Wall Street Journal (LTE)
By Prof. Robert D. Putnam
April 05, 2017
In support of his argument to limit immigration, Mr. Krikorian misleadingly cites my research on the consequences of immigration. In research published in 2007, I provided empirical evidence for three major points:
1. Increased immigration and diversity are not only inevitable, but over the long run they are also desirable. Ethnic diversity is, on balance, an important social asset, as the history of the U.S. demonstrates.
2. In the short to medium run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity challenge social solidarity and inhibit social capital.
3. In the medium to long run, on the other hand, successful immigrant societies like the U.S. create new forms of social solidarity and damp the negative effects of diversity by constructing new, more encompassing identities.
Mr. Krikorian deftly cherry-picks the middle point but entirely ignores the first and last because they are inconvenient for his policy recommendations. Mr. Krikorian is entitled to his own opinions, and he is entitled to cite or not to cite relevant scholarship, but he isn’t entitled to distort the findings of research that he chooses to cite.
In my 2007 article, I specifically warned against this danger: “It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity. It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.” Mr. Krikorian’s tendentious use of my research illustrates precisely how our civic culture, which he claims to value, is being undermined in today’s public dialogue.
Prof. Robert D. Putnam
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com