OPINION

No, Ms. Coulter: Latinos Are Not Lazy

Rick Sanchez on the assertion that later generations of Mexican immigrants lack the skills to thrive in U.S.

 

I like Ann Coulter. Yes, you read that right. I like Ann. She's smart, funny, well-spoken, engaging, entertaining, bombastic, sometimes maddening and usually controversial. And Ann likes to say things that elicit a reaction.

When someone says something controversial, we as a society usually have one of two extreme reactions: we tend to shy away and take offense or we become judgmental and make the person out to be a pariah.

If Rand Paul, a Tea Party Republican, can agree with senators on both sides of the aisle in supporting immigration reform, then it shows that we as a country are coming to a consensus on the need for reform and the way to get there.

- Rick Sanchez

But what we should be doing is using that controversy as the launching pad for a conversation — even if it's an uncomfortable one.

Ann likes being controversial. Even if you disagree with her, which I do on many issues, she is thought-provoking. And I would rather debate her ideas instead of merely condemning them or her.

Last week, Ann wrote a piece for WND.com titled, When did we vote to become Mexico? From the title, you can already see where this is going. In it, she says that we just have too many Latinos. Sounding more like an elderly grandfather talking wistfully about "the good ole days," Ann wonders why we can't have more white Europeans come here to balance things out. “Why can’t the country be more or less the ethnic composition it always was?” she asks.

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She charges Senators Rubio, McCain, McConnell and Graham with “working feverishly to turn the country into Mexico” and is against amnesty for the nation’s undocumented workers.
  
Ann goes on to state that “…[i]nnumerable studies have shown that Mexican first-generation immigrants work like maniacs – and then the second, third and fourth generations plunge headlong into the underclass.”
  
That’s where I have to disagree with her. Ann doesn’t cite these “innumerable studies.” She doesn’t even cite one of them.  
  
So let me cite some instead to respectfully counter her argument beginning with the fallacious argument that “lazy” second, third and fourth generation Latinos fail to assimilate and learn English as well or as fast as European immigrants did.  
 
According to the the study conducted by Douglass Massey at Princeton University, Latinos in America are assimilating at a rate equal to or above that of past immigrants. And their zeal to embrace the English language is equally impressive.   
 
Regarding assimilation, Massey found that second generation Hispanics begin to lose their ability to speak Spanish. Only 17 percent of third generation Hispanics can speak Spanish and by the fourth generation, only five percent speak any Spanish at all.

Regarding education, there are new and very impressive trends regarding young Hispanics released by Pew Research which show they are actually surpassing white non-Hispanics.
  
According to Pew, a record seven-in-ten (69 percent) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college, two percentage points higher than the rate (67 percent) among their white counterparts.  

The positive trends in Hispanic educational indicators also extend to high school where the most recent available data show that in 2011 only 14 percent of Hispanic 16 to 24-year-olds were high school dropouts, half the level of 2000 (28 percent).

Hence, Latino youth is doing better than the group they preceded, which further contradicts Ann's assertion.    

For these reasons, immigration reform not only makes sense but is a political and economic necessity. The “gang of eight” immigration bill is an important first step in fixing what is clearly a broken system.  

I’m not the only one who disagrees with Ann and thinks we need immigration reform. On Sunday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came out and said that he could get behind the “gang of eight” bill. On ABC’s "This Week," Paul said, “I do want to support a bill. I talked to the authors of it. If they’ll work with me on the amendment, there’s a very good chance that I could vote for it.”

Paul’s amendment would be that rather than a “new” pathway to citizenship, undocumented workers would get in the same line as everyone else. Paul stated, “As long as somebody who has a work visa is treated the same as a new person in Mexico City who wants to get in line tomorrow, I don't have a problem getting in the normal line. I just don't want to create a new line or give a new preference to people who are here undocumented. But I'm all in favor of allowing undocumented workers becoming documented workers.”

If Rand Paul, a Tea Party Republican, can agree with senators on both sides of the aisle in supporting immigration reform, then it shows that we as a country are coming to a consensus on the need for reform and the way to get there. And that’s a good thing.

Now, if only I could get Ann to see the light.

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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