The Key To Growth Control: Immigration Limits

by Herbert Berry

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CHAPEL HILL -- So far, discussion about hyperdevelopment in North Carolina has been analogous to a debate about the size of the Band-Aid needed to mend a major wound; more definitive means are required. In order to avert urban sprawl, we must abate the inundation of people into the state -- all of whom very reasonably want housing and retail services -- by abating the inundation of people into the United States.
A large percentage of new North Carolina residents come from high-immigration states in the Eastern United States. As documented by the Washington, D.C.,-based Center for Immigration Studies, population charts of these states show a large number of foreign-born people moving in, and a simultaneous exodus of citizens, many of them into the Carolinas and Georgia.
Those who leave say they are moving away from high levels of congestion. They have no desire to abandon one congested area for another one, and express a sense of betrayal when they realize what is, indeed, happening to them.
The primer of this wanderlust, with its collateral national instability (cherished by real estate agents and developers), is flight from the consequences of overimmigration. This is also occurring in California, where native Californians are fleeing to neighboring states in record numbers while a deluge of legal and illegal immigrants floods into their state.

"Immigration is a national issue, but many of the national legislators have been 'bought.' "


Major upheavals are happening while the two parties are wrangling over the president's biological urges.
Immigration is a national issue, but many of the national legislators have been "bought." Although poll after poll indicates that most Americans would like to see immigration reduced to traditional levels (about 250,000 a year), present immigration policy is dictated by a mix of industries that benefit from cheap labor, 15,000 immigration lawyers, and a host of intellectuals doing penance for the nation's past sins, believing that bringing in annually 1 million of the world's 4 billion poor will reduce world poverty.
The logical error in the safety valve argument is vividly illustrated by the environmental writer Roy Beck, who offers a marbles-in-the-jar metaphor. If a jar contains billions of marbles, removing 1 million each year will not make it a more comfortable place very soon. As Beck relates, "The size and shape of the United States doesn't just happen. Immigration policy plays a major role in inflating the level of traffic congestion, of overcrowding in our schools, of urban sprawl and of the destruction of natural habitat. Congress has its hand on the lever that largely determines whether America remains in a form we knew, or is filled and distorted into something beyond recognition."
For over a decade immigration has posited a moral dilemma for me, an immigrant, but I concluded that at an awesome party someone must close the door if the gathering is not to turn into an awesome riot. The statistics overwhelmingly justify immigration reduction. Consider these figures from the Center for Immigration Studies: The number of immigrants living here has almost tripled since 1970, from 9.6 million to 26.3 million.
The immigrant population is growing 6.5 times faster than the native-born population, slightly over 4 percent per year compared to .6 percent per year for natives.
As a percentage of the U.S. population, immigrants have more than doubled, from 4.8 percent in 1970 to 9.8 percent in 1998. Immigration has become the determinate factor in population growth, as immigration and births to immigrants have been equal to 70 percent of the increase in the U.S. population in the 1990s.
Immigration has significantly increased the size of the school-age population.
Immigration has dramatically increased the supply of workers with very low levels of education. The poverty rate for immigrants is nearly 50 percent higher than that of natives, with immigrants accounting for one in seven persons living in poverty. If the children (ages 17 and under) of immigrants are also included, then immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for one in five persons living in poverty (22 percent). As a consequence, the proportion of immigrant households receiving welfare is 30 to 50 percent higher than that of natives.
Dan Stein, the executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (called FAIR), which has devoted itself for 20 years to fair reductions of immigration, writes: "The corrupt Mexican government and its drug cartel allies now actively interfere with U.S. border operations; they seek to influence U.S. domestic affairs and U.S. elections. Immigration lawyers are multiplying faster than the number of illegal aliens in federal prisons. Huge industries are recruiting foreign and illegal workers in greater numbers than ever. And big corporations that use illegal and foreign labor are making lavish political contributions and hiring influential Washington lobbyists."
Economist Joseph L. Daleiden recently pointed out that calling immigration reduction advocates "xenophobes" is like saying that anyone who does not want 10 children is antichildren. I don't think even Emma Lazarus, the poet who penned the welcoming verse at the Statue of Liberty, would consider it rational or moral to import the world's poor into a nation that already contains large pockets of them.
Herbert Berry, Ph.D., is president of North Carolina for Immigration Control.


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