Population Surge Ignored in S. 744

Published on June 27th, 2013

During a June 24 NumbersUSA-hosted conference call, Senators Sessions, Vitter and Cruz outlined where the effort to block S. 744 stood. The anti-amnesty senators took audience questions which included inquiries about why certain arguments against the have not been included in the debate. Missing from the debate, such as it is, are why existing E-Verify isn’t good enough, why birthright citizenship is tolerated and why the DREAM Act can’t be eliminated.

S. 744‘s least analyzed negative is the certainty of at least 20 million more people who will arrive on various visas during the next decade, a 50 percent increase from the current and already too high legal immigration levels. Neither side of the aisle argues that S. 744 will open up new visa categories like the “W,” raise the cap on H-1Bs and give legal status to conservatively 11 million aliens who will eventually petition their extended families.

The Senate’s most commonly used euphemism to distract critics from the dire consequences of higher immigration and population levels is “new legal flow” which  infers that more people create a better America.

But one cautionary and little discussed consequence is that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, S. 744 would only stop about 25 percent of illegal immigration. The result is that the population surge would be so great that foreign-borns would make up a record 20 percent of the entire U.S. populace. That’s too many new people, no matter their country of origin. See the Center for Immigration Studies backgrounder here.

Since California already has the nation’s highest numbers of legal and illegal immigrants, nearly 10 million or 27 percent of the U.S. total, the logical assumption is that many of S. 744’s beneficiaries would flock to the Golden State.

Then what? California would be forced to break ground for more schools, expand highways, build more hospitals, all of which mean lost acreage, much of it prime agricultural land.

Here’s an example. I moved to Lodi, CA in 1986, coincidentally, the same year that President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Over the ensuing 25 years, Lodi’s many vineyards and fruit orchards were paved over to make way for more schools and hospitals as well sprawl’s most visible symbols, big box stores like Costco and Walmart.

Before sprawl’s destruction however would come natural resource shortages, the most essential of which is water. In March, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story that detailed the state’s dire water shortages and predicted an unusually dry summer.

This year’s late winter months were among the driest on record and ended with the state’s snowpack at 52 percent of normal as of April 1. Jan Null, a San Francisco State University associate meteorology professor found that only 1.72 inches of rain had fallen in San Francisco in January, February and March, the city’s driest first three months since records began in 1850. The long-term average of 12.39 inches for those three months,accounts for more than half of San Francisco’s average annual rainfall of 23.65 inches, he said. [California's Small Snowpack Raises Chills, by Peter Fimrite, March 28, 2013]

That translates to tough days ahead for farmers who need to irrigate crops and thirsty residents who want to have a drink. Adding more people, S. 744’s inevitable outcome, would make the existing water shortage more dire. Based on population considerations alone, S. 744 should be defeated.



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