts, and in college. These contributions should be praised, not denigrated. I would point out that the first American killed in Iraq, Lance Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, was an immigrant. Corporal Guitierrez first arrived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. America gave him a chance--a home, a career in the military, and something in which to believe. Corporal Gutierrez was one of the millions of immigrants who have embraced America's promise of freedom and opportunity. So too did immigrants and children of immigrants in the Asian and Hispanic communities served with distinction in World War II and other conflicts. Nevertheless, they have had to constantly fight for recognition of their sacrifice. The Hispanic Caucus has worked to draw our attention to this issue, and I join them in lauding the contributions of immigrant servicemembers to this country. And if immigrants to our nation retain their heritage and bring it into the American experience, so much the better for our national culture. We owe it to Corporal Guteirrez, and to all of those who will come after him, to devise an immigration system that is controlled, orderly, and fair. Just imagine all of the great things they will do for America. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Conyers. Noting that we have witnesses to hear from, without objection, all Members of the Committee are invited to submit their statements for the record. [The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:] Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Today we continue these series of hearings dealing with comprehensive immigration reform. This subcommittee previously dealt with the shortfalls of the 1986 and 1996 immigration reforms, the difficulties employers face with employment verification and ways to improve the employment verification system. On Tuesday May 1, 2007 we explored the point system that the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand utilize, and on May 3, 2007 the focus of the discussion was on the U.S. economy, U.S. workers and immigration reform. Last week we took a look at another controversial aspect of the immigration debate, family based immigration. Today we continue the vital task of eliminating the myths and seeking the truth. Today's hearing deals with probably the most crucial aspect underlying the immigration debate, an immigrant's ability to integrate, and assimilate into American society. Let me start by quoting my predecessor the late great Barbara Jordan: ``We are a nation of immigrants, dedicated to the rule of law. That is our history--and it is our challenge to ourselves. It is literally a matter of who we are as a nation and who we become as a people.'' Allow me to talk about our nation's history. I find that quote particularly interesting in light of the recent celebration of the 400 year anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown. Yes we are talking about a different time period, but imagine if that first group of individuals was met with the hostility and disregard for decency that today's immigrant population faces. Imagine if these folks were demonized, and disparaged by a wide network of Native Americans, in the same manner that we demonize the current documented and undocumented population. It was not to long ago that we held a field hearing underneath the shadow of the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island. I remind my colleagues of the famous inscription on that monument of freedom, hope, and inspiration that many immigrants saw as they pulled into Ellis Island full of hopes and dreams, ``Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I left my lamp beside the golden door.'' Now we want to close this door because of the lies and the hysteria created by a few in the Nativist and Restrictionist camps. There is an old saying, if you do not learn your history you are doomed to repeat it. There was a time when our nation had the same reservations about Italian and Irish immigrants that came to this country at the start of the 20th century. Fast forward to 2007 and one of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for President, Rudy Guliani is the descendant of Italian immigrants, and Bill O'Reily an individual well respected by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is the descendant of Irish immigrants, and no one would argue that they have had any problems assimilating into our society. In fact they represent the natural progression to full fledged Americans that occurs when the children of immigrants have kids and their kids have kids. I look down the aisle and I see Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Member of Congress and the child of immigrants. I look behind me and I have a staffer Ted Hutchinson, an attorney and the child of immigrants. Therefore it should be quite evident that immigrants have a long successful history of assimilation and achievement in this nation. Let me take a moment to describe how my immigration legislation, H.R. 750, the ``Save America Comprehensive Immigration Reform'' addresses this issue of integration and assimilation. Save mandates that immigrants earn their legalization by 1) successfully completing a course on reading, writing, and speaking ordinary English words, and 2) showing that he has accepted the values and cultural life of the United States. Save also requires the completion of 40 community service hours. For children Save requires that school age kids are successfully pursuing an education. These are the values that make are nation great education, community service, and the acceptance of our system of democracy. With these requirements we can all be ensured that those who seek a better opportunity here in the United States will embrace this country as their own. Likewise embracing the ideals and value systems of the United States is something that all immigrants have exemplified from Ellis Island to the sandy beaches of Key West, Florida. Are we no longer the melting pot? When the pilgrims came they did not leave their culture behind so you can not expect any group of immigrants, Latino, European, or African to leave their culture behind either. This mixture of cultures is what defines cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, and makes this nation wonderful. However no groups of immigrants come to this country as a collective whole with the purpose of disregarding the value system that they seek to be a part of. That does not make any sense, that is not true, and it is simply un- American. Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare a recess of the hearing at any time. We have a distinguished panel of witnesses here today to help us consider the important issues before us. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Gary Gerstle, a Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Gerstle's research has focused on the nexus between immigration, race, and nationhood. His co-authored college textbook, Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, will soon enter its fifth edition. He comes to Vanderbilt after teaching at the University of Maryland, the University of Pennsylvania, and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of American History. He earned his doctorate degree in history from Harvard University. We will next hear from Dr. Ruben G. Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, my home State, at Irvine. A native of Havana, Cuba, Dr. Rumbaut has conducted world-renowned research on immigration, including his current work on the landmark Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, which began in 1991, and the large-scale study of immigration and intergenerational mobility in metropolitan Los Angeles. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, my alma mater, and the founding chair of the Section on International Migration of the American Sociological Association, and a member of the Committee on Population in the National Academy of Sciences. He received his bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis, a master's degree from San Diego State University, and a master's and doctoral degree from Brandeis University. I am pleased to next welcome Donald Kerwin, the executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc, or CLINIC, since 1993. CLINIC, a public interest legal corporation and a subsidiary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, supports a national network of 161 charitable legal programs for immigrants, from more than 260 locations across the Nation. Prior to his work at CLINIC, Mr. Kerwin practiced law as an associate with the Washington law firm of Patton Boggs. He serves as an advisor to the conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, a member of the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration, and a fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. He earned his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the minority's witness, Dr. John Fonte, the Director of the Center for American Common Culture and Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute here in Washington. In addition to his work at the Hudson Institute, Dr. Fonte has worked as a senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Education and a program administrator at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in world history from the University of Chicago. Each of you has written statements, which I have read with great interest, and they will all be made part of the record in their entirety. I would ask that each of you summarize your testimony in 5 minutes or less, and to stay within that time you can see there is a little machine on the desk. When the light turns yellow, it means that you have 1 minute. And when it turns red--this always surprises witnesses because the time flies--it means that 5 minutes are actually up, and we would ask that you summarize your last sentence so that we can hear from all the witnesses and then also get to questions. So if we would begin, Dr. Gerstle? TESTIMONY OF GARY GERSTLE, Ph.D., PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY Mr. Gerstle. I wish to thank you for the invitation to appear before your Committee today. Since its founding, the United States has arguably integrated more immigrants, both in absolute and relative terms, than any other nation. In the years between the 1820's and 1920's, an estimated 35 million immigrants came to the United States. Approximately 40 million to 50 million more came between the 1920's and the 2000's, with most of those coming after 1965. The immigrants who came in the first wave are thought to have been enormously successful in integrating themselves into American society. We are here today because many Americans doubt the ability or willingness of the immigrants of the second wave, especially those who have come since 1965, to replicate the success of that earlier wave. I am here to offer you the benefit of my historical knowledge regarding these earlier immigrants and to draw conclusions about what their experience means for today's immigrants. My main points are as follows. First, that the integration process of earlier immigrants, especially the 20-plus million who came from Eastern and Southern Europe in the years from 1880 to 1920, has been mythologized as quick, easy, and unproblematic. In fact, these immigrants were widely regarded then as many immigrants are regarded today, as radically different in culture and values from Americans and as lacking the desire and ability to integrate themselves into American society. Their integration would ultimately be an outstanding success, but it took about 50 years. It required a generational transition in these immigrant communities, and engagement on the part of these immigrants with American democracy, and an opportunity for them to achieve economic security for themselves and their families. My second point: are there too many immigrants present in American society today even to contemplate a successful campaign to integrate them all? My answer to that is no. Immigrant density was greater 100 years ago than it is today. Twenty-four million came into a society in 1900 that numbered only 76 million people. To match that immigrant density today, we would have to admit four times as many immigrants a year and sustain that for a decade.\1\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ In a May 22, 2007, letter to the Honorable Steve King, Gary Gerstle revised his prediction for how many immigrants would have to be admitted a year for the next decade in order for the immigrant density of the early 21st century to match the immigrant density of the early 20th century. Gerstle said the correct number is one million. The rationale for the revision was presented in substantial detail in the letter of May 22, 2007, a copy of which was filed with the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, Chairwoman. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Third point: there is greater diversity culturally and economically among today's immigrants than those who came 100 years ago. However, for the majority of today's immigrants who are poor and non-White, the distance of their values and cultural traditions from mainstream America is no greater than what separated native-born Americans and immigrants 100 years ago. That we integrated the last wave should give us confidence that we can integrate this wave, too. Fourth point: that confidence must be grounded in a realistic and robust sense of what successful immigrant incorporation requires. Immigrant incorporation requires two generations in time and a generational transition within immigrant families and communities during that time so that the power of the first generation recedes and the power of the second generation comes to the fore. Successful immigrant integration also requires immigrant engagement with American democracy, becoming citizens and active participants in American politics. And it also requires the achievement of economic security. The institutions that were once so important in the early 20th century in bringing immigrants into politics and aiding their quest for economic security--political parties and the labor movement-- are no longer as well positioned to continue performing that role. Either these institutions must find ways to broaden their involvement with immigrants, or other institutions such as the Catholic Church must step forward to take their place. Fifth point, and my final point, engaging immigrants in American democracy and broadening the access of the immigrant poor to economic opportunity and security will, in the short term, yield as much contention as it will yield comity. But if done right, it will work to bind together the foreign-born and immigrant-born into one American Nation and demonstrate yet again the remarkable ability of America to take in people from very different parts of the world, to make them into Americans, and in the process to reinvigorate the power of American ideals and the promise of American life for all who have had the good fortune to make themselves a home on U.S. soil. We should try to make this happen again. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Mr. Gerstle follows:] Prepared Statement of Gary Gerstle
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you very much, Doctor. Dr. Rumbaut? TESTIMONY OF RUBEN G. RUMBAUT, Ph.D., PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE Mr. Rumbaut. Chairwoman Lofgren, Chairman Conyers, Ranking Member King and Members of the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration Subcommittee, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear at this hearing. I could never have imagined when I arrived in this country on the eve of my 12th birthday, speaking no English at all, that one day 46 years later I would be speaking to a congressional Committee, in English, about the fate of immigrant languages in the U.S. and of immigrants' acquisition of English. But life, like history, is full of surprises and often unfolds like a telenovela on a Spanish-language T.V. channel in L.A. I use that metaphor deliberately because two summers ago, in the Nielsen ratings of the 10-most-watched T.V. programs in the huge television market of greater Los Angeles, where I live and work, nine of the top 10 prime time programs were telenovelas, broadcast in Spanish, by KMEX, the Univision channel. It was ``La Madrastra'' Tuesday, ``La Madrastra'' Wednesday, ``La Madrastra'' Monday, ``Apuesta Por Un Amor'' Tuesday, and number nine was ``CSI'', and then ``La Madrastra'' Friday, which, you know, came in last. Such anecdotes would seem to support the concerns that have been expressed by some that immigrant integration today, and especially their linguistic assimilation, in areas of geographic concentration is being slowed or even reversed to the point of threatening the predominance of English in the United States, above all, among Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, most notably Mexicans in Southern California and Cubans in South Florida. However, as the evidence from the census itself, from the American Community Survey that was just cited by Chairwoman Lofgren, and from every major national and regional study shows, compellingly and incontrovertibly, including cross- sectional and longitudinal surveys carried out in Los Angeles and San Diego and Miami, the process of linguistic assimilation to English today is occurring perhaps more quickly than ever in U.S. history. I have summarized that evidence in detail in my written statement, including an analysis of the determinants of English fluency, et cetera, so I need not repeat it here, except to highlight a few main points. First, the evidence documents a pattern of very rapid language transition from the first to the second and third generations, a switch to English that is completed before the third generation for most immigrant groups, and by or before the third generation even for those of Mexican origin in Los Angeles and of Cuban origin in Miami. The power of assimilative forces is nowhere clearer than in the linguistic switch across the generations. But in addition to that, secondly, longitudinal studies, such as our own Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, which have followed a large sample of children of immigrants representing 77 different nationalities for more than 10 years in San Diego and Miami have documented the extraordinarily rapid switch to English in degrees of proficiency, preference and use for all groups. Tables 6 and 7 in my written statement have specific information in that regard. But just to give you a taste of it, by early adulthood, by their mid-20's, over 93 percent of the Mexicans in San Diego and 98 percent of the Cubans in Miami preferred English over Spanish. And for some of the other groups, it was 100 percent. And third, we carried out an analysis of what we call linguistic life expectancies for all the main immigrant groups concentrated in Southern California from San Diego on the Mexican border to Los Angeles and demonstrated the generational point at which language death occurs. Even for Mexican Spanish in Los Angeles, one of the largest Spanish-speaking cities in the world, where the adult immigrant parents may be watching ``La Madrastra'' on T.V. in one room, but their kids are watching ``CSI'' and ``American Idol'' in the room next door in English. Indeed, the parents may talk to them in Spanish but they will answer back in English. Additional point: English proficiency has always been a key to socioeconomic mobility for immigrants and to their full participation in their adopted society. The last person you need to tell that to is an immigrant, who came to the United States precisely with that in mind. Today is no different in that respect. In fact, the United States has been described as a language graveyard because of its historical ability to absorb millions of immigrants, as Professor Gerstle mentioned, and to extinguish their mother tongues within a few generations. And Spanish appears to offer no threat to this reputation, unfortunately. English has never been seriously threatened as the dominant language of the United States. And with nearly 250 million English monolinguals in the U.S. today, it is certainly not threatened today, not even in Southern California. For that matter, English has become firmly established throughout the world as the premier international language of commerce, diplomacy, education, journalism, technology, the Internet, and mass culture. Ms. Lofgren. Dr. Rumbaut, your light is on. If you could wrap up, that would be---- Mr. Rumbaut. What is endangered instead is the survivability of the non-English languages that immigrants bring with them to the United States, and whether the loss of such assets is desirable or not is, of course, another matter. Thank you very much. [The prepared statement of Mr. Rumbaut follows:] Prepared Statement of Ruben G. Rumbaut
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you very much. Mr. Kerwin? TESTIMONY OF DONALD KERWIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC LEGAL IMMIGRATION NETWORK, INC. Mr. Kerwin. Madam Chairwoman, Chairman Conyers, distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on the importance of citizenship in immigrant integration. There are more than 11 million lawful permanent residents in the United States who are eligible or who will soon be eligible to apply for citizenship. As you know, citizenship confers important rights and responsibilities. It is a precondition for full membership in our society. In our experience, the naturalization process is also a focal point for a range of integration activities. These include English classes, citizenship classes, home ownership seminars, and provision of public health information. Earlier this year, my agency released a report titled ``A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan.'' The report is based on more than 100 interviews and the best thinking of an advisory group of 22 experts on this issue. It details the resources, partnerships, and commitments that would be necessary to achieve the following goals. First, to create a federally led citizenship initiative that could play a central role in what we hope will be an emerging national immigrant integration policy. Second, to increase naturalization numbers and rates so that more immigrants can contribute fully to our Nation. Third, to make the naturalization process more meaningful by deepening the knowledge and commitment of immigrants to our Nation's history, political institutions, and democratic ideals. Fourth, to increase opportunities for citizenship by expanding English-as-a-second-language and citizenship instruction. Fifth, to address barriers to citizenship like proposed fee increases and security clearances that can drag on for 3 years or 4 years. Sixth, to build stronger bonds between the native-born and naturalized. And seventh, to forge strong public-private partnerships in support of all of these goals. Our plan details how a wide range of stakeholders--faith communities; Federal, State and local government; business; labor; civic organizations and others--can promote citizenship. While it includes hundreds of recommendations, I have included just 13 key proposals in my written testimony. For example, we propose that charitable agencies expand their citizenship services, particularly by offering more group naturalization processing sessions. My agency now funds and supports naturalization sessions in 21 communities, a number that we hope to increase, some of those communities represented by you. Many other networks, like the New American Initiative in Illinois, have also mobilized to do this work. These sessions, at modest cost, allow large numbers of immigrants to apply to naturalize. They also help to prepare charitable agencies for the massive amounts of work they will need to assume if comprehensive immigration reform legislation is to pass and be successful. We also recommend that the Office of Citizenship be funded sufficiently so that it can coordinate a national citizenship program and can support the work of community-based organizations. Federal leadership and coordination will be essential to a national citizenship drive. The Office of Citizenship, which has a $3 million budget and does not currently have grant- making authority, needs to be strengthened if it is to play this role. We support increased funding for ESL and citizenship classes. Lack of proficiency in English and the shortage of such classes represent a major barrier to citizenship. In addition, federally funded ESL classes do not typically cover civics or citizenship issues. We also support the efforts of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to develop a more meaningful citizenship test, and we particularly support more meaningful preparation for this test. Of course, we also hope that the revised test does not preclude worthy immigrants from taking this important step. While immigration is a volatile issue, we have found broad and deep support for citizenship. We worry that the national debate over how many and what types of immigrants to accept may overshadow the many contributions that immigrants make to our Nation. We also worry that this debate may obscure our need to promote immigrant integration and attachment to our Nation's core principles. We believe that a national citizenship plan would represent a step in the right direction, and we pledge our gifts and resources to this important goal. We thank you for taking on this issue. [The prepared statement of Mr. Kerwin follows:] Prepared Statement of Donald Kerwin Madam Chairwoman and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, my name is Donald Kerwin and I am the Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on the role of citizenship in immigrant integration. CLINIC, a subsidiary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), supports a national network of 161 charitable legal programs for immigrants. These programs represent roughly 400,000 low-income immigrants each year, including lawful permanent residents who wish to become U.S. citizens. Over the last decade, CLINIC has directed programs that have assisted more than 80,000 immigrants to obtain citizenship. We now fund and support group naturalization processing events in 21 communities, including in communities represented by several Members on the Judiciary Committee. We hope to expand this number in the upcoming weeks. Earlier this year, CLINIC published a report titled A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan which can be found at http:// www.cliniclegal.org/DNP/citzplan.html. The report reflects extensive research, more than 100 interviews with immigration service and policy experts, and the best thinking of a 22-person advisory committee. It attempts to set forth the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to carry out a national citizenship plan. The report will form the basis of this testimony. citizenship and immigrant integration The strength and vitality of our nation will increasingly depend on the contributions of its 37 million foreign-born residents. We cannot afford to assume that the integration of a population of this magnitude and diversity will occur automatically or easily. As President Bush recognized in creating the Task Force on New Americans, integration will require sound policies, contributions from all the key sectors in society, and a coordinated strategy. Citizenship should play a central role in an immigrant integration strategy for four main reasons. First, citizenship represents a pre-condition to the full membership of immigrants in our nation. Its benefits include the right to vote and to hold public office, timely family reunification, and enhanced employment and educational opportunities. It allows immigrants to contribute more fully to the good of our nation. Second, the naturalization process represents a focal point for immigrant integration activities. Most importantly, it provides the occasion to educate immigrants on U.S. history, civic values and political institutions. This effort must go beyond preparing immigrants for the civics test. Naturalization--culminating in the oath of allegiance at the swearing-in ceremony--should lead immigrants to become better informed about the Constitution, fully committed to our democratic ideals, engaged in the political process, and represented in the political system. In a nation united by a common creed, this goal could not be more important. Citizenship programs also provide services as diverse as English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) instruction, citizenship classes, home-ownership seminars, and medical information. These activities contribute to greater proficiency in English, closer community ties, and integration into a wider circle of people and institutions. Third, a national citizenship plan would address an immense need. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 8.5 million U.S. residents were eligible to naturalize in 2005 based on their years as lawful permanent residents, with an additional 2.8 million soon to be eligible (Passel, 2007, pp. 7-8). A national citizenship initiative would benefit millions of immigrants and their families. Fourth, citizenship offers a unique opportunity for collaboration between different sectors of society. CLINIC developed A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan based on the input of experts with different competencies and perspectives. Although immigration can be a volatile issue, CLINIC has found wide and bi-partisan support for citizenship. Our plan details how key ``stakeholders''--government at all levels, schools, faith communities, business, labor unions, civic organizations, and others--can contribute to a coordinated citizenship program. Of course, these institutions have historically served as vehicles for immigrant integration. Immigrants also value citizenship. Fully 90 percent view citizenship as something ``necessary and practical'' or ``a dream come true'' (Farkas, Duffett and Johnson, 2003, p. 29). This should come as no surprise. The vast majority of immigrants want what most of the rest of us do in life: to pursue a livelihood, to support their families, to contribute to their nation, to live in security and to practice their faith. While naturalization rates and numbers have increased in recent years, only 53 percent of those admitted as lawful permanent residents 11 to 20 years ago have naturalized (Passel, 2007, p. 15). Any citizenship plan would need to address why millions fail to apply to naturalize when they become eligible. Lack of proficiency in English represents the most common reason. Fifty-five (55) percent of immigrants who are otherwise eligible to naturalize and 67 percent of those who will soon be eligible have limited English proficiency (Passel, 2007, p. 11). In many communities, waiting lists for English classes stretch several months. Yet these programs represent the only structured way for many low-income immigrants to learn English. Other barriers to citizenship include lack of knowledge about the legal requirements and benefits of naturalization, a paucity of professional assistance to guide immigrants through this process, the inability to afford the application fee (a problem that will increase if proposed fee increases go into effect), and application processing problems. As an example of the latter, FBI Director Mueller reported security delays of more than one year in 44,843 naturalization cases as of May 2006. While we support strong security clearance procedures, CLINIC's network of charitable programs handles many naturalization cases that have been pending for three and even four years. recommendations Despite the widely acknowledged benefits of citizenship, the United States does surprisingly little to promote the naturalization process. A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan calls for a national mobilization in support of citizenship, identifying the roles of government, immigrant service agencies, and other sectors of society. It describes a program that could serve as the linchpin of an emerging U.S. immigrant integration strategy. A few key recommendations follow. First, immigration service providers should significantly expand their naturalization work, offering group workshops and related services. These events should be sponsored and supervised by charitable organizations with immigration attorneys or with staff ``accredited'' by the Board of Immigration Appeals. In addition, they should use trained volunteers and follow stringent quality control standards for eligibility screening and application review. CLINIC and other immigrant-service networks have significantly increased their commitment to naturalization services in recent months, both as a good in itself and as a way to prepare to implement immigration reform legislation. These workshops require charitable programs to rent space, to conduct community outreach, to serve large numbers of people, and to recruit and train volunteers (including pro bono attorneys). This work anticipates what they will need to do in order to ensure the success of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Second, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS's) Office of Citizenship (OoC) should receive sufficient federal funding to coordinate a national citizenship program. At present, OoC's annual budget of roughly $3 million and its lack of grant-making authority significantly limit its activities. Similarly, USCIS should not be required to support its operations entirely on fee revenue. Adequate funding would allow USCIS to forego onerous fee increases that will deny access to citizenship to many immigrants. It would also help USCIS to reduce its backlogs, update its technology, and improve its customer services. USCIS should also be given greater access to fee-account revenue so that it can respond to sudden increases in applications. Third, charitable agencies need additional resources to expand their significant work in this area. Of course, this need will increase dramatically if comprehensive immigration reform legislation passes. Federal support should be provided to networks of direct service providers that are engaged in naturalization outreach, intake, application assistance, ESL classes, citizenship instruction, and test preparation. Non-profit organizations that are ``recognized'' by the Board of Immigration Appeals or supervised by an attorney should be the preferred anchors in local collaborative programs. Charitable service agencies, including those in CLINIC's network, stand ready to partner with the federal government on a national citizenship effort, as well as on implementation of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Fourth, the federal government should help to coordinate, increase, and sustain the citizenship work now being performed by others; it should not supplant existing efforts. State, local, philanthropic, and corporate interests should partner with the federal government--perhaps matching federal dollars--to expand naturalization services, including English language instruction. The Office of Citizenship should track funding from these sources and issue an annual report that publicizes the achievements of a national program. Fifth, a national citizenship program should bring together the leadership, resources, and talents of the nation's public and private sectors. It should also engage the native-born, naturalized, and future citizens in the program's design and implementation. A national program should ensure that lawful permanent residents enjoy access to citizenship, regardless of their socio-economic status or ethnic background. It should make a special effort to reach those who naturalize at the lowest rates. However, it should also assure that sufficient services be provided to those who can self-file and who need less information and assistance. Sixth, the Office of Citizenship's budget should come chiefly from public funds; its dependence on USCIS application fees should be reduced. The OoC should steer corporate and foundation funding to charitable agencies; it should not compete for sparse private funding. The OoC should hire community liaison officers for each USCIS district to coordinate local initiatives, to conduct outreach, to share successful program models, and otherwise to build partnerships with charitable agencies. Seventh, the Office of Citizenship should initiate a process to identify the research and demographic data that will be needed to conduct a national citizenship program. This data should be used to develop outreach strategies, to design media campaigns, to allocate funding, to build service capacity, to strengthen ESL and citizenship instruction, and to provide benchmarks and tools for evaluation. Similarly, immigration experts should convene a national citizenship conference to share new research, knowledge, program models, and best practices. It will be crucially important that any national citizenship program have a methodologically sound evaluation component. Program evaluation should document not only numbers of new citizens, but significant community interventions and steps contributing to citizenship. Protocols and controls should be developed to restrict government and grantee access to confidential information. Eighth, USCIS should explain naturalization eligibility requirements in its approval notice for lawful permanent residence. In addition, the USCIS should make the OoC's guide titled Welcome to the United States, A Guide for New Immigrants available to all immigrants and refugees. USCIS should notify immigrants when they become eligible to apply for citizenship. It should refer applicants that fail the citizenship test to ESL and citizenship courses. In addition, the Office of Citizenship should partner with charitable agencies and networks to provide outreach on citizenship to immigrant communities. Appropriate content should be developed by experts in media messaging and by immigration advocates. Outreach should highlight naturalization requirements, as well as the benefits, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship. Ninth, naturalization oath ceremonies should be the defining moment of the citizenship process and a key feature of a national citizenship program. USCIS should direct its district offices to offer same-day oath ceremonies if possible. The Office of Citizenship should expand its efforts to organize high-profile naturalization ceremonies, including those on days of national significance. Court- and USCIS- administered ceremonies should be open to the public and to service organizations. All oath ceremonies should conclude with voter registration. Local boards of election should oversee voter registration activities and encourage civic organizations to provide this service. Tenth, ESL and citizenship instruction should be expanded through adult basic education classes and community-based organizations. Classes should be available at different English language levels, including short-term, high-impact instruction for advanced students and long-term, tailored instruction for students with low literacy. Standards should be established for both professional and volunteer instructors. Instructors should refer legal questions to immigration attorneys or accredited non-attorneys. ESL and citizenship curricula should cover the naturalization test and interview, but include broader content that fosters an informed and engaged citizenry. Eleventh, USCIS should expand the availability of citizenship application fee waivers for low-income immigrants. It should liberalize its fee waiver policy, create a fee waiver application form to standardize the application process, explain the availability of waivers and the application process in its informational materials, establish an application filing discount for poor working families who wish to apply for citizenship together, and offer an option of paying the application fee in two installments. Twelfth, USCIS should continue its efforts--which it began in earnest in 2002--to develop a more meaningful citizenship test. The revised test should adhere to the current legal requirements for level of difficulty and use of discretion, include consequential material on U.S. history and civics presented at a basic English level, and be able to accommodate applicants with special needs. It should not adversely impact vulnerable applicants or those who are members of specific ethnic, national or language groups. Thirteenth, USCIS should train and monitor its officers to ensure proper implementation of the redesigned citizenship test. In addition, the Office of Citizenship should partner with nonprofit organizations to create: (1) a curriculum and study guide at basic and advanced English levels for use in preparing applicants for the citizenship test; (2) a teacher's guide; and (3) multi-modal citizenship promotion materials. It should also establish a clearinghouse of citizenship materials, fund training and technical assistance for ESL and citizenship teachers, and promote standards in citizenship education. conclusion These recommendations form the basis of the more detailed analysis provided in A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan. CLINIC's network is fully committed to the integration of our nation's immigrants and their families. A national citizenship plan would make an indispensable contribution to this goal. It would also serve our nation's interest. We thank you for your leadership on this issue and encourage you to move ahead on this important issue. work cited Jeffrey Chenoweth and Laura Burdick, A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Jan. 2007), available at http://www.cliniclegal.org/DNP/citzplan.html. Steve Farkas, Ann Duffett and Jean Johnson, Now That I'm Here: What America's Immigrants Have to Say about Life in the U.S. Today (Public Agenda, 2003), 29. Jeffrey Passel, Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization (Pew Hispanic Center, Mar. 28, 2007), 7-8, available at http:// pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=74). Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Kerwin. And Dr. Fonte? TESTIMONY OF JOHN FONTE, Ph.D., SENIOR FELLOW, HUDSON INSTITUTE Mr. Fonte. Thank you, Chairwoman Lofgren and Ranking Member King. What do we mean by integration? Let's start by using a more vigorous term, assimilation. There are different types of assimilation: linguistic, economic, civic, patriotic. Linguistic assimilation means the immigrant learns English. Economic assimilation means the immigrant does well materially. Civic integration means the immigrant is integrated into our political system, votes and has some involvement in civic affairs. These forms of assimilation are necessary but not sufficient. We were reminded again with the Fort Dix conspiracy that there are naturalized citizens, permanent residents and illegal immigrants living in our country who speak English, are gainfully employed and would like to kill as many Americans as possible. The type of assimilation that matters most is patriotic assimilation, political loyalty, and emotional attachment to the United States. This was accomplished in the days of Ellis Island because America's leaders, including Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Republican Theodore Roosevelt, believed that immigrants should be Americanized. They were self-confident leaders. They didn't use weasel words like ``integration.'' They talked openly about Americanization. July 4, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson declared National Americanization Day. The President and his cabinet addressed naturalization ceremonies around the Nation. The most powerful speech was delivered by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in which Brandeis declared Americanization meant that the newcomer should possess the national consciousness of an American. In the 1990's, the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan called for revival of Americanization and a new Americanization movement. Yesterday, I was at a conference where Henry Cisneros said the best term is ``Americanization.'' Unfortunately, for decades, we have implemented anti-Americanization policies-- multilingual ballots, bilingual education and Executive Order 13166. This hurts assimilation. Traditionally, the greatest indicator of assimilation is intermarriage between immigrants and the native-born. A major new study published in the American Sociological Review found a big decline in interethnic marriage. The author declared, ``These declines are a significant departure from past trends and reflect the growth in the immigrant population,'' in which Latinos are marrying Latinos, Asians marrying Latinos--and the paths are reversed, so the 1970's and 1980's and 1990's were reversed. The Pew Hispanic Survey found that 7 months after 9/11, only 34 percent of American citizens of Latino origin consider their primary identification as American first. On the other hand, 42 percent identified with their parents' country, Mexico, El Salvador, so on--24 percent, ethnic identity first. Professor Rumbaut's excellent work on the children of immigrants showed that after 4 years of American high school, self-identification with America and as hyphenated Americans went down. Identification with parents and birth country went up. An article in the Chicago Tribune Friday, April 6 about the person in charge of the New Americans Office is, I think, very revealing. The State official declared, ``The nation-state concept is changing, where you don't have to say I am Mexican or I am American. You can be a good Mexican citizen and a good American citizen, and it is not a conflict of interest. Sovereignty is flexible.'' Well, a very different view was given by the President of the United States 100 years ago in 1907. President Theodore Roosevelt said, ``If the immigrant comes here in good faith, assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on exact equality with everyone else. But this is predicated upon that person becoming an American and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. We have room for but one loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.'' So we are presented with two very different views of the oath of allegiance and what this means in the Chicago Tribune article of 2007 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. We will have to choose. What should we do today? Well, it makes no sense to enact comprehensive immigration reform which means a slow-motion amnesty, a massive increase in low-skilled immigration, further exacerbating our assimilation problem. What we need first is comprehensive assimilation reform for those immigrants who are here legally. One, first we should dismantle the anti-assimilation regime of foreign language ballots, voting in foreign countries by dual nationals, bilingual education and Executive Order 13166. Second, we should follow Barbara Jordan and Henry Cisneros's lead and call for Americanization, not integration. Third, we should enforce the oath of allegiance. I have six or seven points. They are in the written statement. I can take questions on that. We need comprehensive assimilation reform first. Comprehensive immigration reform is not comprehensive. That is the problem. It is basically not comprehensive. It doesn't deal with assimilation. Comprehensive immigration reform is primarily about the special interest needs of particular businesses, not the interests of the American people as a whole. It ignores assimilation and puts the market over the Nation. But Americans must remember, we are a Nation of citizens before we are a market of consumers. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Fonte follows:] Prepared Statement of John Fonte
-------- *Mr. Fonte's statement records the date of the ``Chicago Tribune article'' as appearing on April 7. The correct date that the article appeared is April 6.
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Dr. Fonte. We will now begin questioning by Members of the Committee, and I will start off. We have just 5 minutes apiece. I would like to ask Dr. Rumbaut" Dr. Fonte just mentioned you and a study that you did about the affiliation of teenagers and their loyalty to the United States. Have you done any additional longitudinal studies on that subject? Mr. Rumbaut. Yes. Dr. Fonte was referring to data from the second wave of interviews from our CILS study, which were published in a book called Legacies that he was referring to. We have continued to follow that sample of thousands of young people into their mid-20's, and we have continued to ask questions about language, about identity, about some of the issues that he has been talking about. I would make a couple of comments in response to that. First, when you ask young people when they are 17 years old and 18 years ago what their identity is, and they are in high school and so on, their sense of self, their self definitions, their identities and so on reflect the context of an adolescent culture in high school, their peers and so on. In the United States, that is heavily weighted to racial notions of racial identities which are made in the USA. A lot of kids are using the national origin of their parents as a response to what their racial identity is, and they are not talking really about national identity or patriotic identities, but how they fit in the particular subculture of the high school where they happen to be at. Ms. Lofgren. Does that change after graduation? Mr. Rumbaut. It changes. By their mid-20's, we saw a complete reversal back to patterns that had been seen at the time one baseline survey, so that dissipates. Second, some of the most striking responses to a national identity that we observed in 1995, which is what Dr. Fonte was referring to, was among Mexicans in Southern California. We went into the field immediately after the passage of Prop 187 in California and it was in reaction to that, what we call reactive ethnicity, that an assertion of a national identity as Mexican was made even by U.S.-born Mexican- Americans because of perceived discrimination and prejudice against their nationality as a whole. That again dissipates. When we asked the same question to Mexicans in Florida at the same time that Prop 187 was passed in California, we saw an assimilative pattern among Mexicans in Florida, but we didn't see that among those that were responding to conditions of discrimination and prejudice. So a lot of what this debate about identities entails is a response to what the larger context in which they are assimilating--it is composed of. Assimilation has never been about simply individual acculturation on the part of an immigrant. It has always entailed an absence of prejudice and discrimination on the part of the whole society. It takes two to assimilate. It takes two to tango. It was Robert Park 100 years ago, one of the leading sociologists of assimilation in the country at the University of Chicago at the time, who said that the most acculturated American at the time was the American Negro. He said the American Negro is an English-only-speaking Protestant. And yet, he was the least assimilated in this society---- Ms. Lofgren. Because of discrimination. Mr. Rumbaut [continuing]. Not because of a lack of acculturation but because of the caste restrictions that were imposed on him by the host country. Ms. Lofgren. I found your study on language absolutely fascinating, because it matches so much what I find at home, where my colleagues who are second generation are pulling their hair out because their kids are monolingual English and cannot speak to their grandparents. And you really identified the death of foreign languages in the United States, which I think adds some other issues that-- it would be nice if we had more people who could speak another language. But do you see any chance that English will stop being the common language of the United States from your studies? Mr. Rumbaut. Absolutely not. In fact, you talk about what you see at home. My wife, who is of Mexican origin, and I have been trying to raise a bilingual child. If there is anyone committed to bilingualism in the United States and sees the benefits of it, it is me. It was my wife and me against Michigan. And now we moved to Southern California and we thought he would be in a context where he is bilingual. We talk to him in Spanish, and he answers only in English. Ms. Lofgren. Right. My time is almost up. I would like to ask Dr. Gerstle, is there a preset number where America should say, ``We can't accept any more immigrants because they would not become American because there are too many of them,'' in your judgment? Mr. Gerstle. I don't think there is a preset number. I made the point in my statement today and in the longer statement that immigration density was far greater 100 years ago than it is today. Ms. Lofgren. My time has expired, and I am going to try and be good about that. Mr. King? Mr. King. Thank you, Madam Chair. First, I would note that although when the process kicked off some time yesterday afternoon, by the time the testimony reached me, the chickens had gone to roost, so I didn't have an opportunity to read thoroughly through all the testimony. I have scanned most of it. Dr. Rumbaut, I understand that you have a lot of material here, and I appreciate that input, and hopefully I can review it after this hearing. I would like to turn first to Dr. Gerstle and your statement about the numbers of immigrants and the percentage and the concentration. If I recall, and I do, the U.S. census reports, the first ones we got on immigration were in 1820, and you go to that year yourself when you tabulate those numbers. And I have done back to those PDF files and reviewed--and they are a little hard to see, but they are on the computer and you can find them on the Internet--and totaled those numbers from 1820 until the year 2000, which would be our last census. And there, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, we have 66.1 million immigrants in that number. That doesn't match up with the numbers in your testimony. Can you explain that discrepancy? Mr. Gerstle. Well, calculating the total number of immigrants who have come to this country turns out to be rather difficult because one has to account not only for those who came and stayed but for the very significant numbers who came and went home, so I think---- Mr. King. Where do your numbers come from, though, please? Mr. Gerstle. They come from the census materials. Mr. King. Then why don't we match? Mr. Gerstle. Well, because there are instances in the past where those who have come have sometimes gone home, and sometimes those who came have also gone unrecorded and have been undocumented. Mr. King. But do you use some other information to add to that number? Because when I look at those numbers, they are finite numbers, so I don't see any latitude there to expand that number or subtract from it. Mr. Gerstle. I can get those--I don't have that data with me today, but---- Mr. King. I would appreciate it if you would---- Mr. Gerstle [continuing]. I can get those for you. Mr. King [continuing]. For the benefit of this Committee. And then I look at today, we are 11 percent immigrants, and that includes 35 million, 12 million of which are counted as illegal. And a lot of us believe that number is greater. That takes us up to 11 percent. And if you go to the high water mark, the immigrant number concentration in the population is 14 percent roughly a century ago. So I am having trouble understanding the statement that we would have to multiply our current immigration number by a factor of four to meet the concentration level at the high water mark. Mr. Gerstle. Well, I was referring to those who are coming in annually at the height of that immigration period, where the numbers approached or exceeded a million a year. And a few years ago, the numbers coming into the United States were calculated to have reached that level. And that was advertised at the time as being the all-time high. My point there is those million a year coming into the United States now are coming into a society of approximately 300 million people. Mr. King. That would be the legal ones. Mr. Gerstle. Yes, whereas those coming in---- Mr. King. Excuse me, Dr. Gerstle. I do have to measure my time a little bit. But I appreciate your testimony and your answers. And I would like to turn, if I could, to Mr. Kerwin, and in your testimony, your statement here that there is a real concentrated interest in naturalization--and if I look at the naturalization numbers--I go back to 1970 of those--and according to the USCIS, they show that immigrants who were admitted prior to 1970 naturalized at a rate of 82 percent. Those from 1970 to 1979 naturalized at a rate of 66 percent, and from 1980 to 1989, 45 percent. You see the trend. From 1900 to the year 2000, it fell to 13 percent. So how can U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have a number that shows a dramatic decline over a period of 30 years from 82 percent to 13 percent--how can that comport with your statement that there is an interest in naturalization? Mr. Kerwin. Well, as I understand it, the most recent study by Pew Hispanic Center shows that there has actually been an increase in naturalization among lawful immigrants, legal permanent residents. It is not---- Mr. King. Would you allow there is a lot of room for improvement? Mr. Kerwin. Oh, absolutely. And that is the point of our study. And what we would like to do is we would like to take the entities that were involved and key in integrating immigrants in the past and get them together--the Federal Government, churches, charitable agencies, civic associations-- -- Mr. King. Let me say, if I might, Mr. Kerwin, you make a lot of good points in your testimony. Mr. Kerwin. Thank you. Mr. King. And I could take issue with some parts of it, but there are a lot of good points that I think we all need to review. And I would like to quickly, if I could, turn to Dr. Fonte, and you referenced intermarriage, and I would ask this question. The reduction in the amount of intermarriages that we have, interracial intermarriage--could that be--and what are your thoughts on it--being the result of the effects of multiculturalism that might tend to isolate young Americans in those ethnic enclaves rather than being further assimilated into the broader society where they would have contact with people of different areas of the society? Mr. Fonte. Yes, I think that is part of it, and the research from a Ohio State University professor said the main point was we are bringing in large numbers of unskilled immigrants with low education, and people usually marry within their group in this particular category, so Latinos are marrying Latinos, and Asians are marrying Asians. So this is a complete reversal in the 1990's from what we saw in the 1970's and 1980's. So it has something to do with numbers, and as you suggest, large numbers of unskilled folks are marrying each other. Mr. King. Thank you, Dr. Fonte. I would yield back. Thank you, Madam Chair. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. The Chairman of the full Committee, Mr. Conyers, is recognized. Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Madam Chair. This is a great discussion we are having. And if we could only find a way to get around the 5-minute rule, because there is so much. I have been looking very carefully, Dr. Fonte, to find something that you and I agree upon. We have got to have a starting point here. And I may have it when you say that multiethnicity and ethnic subcultures have enriched America and have been part of our past since Colonial days. Now, that is a good starting point, isn't it? Mr. Fonte. We agree. Mr. Conyers. But the executive orders--intermarriage--it was against the law until 1967 when a Supreme Court case made it legal for couples to decide to cross the line. The Clinton executive order didn't bother me that much. But let's get to what seems to be the heart of the matter in a couple minutes. English-language-only laws--that is what seems to be bugging a lot of people in the Congress and outside, too. Now, would English-language-only laws help promote immigrants into Americanization? There, I used your term. Mr. Fonte. And Barbara Jordan's term. Mr. Conyers. Who wants to try that? Dr. Rumbaut? Mr. Rumbaut. I would argue that exactly the opposite would happen. Much as you saw with the instance of identity expressions and so on, the moment you try to coerce and to impose a rule on someone and tell them what you can and you cannot speak, you are going to engender a reaction to that. The best way to Americanize, in Barbara Jordan's sense, is to treat the process of assimilation or Americanization as a seduction. People will become American because they desire to. They don't become American or speak English because they are told to, or because they are required to. All that would do is end up driving a wedge in immigrant families, between parents and children, and it would end up creating far more unintended but serious problems than you are trying to achieve. Besides, there is no need for it when you look at the evidence that you have in front of you. There is no need to require people to speak a language when they are all moving toward it at historic speeds. Mr. Conyers. Dr. Gerstle, answer that, and talk with me about the impression I have had since the mid-1960's that innumerable swearing-in ceremonies of people becoming naturalized citizens--where the pride and the patriotism, the loyalty, the excitement, the dedication is so overpowering--I mean, you take that away, and then they have--in Detroit, you have--right outside the swearing-in ceremony, you can register to vote, right on the spot, as soon as you are given the oath. Talk to me about that and the previous question with the time I have left. Mr. Gerstle. I second what Dr. Rumbaut said. We are struggling with this issue in Nashville, Tennessee, now, where an English-only ordinance was put forward by the city council, attracted hundreds of people to meetings. It was ultimately passed by the council and then vetoed by the mayor--splits among Democrats and Republicans in that place. And I think the feeling was, and it is a feeling that I agree with, that it would be more of a barrier to integration and involving people in America than it would be a benefit. Historically, there were efforts in the 1920's to have English-only laws. There were efforts to banish private schools where any language was taught other than English. There was an effort to impose on public schools complete teaching of English every period of the day. The teaching of foreign languages was curtailed. Several of these were thrown out by the courts. It did have this effect. It did mobilize the immigrant community and made them realize the importance of participating in politics, naturalizing, engaging American democracy, learning it, participating in it. And that, I believe, is their most important school. Ms. Lofgren. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Goodlatte? Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I appreciate your holding this hearing. It is, I agree with the Chairman, very interesting. Dr. Gerstle, I was very interested in your testimony regarding the capacity of our country to assimilate. And I am not sure that I disagree with you, but I am very concerned that it is not happening. The evidence cited by the gentleman from Iowa regarding the dramatic downward trends of permanent residents applying for citizenship from 80 percent in the 1960's down to 13 percent in the last decade is very disturbing. What do you attribute that to? Why are we failing to assimilate? Mr. Gerstle. The first thing I would say is that this country went through a really tough period in the 1960's and 1970's, where all kinds of people became very anti-American, native-born and foreign-born alike. And this had to do with frustration over civil rights, a frustration over the Vietnam War. The origins of multiculturalism are as an anti-American creed--one's ethnicity, one's ethnic identity, is preferable to one's American identity. So I think the decline in loyalty and belief in America happened across the board, and it happened among immigrants and the native-born. Mr. Goodlatte. During that decade, 82 percent of permanent residents who became eligible for citizenship during that decade applied for citizenship. In the 1980's, when you didn't have that, it was dramatically down. In the 1990's, the so-called Clinton era, it was plummeting. And I don't know what it has been for the last decade, but those figures would seem to rebut, not support, your contention that---- Mr. Gerstle. Well, I would be very interested to see--I don't have them handy--what the figures are for the last couple years, and to see if they have ticked upward in that regard. A couple things are important. First, I think length of residence of time is very important in terms of naturalization. If we look at the historical period, we find very low rates of naturalization among European groups for very long periods of time. In fact, if you look at the census and naturalization figures in 1920, you would find only a quarter of many of these Eastern and Southern European populations having naturalized, and many of those people had been there 20 years or 25 years. The 1920's and 1930's are the big decades of naturalization. Mr. Goodlatte. All right. We will take a look at that. Let me ask you about another subject, dual citizenship. As you may know, the Supreme Court ruled a number of years ago that you couldn't deprive an individual of their citizenship in another country. They could maintain that even upon swearing allegiance to the United States. Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing? Does that help assimilation? Is it good that somebody is voting for elected officials in another country elsewhere in the world as well as participating in the United States? Mr. Gerstle. I think it is a worldwide phenomenon that most countries are moving toward this and reflects, I think, the degree to which people move around the world and are comfortable with that. I think it would be difficult to resist that. I would say that the most---- Mr. Goodlatte. Is it dual citizenship or is it no citizenship if effectively people are choosing in such low numbers to affiliate themselves with the United States? Mr. Gerstle. I don't think it is no citizenship. I think citizenship and integration--and I am very comfortable using the word Americanization. Assimilation is a more problematic term that maybe we can talk about later. But these happen through institutions and through the engagement of immigrants in the practice of American politics. If we find ways to do that, to bring them into American politics, give them a sense of a stake in the political system through their representatives, mobilize them in this way, that will lead to a deepening attachment to America and appreciation for this country's heritage of freedom. Mr. Goodlatte. I hope you are right. Let me ask Dr. Fonte, would an official English language be helpful in promoting that assimilation? Mr. Fonte. I think that that would be fine as a statement of E Pluribus Unum. I think there is no reason we shouldn't all be voting in English. That gives the signal that we are all in this together. It hurts the immigrant and the ethnic group if the immigrant is only following the election--you could do this-- following the foreign-language venue, but you wouldn't have a full range of the debates. You wouldn't have all the arguments out there. So it hurts the immigrant more than anyone else, I would think. Mr. Goodlatte. What about the issue of dual citizenship? Mr. Fonte. I think dual allegiance is a problem. If someone is voting and holding office, running for office in a foreign country--Felix Frankfurter, one of our great Supreme Court justices, says this shows allegiance to a foreign power incompatible with allegiance to the United States. Mr. Goodlatte. Could we retest that in the Supreme Court? Mr. Fonte. What we could do is pass legislation. Earl Warren, who favored this decision, said you couldn't lose your citizenship, but he said there could be laws against voting in a foreign country, serving in a foreign government. So it could be made simply against the law by legislation, and not--someone wouldn't lose their citizenship, but they are unlikely to do it if it is against the law. So measures could be taken. I think they should be taken, because this is going to be a major problem for us and in the past. We had a person elected to the Mexican Congress last--in 2004 who is an American citizen, and his loyalty now is obviously to the Mexican Congress. Ms. Lofgren. Dr. Fonte, if you could wrap up. Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. The gentleman's time is expired. The gentleman, Mr. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois? Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you very much. I want to thank all of the panel. I hope that the Ranking Member does find time to read Dr. Rumbaut's documentation that he sent before the Committee. I think it is very important that the one time that we do have somebody from the Latino community come before this Committee that we at least read the testimony that he or she has submitted, given that most of the ire and focus has been on the Latino community and Latino immigrants, as though they were the only immigrants to the United States of America, when, indeed, we know that 40 percent of the undocumented never crossed that border. They came here through a legal fashion--and that there are, indeed, millions of undocumented immigrants. We watched LegalizeTheIrish.org come here before the Congress, and the Polish community, and the Ukranian community, the Filipino community, from so many different other nations, enriching this great Nation. So I hope that we would take time. I would like to also say to Dr. Rumbaut, thank you so much for coming and giving the personal testimony, and I just want to share with you, the only reason my daughters speak Spanish is because we enrolled them in Spanish immersion classes from kindergarten to eighth grade. And I thank the public school system of Chicago for having those classes, because if it were up to me and my wife, who are bilingual but only speak English at home and rarely watch Univision or Telemundo--unless, of course, we want news that is relevant to our community in the evening, and we want to find out what really happened in our neighborhood and in our life-- well, we put them on. But this is the experience. I would hope that Members of the Committee would just take some time to visit immigrant communities and walk among the immigrant community, and they would find that if you want to pass English-only, that is fine. It is a waste of time, a waste of money, to enforce it, because obviously--my parents didn't come here as immigrants. They came here as migrants from Puerto Rico, but they were monolingual. They only spoke Spanish. And as we look at assimilation, I think we also have to look at segregation, the kind of society that we live in. The fact is I became more assimilated as I grew older, because economic and social possibilities were afforded to me that were not afforded to me as a youth. I grew up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. Most everyone I knew was Puerto Rican--my parents, my family, the church I went to on Sunday, where my parents worked almost every--I mean, that is part of American society. It is an unfortunate part of American society that segregation exists, but if we are going to deal with this ``assimilation,'' I think we should also look at the underlying bias and prejudice that sometimes raises its ugly head, unfortunately, in our great American society that stops people from becoming assimilated into American society. As you become older--well, my kids are now going to college. And my grandson--we are going to have a real big problem with the grandson. Unfortunately, it is going to be a tough battle. Mr. Rumbaut. As they say in Brooklyn, ``Fuggetaboutit.'' Mr. Gutierrez. ``Fuggetaboutit.'' We are going to have a tough problem. And I shared this with my colleagues on the other side to say fear not, my parents only spoke Spanish. I obviously have some English proficiency that has allowed me to come here to the Congress of the United States. It may not be as great as Members on the other side of the aisle, but I try each and every day. And my daughters--I assure you, we have spent an inordinate amount of money. I do it because I want to maintain that rich cultural history and linguistic history. But I also do it because I want to make sure the job opportunities and economic opportunities are available to them as things are posted in the newspaper, bilingual preferred, by a large American national corporation, so that American citizens can produce goods and distribute those goods throughout the world, and we can become a more prosperous Nation. People do buy goods because they are advertised in another language. And as Dr. Rumbaut knows, Univision isn't entirely owned by Latinos, much less Telemundo, which is owned by G.E. and NBC. I mean, so these corporations are not just Latino corporations. I would like to say to all of the witnesses thank you so much, and I would hope that we would simply read the literature, because instead of English-only, I wish we could all get together, because I could join my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Let's fund English classes. Let's fund them and let's open up centers, and you will find that they will be filled to capacity. People want to learn English in this country. They aren't given the ability to learn English, number one. Well, part of the reason is the segregation, and the other is access to educational opportunities. I thank the witnesses. And I want to thank the gentlelady from California, our Chairwoman, for putting this wonderful panel together. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Gohmert? Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. And I do appreciate my colleague's comments about English classes. You probably have a very good idea there. One of my closest friends in Tyler, Texas, said, you know, his parents, both of them, came from Mexico, and speaking English was a struggle, but they opened two restaurants that are two of our best in Tyler. And they made clear that their children were to learn English, that if they were going to reach their potential in this country they needed to speak good English. And they speak probably better than I. But it does seem that some well-meaning people encourage and want to allow people to continue to speak Spanish, which to me is almost a form of discrimination, because that would prevent individuals from reaching their potential. And my friend, Mr. Ramirez, at home has been a city councilman and a county commissioner, and that wouldn't have happened had he not spoken such excellent English and been able to communicate ideas so effectively. But I go back to some of those things that were said here, and I admire greatly, Dr. Rumbaut, your testimonial. My great- grandfather came over in the late 1700's, didn't speak English, but he did two things. He learned to speak English and he worked his tail off. And within 25 years, he built one of the nicest homes in Cuero, Texas. It is still there with a historic marker on it. I am curious, just as a hypothetical, if something tragic happened and all of us in this room were wiped out--although there are those that might say if I were wiped out it wouldn't be all that tragic, but for the rest it might be--this is being recorded. Dr. Rumbaut, where would you want your loved ones to have your remains placed, whether cremation or burial? Where would you want them to place you? You have moved around. You have seen the best of all kinds of places. What do you think? Mr. Rumbaut. I can tell you that my brother is here. I have a sister in Texas that has an urn containing the ashes of my father. And we are waiting for the politically appropriate moment in which, at his request, to take his ashes to Cienfuegos, which is a city in Cuba where he was born and where he first saw the sea, and so on. On the other hand, his name was Ruben Dario Rumbaut. My son is named Ruben Dario Rumbaut after my father. He was born in Michigan. He is a Detroit Pistons fan, a Detroit Red Wings fan. He is a Detroit Tigers fan. We are in Anaheim now, but he doesn't follow the Angels. He doesn't follow the Ducks. He is, ``The Red Wings, go, Red Wings,'' and so on. He knows that his grandfather came from Cuba and so on, but he would have no attachment to that whatsoever. He would not want to be buried there. If anything, he would want to go back to Detroit. We all form our own attachments in the context of our lives. There is no plot out there that says that immigrants want to go back and that they are fifth columns---- Mr. Gohmert. Okay, but I take it from your answer you hadn't made that decision yet yourself. And I appreciate the discussion of other individuals. Mr. Rumbaut. Unimportant. Mr. Gohmert. Where you would want---- Mr. Rumbaut. It is unimportant, what happens to me. What is important is what I do with my life. It is as I told Mr. Conyers, ``Aspire to inspire before you expire''---- Mr. Gohmert. Okay. So that is what you want your loved ones to know. If you go back to my question, it was--but you say it doesn't matter. Mr. Rumbaut. It will be in the United States. Mr. Gohmert. Okay. Well, there we go. We got to the answer eventually. Thank you. But you know, I appreciate--Dr. Gerstle, you had indicated about immigration in the last century or so--how many of the individuals back 100 years ago--I know my great-grandfather would be in this group. He put his stake down in Texas, and despite nearly all of his family being in Europe, he had no intention of going back there. Do you know how many in those days asked to be buried or had their remains sent back to their country of origin? Mr. Gerstle. No, I don't think we have that kind of data. In fact, it is tremendously hard simply to find out who went back and how many. We have historians looking at ship registers to find out when they came, and then other ship registers in the subsequent 5 years, 10 years, 15 years to find out when they went back. So it is incredibly hard to do that. Not every group who came here looked to go back. It is just among the majority of Eastern and Southern Europeans who came for the first 10 years or 15 years, probably a majority were thinking of going back. Some went back and some didn't make it. Mr. Gohmert. In conclusion, if I could--as a history major and a fan of history, I can't help but wonder--as nations throughout world history rose and fell, often they were becoming more fractured from more widespread de-assimilation. And I can't help but wonder if there weren't experts back in those days saying, ``It is not happening, and if it is, it is a good thing,'' so---- Ms. Lofgren. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentlelady from Texas? Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank the Chairwoman, and I certainly thank the indulgence of the Ranking Member. I thank the witnesses for their very thoughtful testimony. The lack of questions to any of you does not reflect the importance of your testimony. But this is a very emotional roller coaster that we are on. It is a chicken and egg, Dr. Rumbaut, frankly. If we don't have comprehensive immigration reform, we never get to where our colleagues are wanting us to go. Many of us have legislative initiatives that really speak to some of their concerns, if we could get out of the start gate. Our language in the Save America Comprehensive Immigration bill that I have, the STRIVE Act--all talk about--in the earned access to legalization talks about an English requirement, talks about--in particular, my bill talks about community service. And in fact, it has the word Americanization, words that we are not really running away from, and words that you are speaking to. So, first of all, I would like you to just say yes or no. These are elements that populations would not run away from if we had comprehensive immigration reform--that people are not running away from learning English. They are not running away from--if you wanted to do community service, our Chairman of the full Committee already said the first person that lost their life in Iraq was an undocumented person. When I traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan, and I see the array--the potpourri of faces that represent the United States that are American, I have never seen any diminishing of patriotism among those young Hispanic soldiers, young Asian soldiers, young African-American soldiers. So I guess just a yes or no, do you think the immigrant community, if a comprehensive immigration reform bill--would run away from the concept of English, Americanization, community service? Mr. Rumbaut. Absolutely not. Ms. Jackson Lee. And let me probe you a little bit more, because this is an important question. And I wish the honorable Barbara Jordan that preceded me some few years back was here to speak for herself, because one thing that I knew her as in life was a person who grew, who looked at the landscape and would not stand for denying due process or fairness to anyone. So she is not here to speak for herself, and the word ``Americanization'' and all of her language--I guess they don't remember the words in this Committee that said, ``We, the people,'' will not be denied constitutional rights. But moving forward, I raised teenagers. I raised them in an integrated high school, so call it, in Houston, Texas. There was the Latino-Hispanic table, the African-American table, the Caucasian table, the Asian table. And if anybody saw the movie Freedom Writers, that really captures what our young people are going through. And they achieve this identity. If you remember the Black Power movement, if you remember the movement where I was in in college, all of us were going back to Africa, and we were citizens, but we were all going back. We were going to the motherland. There is this emotional draw to your ethnicity. But I tell you, as somewhat of an adult over 21, the tragedy of 9/11--I didn't see one dry eye, no matter what color you were. I don't know why we are struggling and caught in the quagmire of people's identity, when identities give pride, are valuable for America. So could you just respond to this--I think you did talk about it--teenagers' identity? It is completely different from rejecting becoming Americanized, completely different. And if there are other panelists--Mr. Kerwin, you want to speak, too, and Dr. Fonte--completely different from this concept of never learning English and never becoming American. I will start with you, Dr. Rumbaut. Mr. Rumbaut. I would say very briefly---- Ms. Jackson Lee. Do you remember the Black Power movement and all of us--many of us of my culture going to the motherland? Mr. Rumbaut. I was marching---- Ms. Jackson Lee. We still do want to go. Mr. Rumbaut. I understand completely. I remember Barbara Jordan very, very well. You resemble her in many ways. And I would say simply, very briefly, that part of the problem is framing all these issues in either/or terms. There is no contradiction in being proud of one's heritage and being proud of one's roots, in wanting to go back to Africa at the time that you were--the golden days--and at the same time being an American citizen concerned with the best interests of this country and wanting to give it all, including, as you mentioned and as Chairman Conyers mentioned, even one's very life. There is simply no contradiction between the two, and we need to frame it in larger terms. So let me just stop there. I mean, I could say many other things, but there are other members of the panel who want to respond. Ms. Jackson Lee. Go ahead, Dr. Kerwin, please. Mr. Kerwin. Just to repeat, I think that it is absolutely true that the foreign-born want to learn English. The average wait for ESL classes by professionally credentialed people is now 6 months. Ms. Jackson Lee. It is a crisis. Mr. Kerwin. It is a crisis, yes. And I don't think people dispute the need for patriotic assimilation. You know, there may be some out there that do, but I think in general it is understood that that is necessary. It is also true what you say, that legal status is crucial to integration. There is no doubt about that. Ms. Lofgren. The gentlelady's time has expired. Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank you. Sorry, Dr. Fonte. Mr. Fonte. Was I supposed to speak, or---- Ms. Lofgren. Well, the gentlelady's time is expired. Mr. Fonte. Okay. Ms. Lofgren. But without objection, we will extend her time for 1 minute so Dr. Fonte can respond. Mr. Fonte. Okay. As I said to Chairman Conyers, we agree that ethnic subcultures have always been an important part of American life. But the key factor in immigration is when the new citizen takes the oath of allegiance--I absolutely and entirely renounce all allegiance to my foreign state or country, and so on. In other words, it is a political transfer of allegiance. Someone is transferring political allegiance from the birth nation to the United States. So that is either/or. You are either loyal to the United States, as Theodore Roosevelt said, and no other country. That is different from pride in ethnicity, which we all have. Ms. Jackson Lee. Reclaiming my time, just 1 minute, I have never seen the two mixed together, apples and oranges, taking the oath and a denial of your culture being--let me just say this--taking the oath and having to reject your culture and having your culture being non-patriotic. I don't think that makes sense at all. They take the oath and they still believe in singing the songs and understanding their culture. Believe me, they are still Americans. That is what America is---- Ms. Lofgren. The gentlelady's time has expired. The gentlelady from California? Ms. Sanchez. Thank you, Madam Chair. I do have questions, but I have a few comments first, because I have been listening very intently to the conversation and to your testimony. I want to tell you a story. It is about two immigrants that came from Mexico, probably would have been considered without skill, one who worked himself from a factory shop floor to being a successful small business owner, the other who raised seven children who all went to college and then, in her mid 40's, went back to school to get her GED, her A.A. and her B.A., her teaching credential, and still teaches today in the public school system. Of the seven children that they raised, all of them went to college, two of them are now serving in Congress, and we are the first women of any relation to serve in Congress. I am talking about my family and my parents here. So you can call it integration, or assimilation, or Americanization, or any other thing you want to call it, but it is an American success story that begins with immigrants. Dr. Fonte, I take great issue with your assertion that English-only laws with respect to elections are necessary. My mother, who came to this country and became a teacher--she is a public school teacher. She teaches other people's children English, sometimes finds it easier to understand the nuances of complex ballot initiatives if they are provided in the first language that she ever learned, Spanish. This does not mean she is not fluent in English, because she is, she teaches it. But she is a more informed voter sometimes when she receives those materials in her native language. So I don't think that takes anything away from her loyalty to this country, her love of this country, her desire to continue teaching English in this country. And I really, really take issue with the idea that if we make English-only laws for voting that that is somehow going to create a more informed citizen or a more desirous citizen for voting, because my mother already has that desire. Dr. Rumbaut, you mentioned telenovelas. I am a big fan of telenovelas. But even our telenovelas have been linguistically assimilated, because I used to watch ``Betty La Fea'' in Spanish, and we now have the English counterpart, ``Ugly Betty,'' which is a huge, successful show. In fact, America Ferrera, who stars in that telenovela, the U.S. version, won a Golden Globe for her performance. But I do want to get down to some of the questions. Professor Rumbaut, I know that you have been studying immigrant integration and linguistic assimilation for approximately 30 years. Based on your research, do you believe that there is a danger that English is going to stop being the common language of the United States? Is there a real threat of that? Mr. Rumbaut. No. Well, as I mentioned, no. If anything, English is the official language of the Milky Way Galaxy already. And its headquarters are right here in the United States, and with 250 million English monolinguals, it has absolutely nothing to worry about. However, as I mentioned, something that I think one might worry about is the fate of the immigrant languages that immigrants bring free of charge to the United States. This is a human capital asset in a global economy. It is a national asset. It is even a national security asset. The Iraq Study Group mentioned that only six out of 1,000 American embassy personnel in Iraq are fluent in Arabic. There is no contradiction in trying to be bilingual, and at the same time, as your mother, at being fluent in English. Ms. Sanchez. I understand that, and I think it is interesting that in this country we don't want bilingual education, yet we require 4 years of a foreign language in order to get into college. I think that is a contradiction that I have never quite been able to understand. I am interested in knowing a little bit more about how linguistic assimilation occurs. You mentioned that the way to encourage it is not to force somebody to speak in English only, but can you talk a little bit about linguistic assimilation? Mr. Rumbaut. Yes. Far and away, the number one determinant of becoming fluent in English and the acquisition of English fluency among immigrants is age at arrival. There is a biology and a neurology of language acquisition. That is why children pick it up so quickly. That is why if you learn it after puberty, you may be able to learn English, but not without a telltale accent. And the older you are at arrival, the thicker your accent. You will sound like Desi Arnaz, you know. So that alone will ensure the acquisition of English and speaking it and so on like a native. With the media, the pressure of peers and so on, that is going to take its way, and English is going to triumph no matter what. If you arrive here, as an elderly person, however, there is no way, no matter how interested you are in learning English, that you will be able to command it, let alone speak it like a native. Ms. Sanchez. May I ask the Chairwoman for unanimous consent for an additional 30 seconds to ask a very simple yes or no question? Ms. Lofgren. Without objection. Ms. Sanchez. Thank you. And, Professor Rumbaut, last question. Is there any reason to believe that the immigrants that we have seen of today--the last couple of decades--are any less desirous of learning English than were the immigrants of the 1920's and 1930's? Mr. Rumbaut. If anything, I would say that immigration is the sincerest form of flattery. Mr. Gerstle. Can I add something brief to that? I want to emphasize how important longitudinal studies are of the sort that Dr. Rumbaut is doing. If you look at a population at any point in time, it may appear to you that everyone is speaking Spanish or some other language. But if you break that population down for age and generation, you get a very different picture. In 1918 or 1915 or 1910, if you got an impression walking down the street of any major American city in the Northeast, Midwest or West Coast, you might be overwhelmed by the degree to which people did not seem to be able to speak English. But if you were to do the kind of longitudinal study that Dr. Rumbaut and his colleagues are doing for the present moment, you would see a similar kind of progress. Ms. Lofgren. The gentlelady's time has expired, and we will grant an additional 30 seconds so Dr. Fonte can---- Mr. Fonte. Just a word about 1918 and 1920. One thing we are forgetting is one of the reasons there was a great success in the immigration was there was a cutoff bill in 1924 that--I wouldn't have been for it; it kept my relatives literally out of the country. But there was an immigration cutoff bill in 1924, so we basically had a pause from 1924 to 1965. We had low numbers of immigration that certainly helped the Americanization and assimilation process. Ms. Lofgren. Mr. Ellison? Mr. Ellison. Thank you, Madam Chair. My question, Dr. Fonte, is this. What year was the highest year of immigration in American recorded history? It is not a trick question. Mr. Fonte. It was around, I think, the early 20th century. Mr. Ellison. And in that year, what percentage of people living in America spoke a language other than English as their first language? Mr. Fonte. There was a very large percentage who did not speak English. Mr. Ellison. And America did okay, didn't it? Mr. Fonte. Did okay, yes. I just said the immigration cutoff of 1924 had a lot to do with it. Mr. Ellison. Right. Well, I mean, what do you think about that, Dr. Rumbaut? Was 1924 a year that sort of saved Americanism due to immigration? Mr. Rumbaut. Well, in the first place, the 1924 laws were not fully implemented until 1929. That is when the market crashed. It was the Great Depression that was most responsible for not letting people come into this country. You can pass all sorts of immigration laws, and undocumented immigration might follow because of the demand by the American economy, et cetera. If the issue is about language, however, then the passing of a law in 1924 is not what determined whether Italian- Americans became fluent in English or not. What determined that, first and foremost, as I said, is age at arrival and generation. The second generation--at best, their Italian would be Italianish, like Spanglish. It would be that kind of a version. And the grandchildren of them, regardless of whether you passed a law or not, they would be speaking English only, because of the assimilative forces in American society with respect to language and the issue that I mentioned before about the biology of language acquisition, the schools, the pressure from peers, the media and all of that. Mr. Ellison. Dr. Gerstle? Mr. Gerstle. I agree with that. I think the cessation of immigration in 1924 in terms of the Eastern and Southern Europeans--it did not affect any peoples from the Western Hemisphere, so we should be very clear about that, who continued to come in large numbers, unless they were not allowed to come by other means. I think it was a factor only in terms of accelerating the transition demographically from the first to the second generation. And it also reminds us that the present day can never be precisely like the past. There are other elements of that history that are also different. The World War I army--even more importantly, the World War II army, which took 16 million young men and a few women out of their homes everywhere across America, put them together with each other in a way that was also probably important in terms of their Americanization and integration. My point is that we are unlikely to reproduce a 16-million- person conscription army in 2007, 2008 or 2009, but we have to think hard about those institutions that will perform the kind of service that these other institutions did 30 years, 40 years, 50 years ago. Mr. Ellison. You know, just an observation. I mean, part of what we seem to be debating today is what does it mean to be an American, and what impact does language have on that identity. And you know, I think that the fact that we have at least a chance to have those assets that Dr. Rumbaut talked about, which is the multiplicity of languages that people bring here when they immigrate, is--doesn't diminish American identity, and actually may add to it. And if American identity means anything, hopefully it means a respect for law, a respect for the first amendment to allow people to express themselves. So I mean, we are the only country that I know of that is bound together by a Constitution as opposed to long tradition, history, and culture. And maybe that is what we need to be focusing on, and maybe you don't need to speak English to do that. So, I mean, the founders of this country, did they say that we needed to speak English? And did they consider it? Dr. Rumbaut, do you know if Washington and Jefferson and Franklin thought about the need to have a national language? Mr. Rumbaut. Actually, Thomas Jefferson spoke fluent Spanish, and---- Mr. Fonte. I have written on this. The founders definitely support English and a common culture. They have written on it extensively. Mr. Ellison. Well, why didn't they put it in the Constitution? I mean, they could have but they didn't. Mr. Fonte. Yes, it wasn't necessary to put it in the Constitution. Mr. Ellison. Well, why not? I mean, they knew that---- Mr. Fonte. They wanted a minimal constitution, limited government. Mr. Ellison. But, Doctor, they put the things in there that needed to be there. Why didn't they put English? Would anybody else like to venture a view? No? Mr. Rumbaut. There is no need to do so. Mr. Ellison. Maybe they considered it and rejected it because they thought that English was not a sine qua non of American identity. Perhaps that is true. Mr. Gerstle. I think they also did feel, though, that the freedom of the new world would be so intoxicating that people would want to learn English. Mr. Fonte. Congressman King just quoted a letter from George Washington to John Adams in which he said he wants--the immigrants should be assimilated to our ways, our customs, our way of life, and we would become one people. Obviously, knowing English would be part of that. Mr. Ellison. They didn't put it in the Constitution. Ms. Lofgren. The gentleman's time has expired. And we have come to the conclusion of this hearing. I want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony today. And without objection, Members will have 5 legislative days to submit additional written questions to you, which we will forward. And we ask that you answer as promptly as you can so that we can make your answers part of the record. Without objection, the record will remain open for 5 legislative days for the submission of any other materials. You know, Dr. Rumbaut, you mentioned as you started your testimony, what a country, really, that you came here as a young man, never expecting to be a witness here before the Congress. Ms. Hong, the counsel for the Subcommittee, wrote me a little note saying she came as an immigrant at age 12, never dreaming that she would be the counsel to the Immigration Subcommittee in the United States Congress. So we have much to be proud of in our wonderful country, and your testimony has been very helpful to us today. I would like to extend an invitation to everyone here today to attend our next hearing on comprehensive immigration reform. We will have one tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. in this very same room during which we will explore the impacts of immigration on State and local communities. Then on Friday morning at 9 a.m., we will focus again on comprehensive immigration reform as it relates to the future of undocumented students and reform. With that, this hearing is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 11:10 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.] A P P E N D I X ---------- Material Submitted for the Hearing Record Letter from a Majority of the Minority Members of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law requesting a Minority day of hearing to the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
Letter from Gary Gerstle, Ph.D., Professor of History, Vanderbilt University to the Honorable Steve King, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law
Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Gary Gerstle, Ph.D., Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine
Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from John Fonte, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute