Immigrant Doubts About Immigration

Though eclipsed in 2004’s elections by more urgent issues, immigration continues to be a vexed topic in this country. And native-born Americans aren’t the only ones with mixed feelings about it. In a survey conducted for NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, 56 percent of immigrants said that “on balance, recent immigration has been good for the country.” While this exceeds the number of non-immigrants who said so (25 percent), it’s hardly a landslide endorsement of the recent immigrant influx. (The data reflect the views of immigrants in general, not just recent arrivals.) Immigrants also have misgivings about their own lives here. As you can gather from the chart, many see a tradeoff between economic opportunity and other aspects of life. On the topic of “moral values,” 28 percent said they’re better here, 28 percent said they’re better in the old county, and 38 percent said it’s a wash. One striking number: Among immigrants who are U.S. citizens, 22 percent said they would like to move back to their country of origin someday.