Daily Archives: May 18, 2008

Pinoys Assimilate Faster

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

MAKATI CITY – Filipino immigrants have assimilated faster than other ethnic groups in the United States for the last 25 years according to “Measuring Immigrant Assimilation,” a study recently released by a New York-based think tank.

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research published findings of the report measuring immigrant assimilation based on census and other data to devise an assimilation index to measure the degree of similarity between the United States’ foreign-born and native-born populations.

“This is something unprecedented in US history,” reported author and Duke University Associate Professor of Public Policy Jacob Vigdor said, according to the Washington Post. “It shows that the nation’s capacity to assimilate new immigrants is strong.”

Filipino immigrants scored 49 out of 100 points on the assimilation index, well above the average 28 and falling second only to Canada which scored 53. Cuba followed with 43 points while immigrants from Korea and Vietnam scored 41.

The institute conducted research on immigrants from 10 countries where large numbers of them originate and the list includes China, India, Mexico, El Salvador and Dominican Republic.

It is said that the index provides the most detailed estimates to date of the assimilation levels of immigrant groups in the United States. Noted immigration scholar Stephan Thernstrom called the index, “an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the vital issue of immigrant assimilation.”

Assimilation Index

According to the institute, the index is a quantified measurement based on the comparison between foreign- and native-born people in three categories: economic, cultural, and civic factors.

The index included questions on civic factors, such as rates of US citizenship and service in the military; economic factors, such as earnings and rates of homeownership; and cultural factors, such as English ability and degree of intermarriage with US citizens. The higher the number on a 100-point index, the more an immigrant resembled a US citizen.

Immigrants from the Philippines, Canada, Cuba and Korea scored 100 points in the economic assimilation category. The economic index compares the labor force, educational attainment, and home ownership patterns of the foreign- and native-born.

For cultural assimilation, immigrants from Canada topped the poll with 100 points, with the Philippines and Vietnam following at 72 points, followed by El Salvador and Dominican Republic at 71. This was based on the ability to speak English, the number of marriages with those born in the US, the number of children, and marital status.

Immigrants from China, India, Korea and Vietnam showed a lower degree of cultural assimilation than Filipinos. Filipino immigrants are assimilating to the American society fairly quickly, ranking second in civic assimilation after Vietnamese immigrants.

The authors of the report said civic assimilation is to some extent an “even stronger indicator of immigrants’ intentions than cultural assimilation” as “the choice to become a naturalized citizen, or to serve in the United States military, shows a tangible dedication to this country.”

Immigrants from China, India, and Mexico showed relatively slow rate of assimilation, scoring below the average with 21, 16, and 13 points respectively.

The Mexicans, considered as the largest immigrant group in the United States today, is the least assimilated. This is a report finding that Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the institute found “striking”.

In his article “The Assimilation Factor,” Husock said, “But the most striking finding is much less positive. The current overall assimilation level for all immigrant groups combined, measured on a scale of zero to 100, is, at 28, lower now than it was during the great immigration wave of the early 20th century, when it never went below 32. What’s more, the immigrant group that is by far the largest is also the least assimilated. On the zero-to-100 scale, Mexicans — 11 million emigrated to America between 1980 and 2006 — score only 13.”

They do assimilate, according to Husock, but “it’s extremely slow”.


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Overseas Filipinos Remit $4B in Q1

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

MAKATI CITY – Overseas Filipinos sent a whopping $4 billion to their relatives in the Philippines during the first quarter of 2008, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) documents obtained by the Asian Journal.

Remittances coursed through banks climbed to $1.42 billion in March 2008, the highest monthly level recorded thus far.

The March 2008 inflows brought the first quarter level of remittances to $4.0 billion, higher by 13.2 percent than the year-ago level of US$3.5 billion.

Prior to March, remittances reached a high of $1.38 billion in December 2007 and 1.38 billion in October of the same year, bringing last year’s figures to $14.45 billion, a 13.23% increase from the $12.76 billion remitted in 2006.

“Remittances during the first three months of 2008 reflected the rising number of Filipino workers abroad, the shifts in skill composition as well as the growing efficiency of banks and other financial institutions as remittance channels,” the BSP statement said.

According to the BSP release, the number of deployed workers for the first three months continued to grow, with preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as of 24 March 2008 showing an expansion by 13.6 percent to 263,129 from 231,647 a year ago.

Classified by type of worker, the number of land-based workers grew by 11.7 percent during the three-month period to 200,398 while the number of sea-based workers rose by 20.1 percent to 62,731.

Overseas Filipinos’ remittances were also strengthened by additional tie-ups established by domestic banks and other local remittance companies with foreign financial institutions to promote a faster and more efficient delivery of remittances of overseas workers to their beneficiaries.

To date, the significant portion of remittances continued to come from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.



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Fit to Stand Trial?: Suspect in Murder of Filipino Hotel Worker to Undergo Evaluation

By Sunantha Mendoza-Quibilan/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The man accused of strangling to death a 46-year-old Filipino hotel worker two years ago is set to undergo a second evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial.

Jose A. Torres, 47, who is currently being held on a $1 million bond, turned himself in to authorities on June 30, 2006, hours after police found the body of his former girlfriend and co-worker stuffed in a locker in a small room at the Best Way Inn & Suites (now known as the Days Inn). Her hands and feet were tied with wire, and a wooden cross and flowers were at her feet.

One of the issues in this case has been the mental health of Torres who, upon confessing to the killing of Reynes, had asked for the death penalty. After being arrested, he was placed on suicide watch, and has been held at the Garner Correctional Institution, a Newtown facility for inmates with mental illnesses.

While Torres was found competent to stand trial by a team from the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in February 2007, an independent evaluation by psychiatrist Kenneth M. Selig initiated by Torres’ attorney revealed “differences.” “Competence” in legal terms means that a defendant is capable of understanding the proceedings and assisting his own defense.

“I am unable at this time to conclude that they [the findings of the mental health department] are wrong, but I remain convinced that he (Torres) is mentally retarded and may be incompetent,” Selig wrote in a letter to the court in March 2007.

He recommended that Torres take a neuropsychological test with a bilingual doctor, which is under way, and that Torres also undergo another competency evaluation.

The second evaluation was requested by defense lawyer Peter E. Scillieri, an attorney from the public defender’s office, on Wednesday during Torres’ appearance in New London Superior Court. Judge Susan B. Handy granted the request, with no objections from the prosecutor, Lawrence Tytla.

The victim, Reynes, was on a temporary work visa as an accountant, although her co-workers said she was in fact working in the hotel’s laundry. She had been living and working at the hotel since 2003 and was supporting a husband and two children in the Philippines at the time of her death.

The owners of the motel have paid a settlement to the family of Reynes, according to James Williams, the family’s attorney. A confidentiality agreement prohibits Williams from divulging specifics, but it appears that the settlement was negotiated before the family filed a lawsuit.

Williams said that he will continue to serve as the representative of Reynes’ family throughout Torres’ trial. “The family still has a very significant interest in making sure this thing is seen through and handled appropriately,” he said.“We want to see justice served.”


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