Hudson Institute report: America’s fault immigrants are not assimilating

Caroline May | Reporter

A new report from the conservative Hudson Institute concludes that America’s system of assimilation is broken and it is the country’s fault.

“A large ‘patriotic gap’ exists between native-born citizens and immigrant citizens on issues of patriotic attachment and civic knowledge. Despite what some may believe, native-born citizens have a much higher degree of patriotic attachment to the United States than naturalized citizens,” the report authored by Hudson’s John Fonte and consultant Althea Nagai reads.

The authors used a Harris Interactive survey of 2,421 randomly selected Americans, commissioned by the Bradley Foundation Project on American National Identity in 2007, to reach their conclusions.

The survey found that by a margin of 21 percent points (65 percent to 44 percent), native-born Americans were more likely than naturalized immigrants to seek America as “better” than other countries. By a margin of 30 percentage points (85 percent to 54 percent), native-born citizens were more likely to consider themselves American citizens rather than “”citizens of the world.”

By a margin of 30 percentage points (67 percent to 37 percent), native born citizens were more likely to consider the Constitution a higher legal authority for America than international law.

Additionally, the survey revealed native-born citizens were more likely to answer basic American history questions correctly.

The authors wrote that it is not the fault of naturalized citizens, but rather America’s fault for pushing a multicultural agenda that categorizes people.

“Instead of being welcomed as individual American citizens, newcomers are told that they belong to a particular racial-ethnic or linguistic group in America and will be treated accordingly,” Fonte and Nagai explained.

“They are initiated into ethnic-linguistic group consciousness and loyalties through federal government programs and actions such as bilingual and multicultural education, diversity training, multilingual voting, and the acceptance of such practices as permitting dual citizens to vote in foreign as well as American elections, which clearly raises questions of primary allegiance,” they wrote.

The authors recommended ending funding for multicultural and bilingual education, and instead encourage “patriotic assimilation.”

“One particular reason, however, strikes us as, at least partially responsible for this gap. American leaders have essentially altered our de-facto assimilation policy from Americanization (or patriotic integration) to a multiculturalism that emphasizes ethnic group consciousness at the expense of American common culture,” the authors wrote. “In short, we have sent immigrants the wrong message on assimilation. It is our fault, not theirs that this gap exists.”

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