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Study: Immigrants embrace American values

Study: Immigrants embrace American values
A protester holds a sign as Chicago Police stand guard outside of the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement court building on May 15, 2012 in Chicago. The protest was held as part of weeklong demonstrations leading up to the NATO summit being held on May 20 and May 21 in Chicago. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

BOSTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Immigrants and their descendants embrace basic American values even as they celebrate and honor their own heritages, a U.S. researcher said.

Deborah Schildkraut, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, surveyed Americans' attitudes toward immigrants and the opinion of immigrants and ethnic minorities themselves.

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Her book "Americanism in the Twenty-First Century: Public Opinion in the Age of Immigration," was based on a 144-question telephone survey of 2,800 U.S. adults representing all demographics.

The majority of those surveyed were white, while 30 percent were black, Asian and Latino. Some survey questions were designed to measure how strongly different groups felt about being an American and the importance of being an American.

Schildkraut found respondents generally agreed that being identified as an American was a personal priority regardless of their background. They felt a strong sense of civic obligation, patriotism and trust and embraced basic American values of the love of freedom, the desire for economic advancement and the promise of the American dream.

She found a majority of white Americans are not anti-immigrant.

"It just feels that way because immigration's critics are the most organized, and they have people in positions of power who agree with them to help further their agendas," Schildkraut said in a statement.

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