Immigration Follies Since 1965: Serving The Nation's Interest?


The furor over the recent Arizona Immigration bill, which represents a minimalist attempt by the state of Arizona to address the festering problem of illegal immigration is instructive.  Rather than applaud Arizona's stand, the media and the left have attacked them viciously, threatening boycotts and hurling the standard "racist" and "Nazi" epithets.

But this is typical of our sophisticated friends on the left who have long ago abandoned honest, balanced debate in favor of simple demonization, which, perhaps, they find more effective.

Arizona, as a frontline state, faces a slew of problems related to illegal immigrants, probably more acutely than others further removed from the border.  These include increased crime rates, higher unemployment, and rising costs.  Illegal immigrants are a tremendous burden on schools, hospitals, and prisons.  After all, they consume resources and pay little or nothing in taxes.  They also strain many social programs such as Medicaid and food assistance, which are already on the verge of insolvency. 

Yet, all states, to greater or lesser extents, face the same problems, for all states, even those in the interior, have large numbers of illegal immigrants encumbering their public systems.  

But apart from the problems faced by Arizona and the country over the matter of illegal immigration, there is an even more fundamental issue that cries out to be examined that, for reasons of inconvenience (that is to say, upsetting the vast and powerful racial grievance infrastructure of multicultural America) has been utterly ignored. Indeed, to simply ask it is to invite the worst calumny and slander the left is capable of, which is saying a lot. 

The issue, of course, put plainly, is whether America is getting a good deal from its current immigration mix (and size), and, if not, what to do about it?  This question refers to both legal and illegal immigrants.

In 1960, non-Hispanic whites (let us now refer to them simply as "whites") accounted for 85% of the population.  In 2005, that number was 67%.  In 2050, it is projected, based on existing demographics, fertility rates, and immigration patterns, whites will be 47% of the population, at which time we will have a "majority/minority" country.

In 1970, there were 9.9 million Hispanics living in the US or 4.7% of the population.  In 2010, there are about 47.8 million or 15% of the population, making them the country's largest minority.  The (projected) Hispanic population will increase from 15% in 2010 to 30% (132 million) in 2050.

Illegal immigrants entering the country average about one million per year although with the recent economic downturn this number has decreased.  The number of illegal immigrants living in the US is estimated at about 13 million. 

Fifty-nine percent of illegals are Mexican (7 million), while another 24% come from other Latin American countries (mostly Central America), for a total of 83% of all illegal aliens being of Hispanic origin.  More than half of Mexican immigrants (55%) are undocumented. 

The number of Mexican migrants living in the US has grown 17 fold, from 760,000 in 1970 to 12.7 milion in 2008, or 8% per year, maintained over 35 years, driven mainly by illegal immigration. 

No other country in the world has as many total immigrants from all countries as the United States has immigrants from Mexico alone.  In 1960, Mexico was seventh in immigrants living in the US, behind Italy, Germany, Canada, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and Poland.

The Mexican-born population living in the US at 13 million means that 11% of Mexico's population of 111 million lives in the US, with less than 90% living in Mexico itself.  About 15 percent of Mexico's labor force is working in the United States. One in every 7 Mexican workers migrates to the United States.

To summarize: Of the estimated 13 million illegal aliens living in the US 60% are Mexican; another 24% are also Hispanic, mostly from Central America; 83% of all illegals are Hispanic.  Hispanics were 4.7% of the population in 1970, 15% in 2010, and are projected to be 30% in 2050.  Legal immigration to the US also shows a preponderance for Hispanics, especially Mexicans, with more than 20%. 

In 1965, the "Immigration and Nationality Act (the Hart-Cellar Act) removed quotas and emphasized family reunification.  Mexico has sent the largest number of immigrants for more than two decades.  Since 1998, China, India, and the Phillipines (along with Mexico) have been in the top four for new arrivals. 

Since 1965, family reunification was given higher priority than skills or market needs.  New immigrants arriving from non-traditional nations were able to sponsor so many family members that they quickly overwhelmed the skilled applicants from Europe who lacked family relations.  Not only was the post 1965 immigration levels much higher than was anticipated but much less skilled.

Average immigration levels before the 1965 Immigration Act took effect averaged 300,000 per year.  The number is now more than a million per year.  Supporters of the bill wanted to keep levels roughly the same, albeit shifted away from European ethnicities, yet managed to miss a significant loophole: immediate family members including brothers, sisters, and parents, and political refugees did not face quotas. 

"Family Reunification" became the primary consideration in determining eligibility, not merit or skills.  This led to a more than 300% increase in immigration numbers per year, often low skilled and poorly educated.  This "reform" has created the phenomenon of "chain migration," an influx of immigrants with generally fewer qualifications, based on family relations.

In 1986, the Immigration Control and Reform Act (IRCA, also known as "Simpson-Mazzoli"), granted amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens including more than 2 million Mexicans (who could now bring spouses, children, and other relatives, numbering in the millions).  While making it a crime to knowingly hire or recruit illegals and imposing penalties or sanctions on employers, the laws were never enforced, sanctions never imposed, and the border never secured (sounds familiar). 

The influx of illegals continued only in higher numbers, migrants realizing there would be no downside, penalty, or enforcement, and lured also by the hope of being "legalized" some day.  More than twenty years later, we are now encumbered by as many as 20 million illegals (the high estimate), bearing children on US soil (hence granted citizenship), accessing public programs, and paying little or no taxes.  Illegal immigrants today are also a far more vocal and radicalized bunch, with an ever growing sense of entitlement. 

The Immigration Act of 1990 increased the number of immigrants allowed into the US annually by 40%, from 500,000 to 700,000 and added 50,000 so called "diversity visas" a kind of visa lottery for immigrants from nations from which few were emigrating with no regard as to skill level or the needs of the country. 

"Diversity" now became, it seems, an official goal of immigration policy as if the US were not already the most diverse nation on earth.  The Act also continued to encourage immigration based on family reunification.

With the massive influx of Hispanics and particularly Mexicans entering the nation either through legal channels, or, more commonly, illegal ones, it is reasonable to ask whether this unprecedented demographic shift has been a benefit to the nation? 

Alex Alexiev, writing for National Review, examines the impact of Hispanic immigration (illegal and legal) on one of Arizona's bordering states, the former "golden" state of California.  Here are some of the findings: 

The California K-12 school system is more than 50% Hispanic, 30% white.  Two thirds of kindergarten students are Hispanic, most non-English speaking.  In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in California, three fourths of its 700,000 students are Hispanic, 8.9% white, 11.2% black.  More than half of the Hispanic students in LA are English learners and roughly half drop out of high school.  Projected future costs for high school dropouts are estimated at $24 billion for 2007 alone. 

Sixty nine percent of Hispanic high school graduates are unable to satisfy college requirements or possess the skills necessary for a living wage.  California's once envied school system is now near the bottom among the fifty states.  It also has the highest adult illiteracy rate in the US, 23%, nearly 50% greater than ten years before.  The illiteracy rate in Los Angeles is at 33% or close to sub-Saharan levels.  California is fortieth in college-attendance rates. 

This trend will only worsen and will eventually place California last among the fifty states in per capita income.  Research also shows that most Hispanic immigrants do not integrate into the mainstream even twenty years later, underperforming compared with the native population. 

Approximately half of illegal immigrant led families are on public aid of one sort or another. The illegitimacy rate for Hispanics is 50%, double the rate for whites.  Since 1995, 28% of Mexican-American males (in San Diego) between the ages of 18-24 have been arrested and 20% have been incarcerated.  Most illegal immigrants and their families (the overwhelming majority of whom are Hispanic) remain poor, unskilled, and outside the mainstream.

The cost of illegal immigrants to the California taxpayer is estimated at $13 billion or half of the state's budget deficit.

In a single generation, the once great state of California, world leader in research and innovation, a lodestone of human capital and talent, a cultural and technologic trendsetter, moves relentlessly downward toward deficit ridden, impoverished, third world status. 

There are other contributing factors of course, to California's demise, much of it intertwined: confiscatory taxation, an anti-business environment, an exodus of high earners, entrepreneurs, and corporations (and now even members of the middle class looking for work elsewhere), expanding entitlements, extravagant public sector benefits, mounting debt, looming bankruptcy: in a word - Greece.  Or, we can say, the predictable trajectory of a failed entitlement (socialist) state - that inevitably finds itself (to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher) running out of other people's money. 

The final, devastating blow to this spiraling decline: waves of illegal immigrants. 

It is clear that the nation, like individual states such as California and others, cannot sustain the importation of millions of dirt poor, unskilled, non-English speakers with 8th grade educations, who consume resources, burden the public systems, pay little or no taxes, and represent an emerging permanent underclass.



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