If you walk the halls of D.C. think tanks and Swamp organizations, you might think we have a crisis of not enough immigrants. They always extol the virtues of more immigration without any consideration of the costs or whether these immigrants are assimilating into our culture or trying to take it over.
The Center for Immigration Studies released a new report this week on immigration trends that blows sky-high all the myths perpetuated by the open-borders political establishment. It demonstrates that we are in uncharted waters and that the current trajectory will immutably transform America into something unrecognizable.
Here are 5 important takeaways.
According to Census figures, “the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 43.7 million in July 2016.” However, the authors of the report cite DHS data that show the Census leaves out an estimated 1.9 million immigrants, meaning the immigrant population is really about 45.6 million. When you account also for immigrants’ U.S.-born minor children, that number rises to 60.4 million: nearly one in five people living in the entire country.
Why it matters:
Just 17 years ago there, were only 31 million immigrants, and in 1990 there were just 19.8 million. We’ve never seen such growth before. While the percentage of immigrants as a share of the population, 13.5 percent, isn’t a record high, it’s the highest level since 1910, which was at the height of the great wave. That was at a time when the country was still relatively new and filling up, assimilation was successful, there was no welfare state, and — most importantly — there was a shutoff 10 years later.
Now, rather than a shutoff, the trajectory under current law will make even the current wave of immigration appear ordinary. Whereas a half-century after the great wave, thanks to the shutoff, the foreign-born population shrank to just 4.7 percent, reflective of a very successful generation of assimilation, we are projected to go from 13.5 percent foreign-born at present to almost one in every five individuals by 2060.
Why it matters:
Assimilation is a numbers game, much like the melting-pot analogy. Immigration is great for everyone when there is patriotic assimilation, but with one in five individuals already part of an immigrant family and the trajectory slated to skyrocket, it’s hard to see how America is not fundamentally transformed beyond anything that happened during the great wave. According to Pew, by 2065, 36.5 percent of all individuals in America will be from immigrant families (up from 20 percent now).
As I note in my book, put another way, although immigration spiked between 1880 and 1920, the shutoff created a dynamic in which, on net, the foreign-born population in the country went down, so that by 1970 — ninety years after the beginning of the great wave — the immigration population had only increased 44 percent in raw numbers. Over that same time period, the native-born population increased by 306 percent. Contrast this to the current wave, and it is coinciding with an even larger wave of new immigrants coming to reinforce the new citizens, anchoring them back to their old culture and values. By 2060, ninety years after that benchmark in 1970, the immigrant population is projected to be 715 percent larger in raw numbers. Over the same period, the native-born population is projected to increase by just 77 percent.
Putting aside the numerous factors that make assimilation much less likely than it was during the great wave, the sheer numbers alone will void out the concept of a melting pot. Anyone who makes comparisons to the great wave is not paying attention.
“Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) were by far the largest foreign-born population in the country in 2016. Mexico is the top sending country, with 1.1 million new immigrants arriving from Mexico between 2010 and 2016, or one out of eight new arrivals.”
Why it matters:
We are always told by advocates of open borders that the reason we have illegal immigration is because there is not enough legal immigration. Yet, Mexico, which is the largest source of illegal immigration, is also the largest source of legal immigration. More than twice as many green cards and citizenship papers are handed out to Mexican nationals every year as to immigrants from the second and third largest groups (China and India). And this trend has persisted for several decades. There is no room for complaint.
It is insulting to suggest that America must grant more and more amnesty to illegal aliens and that we have not been generous enough. By my count of the data in the DHS Yearbook on Immigration Statistics, over the past 44 years, 6.65 million people have immigrated from Mexico legally (not including the 6 million or so illegal immigrants), compared to 4.5 million who emigrated from Italy — the previous record-breaking country of origin — from 1880 to 1929.
According to CIS: “The states with the largest numerical increases in the number of immigrants from 2010 to 2016 were Texas (up 587,889), Florida (up 578,468), California (up 527,234), New York (up 238,503), New Jersey (up 171,504), Massachusetts (up 140,318), Washington (up 134,132), Pennsylvania (up 131,845), Virginia (up 120,050), Maryland (up 118,175), Georgia (up 95,353), Nevada (up 78,341), Arizona (up 78,220), Michigan (up 74,532), Minnesota (up 73,953), and North Carolina (up 70,501).” Immigrants now represent more than 13 percent of the population — the national average — in 15 states and more than 17 percent in seven states, topping out at 27.2 percent in California.
Why it matters:
There is no way to encourage patriotic assimilation when the numbers are so high and concentrated in certain areas. That is plain common sense that policy-makers in both parties understood, until this generation. There are 708 counties, almost one-fourth of all counties, where more than 10 percent of the population speaks Spanish at home. That number is dramatically higher in certain counties in California. Eleven states have “Emerging English Learning” enrollments composing more than 10 percent of total K-12 student population, and in California, that number is 24.5 percent! Fundamental transformation indeed.
The sending country with the largest percentage increase in the number of immigrants living in the United States since 2010 was Saudi Arabia (up 122 percent). Seven more predominantly Muslim countries were in the top 15 list: Afghanistan (up 74 percent), Syria (up 62 percent), Bangladesh (up 53 percent), Nigeria (up 40 percent), Iraq (up 39 percent), Egypt (up 32 percent), and Pakistan (up 28 percent). Two more — Ghana and India (each up 37 percent) — have a substantial Muslim minority. Overall, the immigrant population from predominantly Muslim countries is 2.8 million, up 29 percent from 2010, one of the sharpest increases of any group.
Why it matters:
This is self-explanatory. By importing the values and culture of the Middle East in large numbers, we are walking in the footsteps of Europe.
Where is the debate or perspective on where we are headed as a nation?
It is simply astounding that there is no modicum of debate or even recognition over how unpredicted our immigration system has changed from its traditional norms and the fact that nobody ever voted for this transformation.
In 1921, there was unanimity of opinion among both the general public and politicians that there was an urgent need to curtail immigration in order to pass legislation to restructure our immigration system, as did happen in 1924. At the time, in order to jump-start debate, the House unanimously passed a bill curtailing immigration across the board. There was no recorded vote! The bill passed the Senate 78-1. Expressing the universal view at the time, the accompanying report from the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization stated, “There is a limit to our power of assimilation.”
The long-term bill was passed in 1924. Its goal was nearly unanimously supported and was enthusiastically signed by President Coolidge. The general success of that effort in ensuring that the great wave was a net positive to America is indisputable. How will history judge our policy-makers 50 years from now?
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.