The Nation May Need Less, Not More, Immigration

The Rockefeller Commission once warned that if the United States grew to over 300 million people, the quality of life that the population once knew would be gravely threatened — health care in particular.

The population of the United States is currently well over 320 million. Three hundred million people lived in the country in 2006, and today it continues to grow, boosted by high immigration rates supposedly aimed at contributing to big business coffers. However, higher rates of immigration are a flashpoint for many who believe these higher levels are not economically beneficial.

The Center for Immigration Studies has stridently discounted possible positive gains of immigration. The center relies on census data from 2010 and 2011 and suggests that immigration has created a sizeable low-income population who remain in poverty for the duration of their residence, make use of the welfare system and lack insurance, driving them to use medical services at hospital ERs – a cost U.S. taxpayers bear — all more often than native-born Americans.

The Rockefeller Commission was not the first entity to issue a warning about the potential damage of immigration growth. The Council on Sustainability, launched by former President Clinton, said the growth of the county should never be fed by immigration. Immigrants now account for at least 82 percent of the population growth to date. Some politicians are suggesting that immigration reform would double this rate.

Does this perhaps explain the reason for stalling immigration reform? Do politicians realize on some level that flooding the country with more immigrants may severely hamper the country’s supportive infrastructure? How would the millions of extra people affect the health care system – an entity already reeling from recent upheaval?

In contrast, some pundits speculate that the new markets immigrants create with their presence in the United States does pay off. Immigrants pay $1.9 billion in taxes each year – a figure which could offset the cost of their use of the education system and health care, etc. Others point out that if Americans really wanted to work seasonal, back-breaking farm labor jobs, they would be employed right now. Many immigrants are willing to take lower-paying, difficult, laborious jobs. Do these aspects balance the issues of immigration reform?

Immigration ripples out beyond questions of citizenship status, touching many other facets of the country’s infrastructure. Finding balance in this process is difficult, if not perhaps impossible.

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