It's Time for Immigration Reform
News article after news article on immigration characterizes anyone who
opposes the current level of immigration as anti-immigrant. This is
biased and deceitful. It's like saying that anyone who doesn't want 10
or 12 children is anti-children. The truth is that many people are
pro-immigration but recognize that the present level of immigration is
unsustainable and will eventually be detrimental to Americans and
One often-used irrelevant argument is that we are a nation of
immigrants. While true, it does not shed light on the question of how
many immigrants should be admitted annually and what should be the
criteria for admission. To understand the issue, we must focus on the
numbers involved. Although the Census Bureau has not released the
number of immigrants for fiscal 1997, most analysts believe that at
least 1 million legal and between 300,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants
are entering the U.S. each year. This is about four times the number
who came to America annually during the 1950s and 1960s.
Even this does not put the issue in perspective, however. The crux of
the problem is the cumulative impact. At present rates of immigration,
the U.S. population will increase by up to 200 million persons in the
next 50 to 60 years. Even if all immigration were halted today--and few
persons are suggesting such a draconian policy--we will still add up to
80 million people due to the children and grandchildren from the wave
of immigrants that have entered the U.S. since 1970.
So what? Isn't this unending supply of cheap, compliant, hardworking
labor good for America? It is often said that America depends on
immigrants for its future prosperity. If this were true, then we are
indeed doomed as a nation, since it means that we are dependent on a
constantly growing population for economic success. Given the present
immigration trends, which will account for 70 to 80 percent of the
population growth in the next century, it is only a matter of time
before the population of the U.S. surpasses that of India and China.
Why would any nation want to implement such a disastrous policy?
The answer is that few Americans, especially politicians, look past the
next couple of years. It is sometimes suggested that if we find we are
overpopulated we can then cut back on immigration. But even if we
halted all immigration today, it would take at least 50 years before
U.S. population would level out. The reason is, of course, the
fertility rate of immigrants is far higher than that of...