Shikha Dalmia on Immigrants and Hyphens

Hyphenated Americans are good for America



Many social conservatives have been raising the alarm about so-called transnational immigrants or hyphenated Americans not fully assimilating in America. Even Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, son of Indian parents, chimed in last week, telling a gathering of Indian-Americans to shed the Indian from their label. "My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans. If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India," Jindal declared.

But Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes that assimilability of immigrants isn't a new worry. It dates back at least to Ben Franklin who said that too many Palatine boors would mean that they'd "Germanize us rather than us Anglicizing them." What's new is the twist that transnational immigrants like her can't love America because they can keep their ties to their home countries in this age of quick travel and instant communication. But such worries were wrong then. And they are wrong now.