Hispanic immigrants are a lot like Irish immigrants who came to American in the 1800s, writes
Noah Smith. They are working-class folks fleeing poverty, seeking opportunity and eager to become Americans.
His "home state of Texas is now plurality Hispanic," he writes. The culture and politics haven't changed noticeably. "Texas Hispanics still lean toward the Dems, but they shifted strongly toward Trump in 2020, and Republicans in the state still reliably get 40% of the Hispanic vote."
Just as Protestant Americans feared the influx of Irish Catholics, modern conservatives worried that Hispanic immigrants will change the culture, overwhelm the welfare system and vote for Democrats.
"Until recently, some Democrats were vocal about their hope that immigration would deliver them a long-lasting electoral majority, and many still probably privately harbor the same hope," writes Smith.
But Hispanics seem to be following the path of the Irish: Assimilate, move up the economic ladder and achieve "political normalization," he writes. There's evidence they will not be "a racialized economic underclass forever."
Leaving out the brand-new arrivals, Hispanic and non-Hispanic incomes are converging, research has found.
"In a 2022 Noahpinion interview, economist Leah Boustan, author of the excellent book Streets of Gold, reported strong upward mobility even for the descendants of poor Mexican immigrants," Smith writes.
"Donald Trump’s Republican Party is decidedly more working class, and that has drawn especially Latino men," he writes.
"The top issue for Latinos is usually the economy," said University of Arizona political scientist Lisa M. Sanchez in a Q&A with UA News. "Research suggests that the Latino agenda looks a lot like the agendas of any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S."
“The Latino electorate is moving away from the aggrieved immigrant narrative favored by Democrats and toward an assimilating, working-class identity that mirrors its non-Latino counterparts,” wrote Mike Madrid in a December op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.