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Home : American History : 20th Century 
AMERICAN HISTORY : 20th Century

 

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Immigration & America's Future

The world has gone through a revolution and it has changed a lot. We have cut the death rates around the world with modern medicine and new farming methods. For example, we sprayed to destroy mosquitoes in Sri Lanka in the 1950s. In one year, the average life of everyone in Sri Lanka was extended by eight years because the number of people dying from malaria suddenly declined.

This was a great human achievement. But we cut the death rate without cutting the birth rate. Now population is soaring. There were about one billion people living in the world when the Statue of Liberty was built. There are 4.5 billion today. World population is growing at an enormous rate. The world is going to add a billion people in the next eleven years, that's 224,000 every day! Experts say there will be at least 1.65 billion more people living in the world in the next twenty years.

We must understand what these numbers mean for the U.S. Let's look at the question of jobs. The International Labor organization projects a twenty-year increase of 600 to 700 million people who will be seeking jobs.

Eighty-eight percent of the world's population growth takes place in the Third World. More than a billion people today are paid about 150 dollars a year, which is less than the average American earns in a week. And growing numbers of these poorly paid Third World citizens want to come to the United States.

In the 1970s, all other countries that accept immigrants started controlling the number of people they would allow into their countries. The United States did not. This means that the huge numbers of immigrants who are turned down elsewhere will turn to the United States. The number of immigrants is staggering. The human suffering they represent is a nightmare.

Latin America's population is now 390 million people. It will be 800 million in the year 2025. Mexico's population has tripled since the Second World War. One third of the population of Mexico is under ten years of age, as a result, in just ten years, Mexico's unemployment rate will increase 30 percent, as these children become young adults, in search of work. There were in 1990 an estimated four million illegal aliens in the United States, and about 55 percent of them were from Mexico.

These people look to the United States. Human population has always moved, like waves, to fresh lands. But for the first time in human history, there are no fresh lands, no new continents. We will have to think and decide with great care what our policy should be toward immigration. At this point in history, American immigration policies are in a mess.

Our borders are totally out of control. Our border patrol arrests 3000 illegal immigrants per day, or 1.2 million per year, and Two illegal immigrants get in for every one caught. And those caught just try again!

More than 1 million people are entering the U.S. legally every year. >From 1983 through 1992, 8.7 million of these newcomers arrived-the highest number in any 10-year period since 1910. A record 1.8 million were granted permanent residence in 1991. Because present law stresses family unification, these arrivals can bring over their spouses, sons and daughters: some 3.5 million are now in line to come in. Once here, they can bring in their direct relatives. As a result, there exists no visible limit to the number of legal entries.

Until a few years ago, immigrants seeking asylum were rare. In 1975, a total of 200 applications were received in the U.S. Suddenly, asylum is the plea of choice in the U.S., and around the world, often as a cover for economic migration. U.S. applications were up to 103,000 last year, and the backlog tops 300,000 cases. Under the present asylum rules, practically anyone who declares that he or she is fleeing political oppression has a good chance to enter the U.S. Chinese are almost always admitted, for example, if they claim that China's birth-control policies have limited the number of children they can have.

Right now, once aliens enter the U.S., it is almost impossible to deport them, even if they have no valid documents. Thousands of those who enter illegally request asylum only if they are caught. The review process can take 10 years or more, and applicants often simply disappear while it is under way. Asylum cases are piling up faster than they can be cleared, with the Immigration and Naturalization Service falling farther behind every year. At her confirmation hearings at the end of September, Doris Meissner, Clinton's nominee as commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Services, conceded, ''The asylum system is broken, and we need to fix it.''

Adding the numbers of legal and illegal immigrants, 50 percent of all U.S. population growth comes from immigration. While Americans try to have smaller families, immigration threatens our nation. If immigration rates continue to be this high, more than seventy million people will be added to the United States population in just fifty years, with no end in sight. We are taking in more people than all of the rest of the world combined. As have all the other countries of the word, America needs to control its borders. As every house needs a door, so every country needs a border. And yet, our borders are full of holes. We have clearly lost control over our future. Our children will pay the price of uncontrolled immigration.

The United States is no longer an empty continent. In 1886, when the Statue of Liberty was built, there were 58 million people in the United States. In 1984 there were 240 million people, that's four times the total population in less then a century The U.S. cannot and should not be the home of last resort for all the world s poor, huddled masses. We are not doing a good job with our own poor, as we see more people without jobs.

Supporters of immigration use many arguments to support their side. Let's look at a few of these arguments: Illegal immigrants take jobs no Americans want. The fact is that the average illegal immigrant arrested in Denver, Colorado, made more than seven dollars an hour. Many were making over 100 dollars per day. Denver identified 43 illegal aliens making 100 dollars per day as roofers, while 438 people were registered in their employment services who would have loved those jobs. The average illegal immigrant arrested in Chicago makes $5.65 an hour. More than thirty million American workers make less than that.

A common belief is that aliens fulfill many of the least desirable jobs. However, most experts agree that in today's economy, there is no shortage of Americans competing for many of these same jobs. Actually, many Americans already work in these low-paying jobs. For example: the poor black woman, who works as a seamstress, Her boss asked her to train a new employee, an illegal immigrant. As soon as she finished training her new charge, she was fired. Her position, of course, went to the illegal immigrant, who was willing to work for less pay, and under deplorable working conditions. This is one example of how illegal workers depress wages, and slow, stall or prevent unionization or improvements to working conditions.

Another myth cited by supporters of immigration is that illegal immigrants work hard, pay taxes, and do not go on welfare. The sad truth is that these folks seem to learn the ropes of the welfare system with incredible speed.

Today's illegal immigrants apply for and receive benefits from the government that citizens need. According to Donald L. Huddle, an economist at Rice University in Texas, legal and illegal immigrants cost the nation a net 42.5 billion dollars in 1992. The Huddle study also found that in 1992, more than 2 million Americans were displaced from their jobs by illegal immigrants. This resulted in an additional 11.9 billion dollars in public assistance.

In California alone, they cost more than 18 billion dollars a year. California currently has an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants now attending grades' 0-12. This will costs the California tax payers an estimated 1.5 billion dollars. This is 10 percent of the students currently enrolled in our elementary schools today! California has 49.8 percent of the countries illegal aliens, therefore, California pays multiple costs for its leaky borders.

Providing health care for illegal immigrants costs California tax payers 400 million dollars annually. Illegals drain about two billion dollars a year for incarceration, schooling and Medicaid from the budgets of such major destination states as Texas, Florida and California. For California alone, a 1993 study by the California Legislature estimates criminal justice costs involving illegal immigrants to be 385 million dollars to the state, with an additional 112 million dollars to local or county government. This is a total cost of 497 million dollars, paid by the California tax payer, each and every year!

Illinois did a study showing that it paid 66 million dollars in unemployment benefits to illegal immigrants in one year, despite a law that was supposed to stop illegal immigrants from getting unemployment benefits. Los Angeles estimates that it spends 269 million dollars in social services on illegal immigrants each year. Every person added to our population drains our natural resources and contributes to the destruction of our environment.

In a Pulitzer-Prize-winning study, the Des Moines Register found that for every person added to our population, 1.5 acres of the richest farm land goes out of production to make way for new houses, roads, and shopping centers. If this continues, the United States will stop shipping food to other countries shortly after the year 2000. How can the United States feed the hungry people of the world?

The national majority now says it favors cutting back on legal immigration. A TIME/CNN poll determined last week that 77 percent of those surveyed felt the government was not doing enough to keep out illegal immigrants. For years now, the battle has raged between the federal authorities who are supposed to police the borders and the states who pay the price if they fail.

In an attempt to reduce illegal immigration, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, has introduced a bill that would establish an annual limit of 300,000 newcomers, including ''immediate relatives,'' and a national identification card. Congress passed legislation in 1986 that stipulates fines and other penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. The bill includes provisions to grant amnesty to illegal aliens who were in the United States prior to January 1, 1982, and to aid farmers who have relied on illegal aliens to harvest their crops.

Does anyone benefit from the rising tide of illegal immigration? Businesses that can profit from employing illegals at low wages do. And many illegals are better off here than in their own countries. But many others are exploited by dishonest employers and are treated like slaves. These immigrants are denied the rights and privileges we want every person in the United States to enjoy.

In closing, we must all realize this issue will not go away. Other generations of Americans made great sacrifices so that we today can enjoy the freedom, the quality of life, and the standard of living that we have. When I think of what uncontrolled immigration will do to the dreams of my parents and grandparents, what it will mean to the future of my children, I realize that we will find a way to control immigration. Because we must.

 

Primary And Secondary Sources

(These listings are in order of their importance, in category.)

"Immigration: Identifying Propaganda Techniques" Bonnie Szumski & JoAnne Buggey, Ph.D. College of Education, University of ' Minnesota (Greenhaven Press 1989)

"Immigration-Opposing Viewpoints" David Bender & Bruno Leone, Series Editors William Dudley, Book Editor (Greenhaven Press 1990)

"The Essential Immigrant" Dan Lacey (Hippocrene Books 1990)

"Immigration" Kelly C. Anderson (Lucent Books 1993)

"Immigration-A pictorial History of" Oscar Handlin (Crown Publishers 1972)

"Immigrants, Refugees, and U.S. Policy" Grant S McClellan (H. W. Wilson Company 1981)

"Immigration and Illegal Aliens" Mark A. Siegel, M.A., Ph.D. Nancy R. Jacobs, B.A., M.A. Patricia A. Von Brook, B.A., M.S. (Information Plus 1989)

Newsprint Articles examined from the following publications:

Des Moines Register; Los Angeles Times; Orange County Register

America On Line Numerous Articles were reviewed. A word search was performed on the system, using the keywords:

Immigration; Borders; Aliens; Liberty

All Articles Were Transmitted Within The Past 8 Months

Excerpts from:

Donald L. Huddle Economist, Rice University: Texas Doris Meissner (Clinton's nominee as Commissioner of the INS)



 

 



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