I’ve had a good bit of time thinking about this topic and have come to the conclusion that the assimilation argument is a crock of crap. Let me explain:
First off, the whole idea of assimilating into a single homogeneous culture is a constructed illusion. Until the advent of mass media, mass culture there was no homogeneous ‘American’ culture. Culture varied by region, by city, by locality. One cannot also forget that Mexicans, the target of the assimilation argument, are also American even if that our not citizens of this country.
Second, the assimilation argument is only being used against Mexicans. This is because they are now the target of racist, xenophobic sentiments in this country. Sure, Muslims also get a bad rap, but they are still for the most part a distant threat while the Mexican menace is only a hop, skip and a jump over the border. If assimilation is so important then it would apply to all those within the boundaries of the United States. Are we going to force Puerto Rico to become more American and abandon their heritage? How about the Amish, they certainly have not assimilated into our society and base their community on resisting such assimilation. And lets not forget the Native American tribes which we have now allowed to act as separate nations within ours living under their own laws.
Once this ideal is applied equally to all immigrant groups, then I will accept the merits of the argument. Now however the argument that Mexicans refuse to assimilate is only a cover for a truly racist and xenophobic mentality.
Recommended Reading (not necessarily directly related to the topic):
Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940 by David E. Kyvig
The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction by Linda Gordon
Making a New Deal by Lizabeth Cohen