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New Hudson Study: America's Patriotic Assimilation System is Broken

Hudson Institute & John Fonte

Quantitative analysis of Harris Interactive Survey reveals that the patriotic assimilation of immigrants to American identity is weak and ambivalent.

WASHINGTON As Congress debates immigration reform legislation many argue that “our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.” In a new quantitative analysis of Harris Interactive survey data, Hudson Senior Fellow John Fonte and consultant Althea Nagai suggest that our patriotic assimilation system is also broken and needs to be fixed.

The authors have found that a large “patriotic gap” exists between native-born citizens and immigrant citizenson issues of patriotic attachment and civic knowledge. Despite what some may believe, native-born citizens have a much higher degree of patriotic attachment to the United States than naturalized citizens.

Below are some additional findings:

  • By 21 percentage points (65% to 44%), native-born citizens are more likely than naturalized immigrants to view America as “better” than other countries as opposed, to “no better, no worse.”
  • By about 30 points (85% to 54%), the native-born are more likely to consider themselves American citizens rather than “citizens of the world.“ 
  • By 30 points (67% to 37%), the native-born are more likely to believe that the U.S. Constitution is a higher legal authority for Americans than international law.
  • By roughly 31 points (81% to 50%), the native-born are more likely than immigrant citizens to believe that schools should focus on American citizenship rather than ethnic pride.
  • By 23 percentage points (82% to 59%), the native-born are more likely to believe that it is very important for the future of the American political system that all citizens understand English.
  • By roughly 15 points (77% to 62%), the native-born are more likely to believe that that there is a unique American culture that defines what it means to be an American. 
  • By 15 points (82% to 67%), the native-born are more likely than immigrant citizens to support an emphasis in schools on learning about the nation’s founding documents.

Click here to download the full report.

Hudson’s John Fonte is available to comment on this new report. He can be contacted at


Hudson Institute is a nonpartisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis promoting security, prosperity, and freedom.

For more information, please contact: James Bologna: 202-974-6456,

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