New York Times: "The Immigrant Advantage"

by Joseph McKeown


Immigrants born abroad who later acquire US citizenship have a distinct advantage as compared to native-born Americans, Anand Giridharadas writes, including higher earnings on average, higher rates of marriage and lower rates of divorce, more stable careers, and less instances of poverty. He notes:

What’s interesting about so many of America’s immigrants is how they manage to plug instincts cultivated in other places into the system here. Many are trained in their homelands to behave as though the state will do nothing for them, and in America they reap the advantages of being self-starters.

Mr. Giridharadas first observed this phenomenon when reporting for his book, The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, about the shooting of a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh, Raisuddin Bhuiyan, by Mark Stroman in a 9/11 revenge attack that killed two other immigrants and blinded Mr. Bhuiyan in one eye.

Mr. Bhuiyan realized that he was among the lucky Americans. Even after the attack, he was able to pick up and remake himself, climbing from that minimart to waiting tables at an Olive Garden to six-figure I.T. jobs. But Mr. Bhuiyan also saw the America that created Mr. Stroman, in which a battered working class was suffering from a dearth of work, community and hope, with many people failing to form strong bonds and filling the void with escapist chemicals, looping endlessly between prison and freedom.

The article is here.