We Can’t Keep Adding New Yorks

Published on September 10th, 2014

Do we need to add a new New York City every six years? Admittedly, this question sounds strange, but in terms of population growth, stemming directly from immigration, this is exactly the policy we have now.

Do we really need another New York every six years?

The current population of New York City is 8.3 million. Each year we admit almost a million legal immigrants, while our lax enforcement of immigration laws allows an estimated 300,000 illegal aliens per year to enter and settle permanently. Divide that yearly number into New York’s population, and you get six years for the equivalent in population to a new New York.

Certainly this math should give us cause to pause. Do we really need to be taking in so many people – particularly so many who are poor and unskilled – when we have a national debt of $17 trillion, a growing poverty rate, high unemployment, a deteriorating infrastructure, and growing stress on natural resources and the environment?

Most Americans seem to understand that there must be limits on immigration. They don’t realize, however, that for years we have exceeded sensible limits, with legal immigration at the highest sustained level in our history – and with illegal immigration riding on top of that crest. Such numbers may have made sense many years ago when we had a relatively empty country to populate, but they hardly make sense for a fully developed and settled modern America.

Unfortunately, powerful financial and political interests want this flow to continue, and they strive mightily to keep average citizens in the dark about limits overwhelmed. The most obvious loss of limits is a border out of control, the consequence of the breakdown of immigration law enforcement – both at the border and in the interior.

Consequently, the interests, along with their allies in government and the media, strive to downplay the problem. The Obama Administration claimed it conducted “record deportations,” even while it was undermining enforcement and curtailing deportations. And who can forget former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s assurance that the border was “better now than it ever has been” – even as we now witness the current surge of Central American border crossers?

It’s a very odd situation, notes Jan Ting, a law professor at Temple University. Ting says our political leaders know that the people want limits, but they don’t want to take heat for trying to enforce these limits. Thus they’ve come up with a compromise approach: “Let’s pretend that we have an immigration system, but let’s not enforce it. Do you think anyone will notice? And if a lot more people come in illegally, we’ll just give them a big amnesty and that will be the end of it.”

Politicians have been able to pull off this game of pretend for quite some time. But the best pretenders and gamers can’t cloud reality forever. If we keep adding New Yorks, sooner or later (and probably sooner) our transgression of limits will reach its limit, and pain will stop the pretense.

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