Mainstream media folks always are looking for ways to make it appear that immigration isn’t so much of a problem. One line they’ve used in recent years is that net migration from Mexico, legal and illegal, has gone down to zero, with the number of people entering evenly balanced by the number leaving. Because the majority of legal and illegal immigrants has come from Mexico over the years, media pundits have argued that we can relax about our lax border and other concerns related to immigration.
Well, we shouldn’t relax too much – if at all. Overall, massive legal immigration (1 million a year) continues unabated, while illegal immigration is creeping higher. And it appears that Mexicans once again are pushing the legal and illegal numbers up.
A recent report by the Center for Immigration Studies found that the foreign-born population rose by 4.1 million from 2011 to 2015, with 1.7 million coming in just the past year. Of that 1.7 million, 740,000 (44 percent) were from Mexico, a country of 125 million people. The total population of Mexican immigrants in the U.S., according to the study, “… reached 12.1 million in the second quarter of 2015 – the highest quarterly total ever.” This clearly suggests that the inflow of Mexicans during the past year has exceeded the outflow.
Other indicators point to a rebound of illegal immigration in recent years, which has been enough to keep the total population of illegal aliens living in the U.S., officially estimated at around 11 million, from declining. During this time, growing numbers of non-Mexican Latin Americans have been slipping across the border.
The foreign-born population of the U.S. (legal and illegal) now totals 42.1 million, or 13.3 percent of the population. Immigration advocates try to diminish the significance of that percentage by claiming that it is still short of the all-time high of 14.7 percent in 1910. They neglect to note, however, that the foreign-born population at that time was only 13.5 million. It is misleading to compare percentages in this fashion when there is such a vast difference in sheer numbers. The numbers today have a dynamic impact far beyond those of 1910, even if the percentage then was slightly higher.
Furthermore, the effects of immigration a century ago were enough to prompt the beginning of a serious effort to restrict legal immigration. Today, when that need is even greater, it is not on the legislative horizon, and few politicians even talk about it, with one notable exception in recent weeks.
A further point to consider is that the total foreign-born figure could possibly be much higher than the official figure. In her recently published book, Adios America, columnist Ann Coulter speculates that there may be as many as 30 million illegal aliens in the U.S., rather than 11 million. That estimate has no substantial research to support it, but a lower figure does – and it is still quite higher than the official estimate. In 2005, two researchers at Bear Sterns concluded that the illegal alien population was as high as 20 million. Their study has drawn criticism, but its assumptions and methodology can’t be dismissed out of hand.
Whatever the number is, the consequences are all too apparent. We are seeing a breakdown of community ties. Economically, immigration contributes to unemployment and wage suppression. Also, as the numbers rise, we face increasing environmental pressures, as well as more stress on our already overburdened infrastructure.
Coulter recently asked, “How many immigrants are enough? We have 42 million now. 100 million? 200 million?” Perhaps our leaders will answer in some sensible fashion if they feel enough pressure from concerned Americans. Until then, the numbers will keep rising.