Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 99090859 (posted Sep. 8, 1999)"
September 8, 1999
Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071
To The Editor:
It is baffling that the editors of the Washington Post would permit such an uncritical article about a "study"
from a known anti-immigrant group to be published ("Immigrants' Growing
Role in U.S. Poverty Cited," September 2).
Here are some facts that were missing from the article: First,
while the study alleges that immigrants supposedly hurt the native-born, the
study also concedes that the poverty rate for native-born Americans has declined
while immigration has continued at a healthy pace. So where is the harm that
the immigrants were supposed to cause? The study's author would have a better
case if he could show native-born poverty rates are on the increase, but the
opposite is the case.
Second, the article did not contain the most important fact
of all: that poverty rates for immigrants decline significantly with time spent
in the United States. An analysis of 1996 Census data by the Cato Institute's
Stephen Moore shows that within 15 years of arrival a typical immigrant has
about the same poverty rate as natives and within approximately 20 years of
arrival an immigrant's poverty rate is actually lower than it is for the native-born.
Also within 20 years, more than 60 percent of immigrants own their own homes,
according to research by Gregory Rodriguez for the National Immigration Forum.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which produced the study,
was started by the organizers of the anti-immigrant group, the Federation for
American Immigration Reform. The Center's current executive director used to
work for that organization. The public and policy makers should be aware that
this misleading study was really designed to be just another attack on immigrants.
Palma R. Yanni
Member, Executive Committee