Hispanic Challenge? What We Know About Latino Immigration
Immigration is a crucial topic in American public policy, just as immigration is crucial to the United States. The genesis of this particular conference on Latino immigration, however, is Samuel P. Huntington’s recently published “The Hispanic Challenge,” which suggests that Latino immigrants are likely to destroy the United States as we know it.
The essays that follow indicate that Professor Huntington’s thesis is easily rebutted. As the panelists at a conference held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars agreed, it would be unfortunate to permit serious discussion about Latino immigration to focus on one article that relies on highly questionable scholarship. The larger questions raised by the fact of Latino immigration—or immigration from other nations— should be addressed nonetheless. What is the probable impact on this nation of a very large number of immigrants from nations with cultures that are markedly different and with different kinds of governmental systems? Should those immigrants be embraced as potential producers of enhanced diversity and excitement and wealth, or should they be regarded as highly problematic? If they are to be incorporated into the American polity and economy, what public policies would aid the process?
Any examination of the possible benefits and disadvantages of immigration to the United States should be put into the context of American history, which demonstrates that the current discussion has existed in one form or another since the country was founded.