An immigration think tank questions how California can assimilate when almost half of its population speaks a foreign language at home.
After poring over U.S. census data, the Center for Immigration Studies reports a record 65.5 million American residents speaks a language other than English at home. That amounts to 21.6 percent of the population, or more than one in five.
In the state of California, long known for its huge population of foreign nationalities, 44.6 percent of all residents speak a foreign language at home.
An estimated 14.99 million Latinos surpassed whites as the largest ethnic population in California in 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
Steven Camarota, director of research at CIS, tells OneNewsNow one reason so many California immigrants speak a foreign language is because there are so many of their fellow language speakers living there, which hinders assimilation.
"Because one of the ways assimilation works is that immigrants and their kids kind of get submerged in a sea of natives and their kids," he says. "But the level of immigration has been so high so long it changes that situation, so whole areas in effect become immigrant families."
The issue is mostly about legal immigration, says Camarota, in particular so-called "green card" holders. So it makes sense to take a "long, hard look" at allowing 1.1 million new legal immigrants into the country every year.
Camarota says the Cotton-Perdue Senate bill would address the issue, since the RAISE Act limits so-called "chain migration" that permits family members to come to the United States even if they lack job skills.
An op-ed praising the RAISE Act, published in August at The Hill website, says the RAISE Act scraps the current immigration system in favor of a points-based system that rewards points for education, English proficiency, and job skills.
The op-ed was written by Robert Law of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.