Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Immigration in America

The Economist has a very good (and fairly long) piece on immigration in the United States. It’s quite interesting to read something positive about America for a change, though the article ends with a strong warning that the country must be careful to keep the borders open.

I especially liked this retort to the argument that today’s immigrants (especially Hispanics) are not “becoming American”:

As Mr Krikorian concedes, the fear that new immigrants are disagreeably different is not new. In 17th-century Massachusetts, one group of English Protestants (the Puritans) banished another group of English Protestants (the Quakers) and even hanged some of those who returned. Benjamin Franklin doubted that German immigrants would ever assimilate. “Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our settlements?” he asked, adding that they “will never adopt our Language or Customs”. Today, there are 50m German-Americans, hardly any of whom speak German. Indeed, they have intermingled and intermarried so much that they are barely noticeable as a separate group.

Reminds me of something I read about how quickly immigrants lose their language. As I remember it (looking for source now) it’s something like 1.5 generations until it’s gone (and the family is basically fully assimilated).

December 25, 2009