By Joe Guzzardi
January 15, 2016
During the sixth Republican debate, moderator Maria Bartiromo asked what has been for years a taboo question. Why, Bartiromo wanted to know, should America remain on an immigration course that over the next half decade would add five million people to the nation, South Carolina’s approximate population. Bartiromo’s follow up question: “Why are you so interested in opening up borders to foreigners when American workers have a hard enough time finding work?” More than 15 million Americans cannot find full-time employment.
Unfortunately, Bartiromo didn’t get a straight answer, or any answer at all. And neither she nor co-host Neil Cavuto pressed for a response. Since the candidates didn’t reply, I will. Immigration increases serve special interest groups like Silicon Valley, the agriculture industry, universities, the ethnic identity lobby, but not citizens. In 2013, when the Senate wrote its failed Gang of Eight bill, legislators never mentioned the harmful effect that the bill would have which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have added ten million green card holders within the first decade.
For advocates, unsustainable population growth that displaces American workers, depresses wages, creates urban sprawl, overcrowded highways, schools and hospitals, and lowers the quality of life for everyone is of no concern. When Congress negotiates immigration legislation, lawyers that represent those special interests are at the table to push for their clients’ agendas.
Congress has ignored overpopulation’s consequences for fifty years. On one hand, leaders acknowledge that more people create more problems. Then, directly contradicting the pitfalls they’ve readily acknowledged, they pass legislation that fuels more population. During a 1965 immigration reform hearing, Senator Sam Irvin grilled Attorney General Bobby Kennedy about the foolishness of “opening the doors” to millions of “people from other lands” during a time that America’s population and birthrates were soaring. Kennedy agreed, and said that he didn’t recommend increasing immigration.
But during the same year that the exchange between Irvin and Kennedy occurred, 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act became law. Then, two decades later, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed. Before 1965, immigration had averaged about 175,000 people annually. The two bills combined effect accelerated immigration flows, increased the inevitable population growth, and pushed average annual immigration totals to more than one million a year. The U. S. remains immigrants’ preferred destination, and since 1965 more than 80 million have come because of the relaxed guidelines written into the 1965 and 1986 laws.
Limiting immigration is more urgent today than at any time in history. In its 2015 study titled “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065," the Pew Hispanic Center found that between today and 2065, immigrants and their descendants will account for 88 percent of the U.S. population growth, 103 million people, while the nation’s aggregate population will hit 442 million, up from today’s 323 million. The 103 million represent the combined 2015 total populations of California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
The Obama administration has issued more than seven million employment authorization documents to illegal immigrants, encouraged illegal immigration from Central America and weakened enforcement, all of which send welcoming signals to foreign nationals worldwide that their goal should be to get to the U.S. where they’ll be rewarded.
Recent polling showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of how Obama has handled illegal immigration, want aliens deported, and sanctuary cities ended. Congress controls immigration and should immediately cut immigrant admissions in half. Census data show that if Congress doesn’t act, by 2100 U.S. population will reach an unthinkable 610 million. Americans who worry that cities are already overcrowded, that urban sprawl has destroyed irreplaceable farm land, and that social services are strained to the limit should be gravely concerned about their grandchildren’s future.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]