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Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Becoming Americans - U.S. Immigrant Integration

Hearing on 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Becoming Americans - US Immigrant Integration,' Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Serial No. 110-27

56 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2011 Last revised: 18 Jul 2011

Rubén G. Rumbaut

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology

Date Written: May 16, 2007

Abstract

In this statement to a House Hearing on comprehensive immigration reform focusing on immigrant integration, English and foreign language competencies, preferences and use among immigrants and their children in the United States are examined, based on both historical and contemporary census and survey data. The findings of key studies measuring inter-generational language change are summarized, including longitudinal and cross-generational analyses. Data are then presented from research measuring the “linguistic life expectancies” of immigrant languages in Southern California, the region of main immigrant settlement in the U.S. - that is, the generational point at which an immigrant language (Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese) effectively “dies” and is replaced by English language preference and use. Responses are also provided to these post-hearing questions posed by House members: “Is there such a thing as too much immigration? Legal immigration? Illegal immigration? How many immigrants are too many? Is there a limit to how many immigrants we can successfully assimilate? What are the criteria? What are the consequences if the wrong judgment is made about how many immigrants we can assimilate? How did previous generations of immigrants learn English without federal programs?”

Keywords: Immigration, assimilation, acculturation, English language acquisition, language change, linguistic life expectancies, immigration causes and consequences, immigration reform policies

Suggested Citation

Rumbaut, Rubén G., Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Becoming Americans - U.S. Immigrant Integration (May 16, 2007). Hearing on 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Becoming Americans - US Immigrant Integration,' Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Serial No. 110-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1883911

Rubén Rumbaut (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Sociology ( email )

3151 Social Sciences Plaza A
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

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