Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Cost of Immigration

An article at NewsMax offers up some disturbing statistics about immigration in general and illegal immigration in particular. Here is a condensed version of the report:

A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), based on the latest Census Bureau data, shows the number of immigrants in America, both legal and illegal, has swelled to a record 38 million this year - making one of every eight U.S. residents an immigrant.

The new numbers indicate the highest level in more than eight decades - with a third of those being illegal aliens.

One third of immigrants are on some form of welfare, costing states nearly $20 billion a year, the study claimed, adding that efforts to legalize the spiraling number of illegal aliens will only increase the amount of uneducated, uninsured legal immigrants burdening America's welfare rolls.

Since 2000, more than 10 million immigrants have entered the U.S., more than half of them illegally, according to the CIS. With no change in U.S. immigration policy, another 15 million immigrants will likely arrive in the next 10 years.

Almost 60 percent of the Illegal aliens entering the U.S. come from Mexico.

The numbers portend a major shift in American demographics. More than 72 percent of native U.S. residents are white, 13 percent are black, 10 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are Asian. But among the burgeoning immigrant population, over 48 percent are Hispanic, 23 percent are Asian, 21 percent are white and 7 percent are black.

Camarota, research director at the CIS, a Washington think tank that favors immigration restrictions along with improved services for legal immigrants, says immigrants now make up one in every five school-age children in America. Immigration accounts for all of the increases in public school enrollment nationwide over the past 20 years, the CIS reports.

In places such as Los Angeles County and New York City, the children of immigrant fathers make up nearly 60 percent of the school-age population.

More than 31 percent of adult immigrants have not completed high school, compared to just 8 percent of U.S. natives. Since 2000, immigrants have boosted the overall number of workers who lack a high school diploma to 14 percent.

Camarota's findings on the quality of life for uneducated immigrants shows that attempts at so-called amnesty for the current population of 12 million illegal aliens would prove costly and provide little benefit.

"Immigrants who have legal status, but little education, generally have low incomes and make heavy use of welfare programs," the CIS report states. "If we decide to legalize illegal immigrants, we should at least understand that it will not result in dramatically lower welfare use or poverty.

"Those who advocate such a policy need to acknowledge this problem and not argue that legalization will save taxpayers money or result in a vast improvement in the income of illegal aliens," the report continues. "Legalized illegals will still be overwhelmingly uneducated and this fact has enormous implications for their income, welfare use, health insurance coverage, and the effect on American taxpayers."

True to the CIS charter, Krikorian stresses that there "is no excuse whatever for intolerant attitudes toward legal immigrants -- we admitted them according to the rules established by our elected representatives, and we must, and will, continue to embrace them as Americans in training.

"Even illegal immigrants must be treated humanely as they are detained and returned to their homes," Krikorian says. "But future legal immigration is a different question -- mass immigration is simply not compatible with the goals of a modern society and should be minimized to the extent possible."

It's a somewhat droll aspect of this issue that those who don't wish to see America turned into a northern extension of Central America are often branded bigots and "nativists" for wishing to preserve their heritage and for being reluctant to push this nation to economic ruin. It's okay for citizens of every country in the world to wish to preserve their traditions and character except for the citizens of the U.S. and Israel. Any measures taken by them to prevent either of their two countries from being culturally overwhelmed by their neighbors are, for some reason, roundly condemned as racist or zionist. It's very odd.


Peggy Misfires

My friend Jason writes to share this column by the often wonderful Peggy Noonan who thinks that the intense interest in our political candidates' religious faith is both novel and unseemly. I think she's not quite correct on either count. She writes:

...we have come to an odd pass regarding candidates and their faith. It's not as if faith is unimportant, it's always important. But we are asking our political figures--mere flawed politicians--to put forward and talk about their faith to a degree that has become odd. We push them against the wall and do a kind of theological frisk on them. We didn't use to.

We have the emphasis wrong. It's out of kilter. And the result is a Mitt Romney being harassed on radio shows about the particulars of his faith, and Hillary Clinton--a new-class yuppie attorney and board member--announcing how important her Methodist faith is and how much she loves wearing her diamond cross. For all I know, for all you know, it is true. But there is about it an air of patronizing the rubes and boobs.

No one cared, really, that Richard Nixon was a Quaker. They may have been confused by it, but they weren't upset. His vice president, Spiro Agnew, was not Greek Orthodox but Episcopalian. Nobody much noticed. Nelson Rockefeller of New York was not an Episcopalian but a Baptist. Do you know what Lyndon Johnson's religion was? He was a member of the Disciples of Christ, but in what appeared to be the same way he was a member of the American Legion: You're in politics, you join things. Hubert Humphrey was born Lutheran, attended Methodist churches, and was rumored to be a Congregationalist. This didn't quite reach the level of mystery because nobody quite cared.

If we didn't care it was because no one thought that most politicians took their faith too seriously. We didn't think that their religious beliefs would make any substantive difference in how they governed. Moreover, we didn't care too much because everyone shared a common value system. Almost every candidate for president was a protestant until Jack Kennedy in 1960 and then there was a lot of concern about his Catholicism.

We should also note that many of the people who are making an issue of Romney's Mormonism or Huckabee's evangelicalism are opponents, or potential opponents, hoping to make these men look weird or otherwise attempting to drive a wedge between the candidate and the electorate. On the other hand, those who point to Hillary's manifestations of faith are often trying to make her look mainstream so that religious voters don't shun her.

In any event, on the question whether a candidate's religious assumptions should be talked about during a campaign, of course they should. The problem isn't that candidates are being asked about their faith, it's that the questions they're being asked are often about trivial aspects of their beliefs. They're too frequently being asked questions by people who themselves lack a fundamental understanding of the significance of religion in a believer's life and unfortunately that tends to cheapen the discourse.

One's religious convictions shape who a person is. A man who believes that Armageddon is just aound the corner may govern very differently than someone who doesn't believe Armageddon is going to happen at all. A man who believes we have an obligation imposed by God to work for peace, preserve our natural lands and help the poor is going to be a very different president than one who believes that God helps those who help themselves. A man whose belief in a personal God leads him to be pro-life and in favor of traditional marriage is probably going to make different appointments to the Supreme Court than someone whose concept of God is vaguely deistic.

I wonder if Ms Noonan has really thought this matter of the role of religion in a political campaign through very far. Suppose the Muslim congressman from Minnesota, Keith Ellison, were to run for nationwide office. Would Ms Noonan think then that certain inquiries as to his religious beliefs would be unseemly, out of place, or irrelevant? I doubt it.