Who Bears the Burden of Immigration?

Migrants are on the move across the world, especially from the Middle East to Europe and North America, from Africa to Europe and the United States, and from Mexico and other Latin countries to the South to the United States. Immigration celebrationists pretend that mass immigration is an unmixed blessing, but what is happening in Europe, as one country after another shuts its borders to a vast influx of Middle Easterners, suggests that the lessons of experience do not teach that more immigration is always better.

So who is actually bearing the burden of immigration in today’s world? The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest answers the question, at least for the Western Hemisphere. This chart shows the number of migrants currently living in the United States, compared with 21 Latin American countries:


The United States is currently home to an astonishing 46 million migrants. The U.S. has only 4.5% of global population, but hosts about 20% of the world’s migrants. All Latin American countries combined have taken in only 7.8 million migrants, one-sixth of America’s total, even though they have double our population.

Someone might say, Sure, but the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. Perhaps, but so are Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the Caribbean countries. Indigenous populations account for only a small percentage of Latin America’s population–less than 0.2% of Brazil’s, for example. So why aren’t the immigrant nations of Latin America taking their “fair share” of the world’s migrants?

The reality is that Americans have been chumps. Could we enact Mexico’s immigration laws, which have admitted barely more than a million migrants out of a Mexican population of 122 million? Not a chance–to do so would be “racist,” even though Mexico has adopted draconian immigration laws to keep out Hondurans and Guatemalans who are demographically indistinguishable from Mexicans. (Likewise, liberals howl that it would be “racist” to adopt Mexico’s voter ID laws. Or Canada’s.)

Very few Americans understand how our immigration laws were rewritten in the 1960s, under the direction of Ted Kennedy, so that they would no longer favor the interests of American citizens, but rather would result in admitting enormous numbers of migrants based on criteria that are largely irrational. American voters may not get the details, but they know that America’s current immigration policies are drastically changing our culture, giving rise to a great deal of violent crime, and causing environmental degradation as well as pressures on our welfare, police, health care and education systems, and, perhaps most important, driving down the wages of low-skilled American workers.

I am talking here 80% about legal immigration, and 20% about illegal immigration. The American people have figured this out. Why can’t the political class?


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