PHOENIX (Reuters) - Latinos lag behind other immigrants in weaving themselves into the fabric of American society, according to a study released on Monday.
The report by the Migration Policy Institute said the nation’s Latinos generally are having a tougher time when compared to Asian, black and non-Hispanic white immigrants.
“Progress among the United States’ different immigration groups is highly uneven, however, Latinos are not faring as well,” author Tomas Jimenez wrote.
But the report makes clear that immigrant groups in general are doing “reasonably well” in integrating into American life.
The study found that first- and second-generation Latinos are more residentially segregated than Asians, and not as integrated socially and economically as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Latino citizens also were found to have relatively low voter registration numbers and voting rates, according to the report.
Immigration has become a hot button issue in recent years in the U.S., with Americans at odds over what to do with the estimated 11 million people already in this country illegally.
Frustrated with federal efforts, states such as Arizona have seized the initiative and tried to pass laws cracking down on illegal immigration.
But as a whole, the report says fears are unfounded that the nation’s estimated 38 million immigrants, legal and illegal, are not being integrated into American life.
It shows that immigrants are integrating “reasonably well” when evaluating language proficiency, socioeconomic attainment, political participation, where they live and social interaction with host communities.
In fact, the report says there is evidence that today’s immigrants are learning English faster than the last wave of people entering the U.S. at the start of the 20th century.
The report says the steady progress was attained with sparse government assistance, fueled by a strong labor market and the availability of high-quality education.
But authors say progress could be hampered by a weakened U.S. economy and inaction on the thorny issue of illegal immigration.
Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune