Will English Survive Immigrant Flood?

When the Census Bureau released its American Community Survey analyzing demographic trends among U.S. households last week, the Washington Post and the New York Times, the flagship newspapers of the Eastern liberal establishment, celebrated the news with front-page stories.

The Census Bureau’s data confirmed that the U.S. continues to be inundated by a flood of immigrants both legal and illegal (a distinction the bureau does not even make).

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The top-of-the-page headline in the Post said: “Area Immigrants Top 1 Million.” The Times’ front-page headline read: “New Data Shows Immigrants’ Growth and Reach.”

“Last year, one in five people in metropolitan Washington were immigrants, compared with one in six in 2000,” said the Post.

The Washington, D.C., area, the Post noted, is now one of eight U.S. metropolitan areas—with New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and Dallas—that have at least 1 million immigrants.

“[T]he rise in the immigrant household population since 2000 seems to indicate that the blazing pace of immigration seen throughout the 1990s has continued into the first half of this decade,” the New York Times reported.

Out in the Midwest, the Chicago Tribune focused attention on a different aspect of the Census Bureau’s survey: English is declining as the common language of the United States. Spanish is on the rise.

The Tribune’s front-page story, which reported that 30% of Chicago-area residents do not speak English at home, was headlined: “In more area homes, it’s Español.”

“For the Barraza family, life is conducted mostly in Spanish,” the Tribune reported. “The Elgin (Ill.) couple works together, cleaning newly built homes in the Aurora area, where they take orders from a Spanish-speaking supervisor. When they get home, they speak with their two school-age sons in Spanish. It is a situation that is increasingly common, as Spanish becomes the primary language spoken in a growing number of homes across the metropolitan area, according to new census data …

“With an influx of Spanish-language radio stations, cable channels and newspapers,” the Tribune reported, “marketers see a huge opportunity to tap into the fastest-growing segment of the population and one that accounts for virtually all of the area’s population gains.”

Deep in its own story on the Census survey, the Post reported that in Prince William County in suburban Virginia, enrollment in the local public school program for students who do not speak English has increased 274% in five years. Eighty percent of the students enrolled in the program speak Spanish.

Additional survey data published on the Census Bureau’s website reveal that the Chicago area and Prince William County are hardly alone in having large and growing populations of non-English-speaking—and especially Spanish speaking—residents.

In California, the nation’s largest state, 42.3% of the people do not speak English at home. More than 28% speak Spanish instead. One in five Californians told the Census Bureau they speak English “less than very well.”

Within California, the foreign-language speakers tend to be concentrated in certain communities. In the City of Los Angeles, 60.8% of the people do not speak English at home. More than 44% speak Spanish instead. And 31.3% say they speak English “less than very well.”

In the Orange County city of Santa Ana, 84.7% do not speak English at home. More than 75% speak Spanish instead, and 50.8% say they speak English “less than very well.”

On the other side of the continent, in Miami, Fla, 78.9% do not speak English at home, 69.8% speak Spanish instead, and 46.7% say they speak English “less than very well.”

Up North in Passaic, N.J., 72.7% of the people do not speak English at home, 62.9% speak Spanish instead, and 45.4% say they speak English “less than very well.”

America is headed toward a cultural catastrophe. Chronic non-enforcement of our immigration laws together with a multicultural ideology that seeks to make it easier for immigrants—and their children and grandchildren—to retain their native cultures, could strip this nation of a unifying, common language.

There is nothing, of course, wrong with the Spanish language, or with immigrants’ coming to the United States from Spanish-speaking regions of the world. But there is something profoundly wrong with a political elite that has been so lax in enforcing our borders that it may have established within the U.S. foreign-language enclaves large enough and concentrated enough to successfully resist assimilation.

The Census Bureau’s new American Community Survey demonstrates that if the melting pot is not broken beyond repair, it is severely cracked and bubbling over.

In the coming election cycles, enforcing U.S. borders and immigration laws and promoting public policies that resist the primacy of multiculturalism should be at the center of the national debate.

Percent of People Five Years and Over Who Speak a Language Other Than English at Home

1. California: 42.3%
2. New Mexico: 36.1%
3. Texas: 33.6%
4. New York: 28.2%
5. Arizona: 27.4%
5. New Jersey: 27.4%
7. Nevada: 26.2%
8. Florida: 25.4%
9. Hawaii: 24%
10. Illinois: 21.5%