“Our immigration system is broken.”
When the endless parade of politicos mindlessly propagates this statement, they universally mean that we don’t admit enough immigrants. A new analysis of recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrates the absurdity of this complaint.
A detailed analysis from Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that 3.1 million immigrants arrived in the United States over the two-year period since 2014, the sharpest increase since 2000. While the annual issuance of green cards has been hovering around 1 million per year, the most up-to-date monthly data from the Census’s Current Population Survey shows that when combined with long-term visas, the growth in immigration as a whole is demonstrably more, given that the immigration population has grown by 1.6 million from 2014-2015.
Camarota estimates that roughly 1.1 million of the 3.1 million total is comprised of those who entered the country illegally (or overstayed their visas); whereas 2 million came here legally during that two-year period. While that would seem to jive with the widely reported number of 1 million new immigrants per year, in reality, that number is higher. Remember, only about 483,000 of the 1 million green cards are awarded to new arrivals. The other half are “adjustments of status” to those already living here. Thus, for the Census to pick up on 1 million new immigrants settling in the country from 2014-2015 that were not already here, that means at least 500,000 more immigrants have moved to the country but have not yet received green cards or are here on other long-term visas.
Also, the Census has tended to undercount immigrants, especially illegal immigrants. Factoring in the undercount, Camarota demonstrates how, contrary to the position of some academics, the illegal immigrant population is clearly on the rise. He calculates that there has been a 69% increase in the flow of illegal immigrants from the two-year interval of 2010-2011 to 2014-2015, when factoring the likely undercount in the Census data.
The end of the Great Recession clearly had some effect on the surge, but it’s not outlandish to posit that Obama’s widely publicized amnesties incentivized more people to migrate illegally. What this report also demonstrates is that illegal immigration is increasing precisely during the most protracted rise in legal immigration. Apologists for illegal immigration often contend that this odious phenomenon is a symptom of not allowing in enough people through legal channels. The reality is the opposite: the more we make America the prime destination for millions of people from third world countries the more people will be incentivized to leave their desperate straits and join their family members at all costs.
Here is Camorata’s conclusion:
The latest Census Bureau data shows that the scale of new immigration is clearly enormous. The numbers raise profound questions about assimilation and the impact of immigration on the nation's education system, infrastructure, and labor market, as well as the size and density of the U.S. population. It is difficult to find a public policy that has a more profound impact across American society than the level of immigration. It is certainly appropriate that immigration should be at the center of the current presidential election.
In my upcoming book, Stolen Sovereignty, I show how even during the most open periods of immigration, we have never brought in so many immigrants in such a short period of time, especially from parts of the world that are so impoverished and steeped in radically divergent cultures.
Although Donald Trump has changed his mind on illegal immigration and now supports robust enforcement, he has not talked about the unprecedented growth in legal immigration. In fact, during several of the presidential debates, Trump expressed support for bringing in more foreign workers.
While many immigration hawks have gravitated to Trump under the assumption that he agrees with them on the issue, they would be wise to verify that indeed Trump would support an across-the-board reduction in immigration. Once Trump becomes president, the political gravity on this issue will only pull him in one direction – the expansionist direction. And given the fact that every incumbent has been re-elected to Congress and the same leaders will be controlling both chambers, we can’t count on anyone else holding him accountable.
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