Imagine if we could go back in time to the 1965 and 1990 immigration bills. Congress would promise the public that the nation is about to embark on the largest expansion of immigration ever, indefinitely, that will violate every principle of our balanced immigration system and values of assimilation. Those bills wouldn’t have been too popular, obviously. Indeed, the framers of those bills promised quite the opposite. But here we are today with record immigration and no end in sight. Isn’t it time for a mature discussion about a balanced approach to the numbers and types of immigrants we are admitting so that our system is deliberate and not chaotic?
Numbers matter in every policy
The Center for Immigration Studies published a new analysis this week showing that, based on new census data, immigration has surged since 2011 and peaked with a record flow in 2016. The report found that while we’ve been taking in an unfathomable one million legal permanent residents every single year for decades, the numbers are really higher when including illegal immigrants and long-term visa holders who often receive green cards.
In just the five-year-period from 2012 through 2016, the immigrant population has grown by 7.35 million! That is simply unparalleled in our history, especially built upon the existing high baseline levels of the previous three decades. As I observed earlier this year, these numbers dwarf those of the Great Wave at the turn of the 20th century — and the duration of this wave is much longer and continues to grow indefinitely. After the Great Wave, on the other hand, we smartly opted for a cool-off for several decades, a decision that ensured the successful assimilation of those immigrating earlier in the century.
Have things changed under Trump? Based on the preliminary data of the first six months of 2017, Steven Camarota and Karen Zeigler, the report’s authors, estimate that roughly 1.61 million new immigrants arrived last year. The numbers are down slightly from the peak of Obama’s surge, but still ridiculously high.
An imbalanced immigration system that discourages assimilation and threatens our security
Also disturbing is the lack of balance in our immigration system, the exact opposite of what was promised to Americans in 1965 and 1990. According to the report’s authors, “Half of the increase in new arrivals (legal and illegal) since 2011 has been from Latin America, which doubled from 335,000 in that year to 668,000 in 2016.” Obviously, a lot of that is due to illegal immigration, which in itself, nobody ever voted for and is contrary to our laws.
Latin America has dominated our immigration system for several decades. Roughly half of all immigration since the passage of the 1965 bill has emanated from that region. Beginning during the Great Recession, Asia eclipsed Latin America as the top sending region of immigrants, but that trend has reversed again.
As you can see, nine percent of our immigrants are coming from Europe, a fundamental transformation from the Great Wave, when 90 percent came from Europe. Many current sending countries are some of the poorest countries in the world. The highest rates of welfare usage are now from the countries of origin most associated with illegal migration as well as high levels of legal immigration, namely, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Again, who voted for this fundamental change? We are bringing in huge numbers of people who have become a public charge, which is completely divorced from our laws and history.
Moreover, one of the fastest-growing subsets of our immigration are those immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. Immigration from those countries increased by 31 percent between 2010 and 2016, after doubling between 1990 and 2010. Immigration from Saudi Arabia increased by a whopping 83 percent (mainly due to student visas), Afghanistan by 84 percent, Syria by 74 percent, Iraq by 45 percent, and Egypt by 34 percent. If even a small percentage of those coming in harbor Sharia supremacist views, think of what a long-term cultural and security problem that will create. Just this week, a recent Iraqi refugee was nabbed by the FBI for plotting to set off IEDs.
Then there is the issue of assimilation. Having so many immigrants come so quickly, often from the same areas of the world, creates a self-reinforcing dynamic of reverse assimilation when it comes to the English language. According to a new Pew Research analysis, 9.5 percent of all public school students are enrolled in English Language Learner (ELL) programs. But that is nationwide. In some states the numbers are alarmingly high: California (21 percent), Nevada (17 percent), Texas (17 percent), New Mexico (16 percent), and Colorado (12 percent). Roughly 77 percent of all ELL students speak Spanish as their primary language. This demonstrates that when immigration is not diverse, but rather concentrated from one region, it is much less likely that immigrants will assimilate, because they can get around easily by just speaking Spanish.
Some other nuggets from the report:
Social transformation through immigration without representation
Thus, we have unprecedented numbers, a massive cultural transformation, and a public charge problem, none of which were ever supported by the American people. Who would ever have voted to give a monopoly over our immigration system to the poorest Third World countries?
Who would ever have voted not just to admit Middle Eastern immigrants, but to make them the fastest-growing subset at a time when there is such a problem with radicalization among their youth that even the leaders of their countries are warning about the trend?
Who would have voted for a public charge? Who would have voted to balkanize the English language? Nobody. Of course, even today, even in blue states, Americans overwhelmingly support a cool-off in immigration.
In 1965, Ted Kennedy promised that “no immigrant visa will be issued to a person who is likely to become a public charge.” He pledged that his bill would “not upset the ethnic mix of our society” and “will not permit the entry of subversive persons, criminals” and other liabilities. Sensing what the public wanted from immigration, the LBJ administration echoed a similar sentiment. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach predicted that the ’65 bill would induce a net increase of only about 60,000 immigrants per year. Instead, it wound up increasing immigration by another 300,000 per year, with the subsequent 1990 bill increasing immigration by another 300,000 per year. Then, a bunch of executive decisions created a seamless pipeline of other visa programs to bring in much greater numbers through the back door.
During the debate on the 1990 bill, Chuck Schumer said he agreed the 1965 bill wound up skewing immigration away from Europe and lamented how only four percent of immigration was based on skills. He said that chain migration “hurts our economy” and “hurts every American” and that his bill would correct the problem. He also proclaimed that “immigration should be as diverse as it once was,” because “countries like Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Nigeria … cannot get people into this country, even though there are many people of that ancestry here.”
The rest is history. They lied and made everything exponentially worse. We’ve been disenfranchised and stripped of our sovereignty. We all cherish our diverse melting pot, but the irresponsible transformation of the past few decades is undermining the very diversity its supporters champion. Diversity is only a strength if we unite under a common cause, values, and language – E pluribus unum.
I’ve spilled a lot of ink in recent days about stolen sovereignty through illegal immigration – how the courts and the bureaucracies stole the sovereignty of the people and foisted on them millions of illegal aliens. Nobody voted for these policies or the politicians who supported them, and they are immutably transforming and balkanizing America and the English language.
When will we finally have a sustained and mature debate over restoring the original bipartisan promise of true immigration reform that puts American interests first?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.