COMMENTARY: by NPG President Donald Mann
Forty years ago, when NPG was just getting started and the U.S. was reveling in its “boom years,” California was held up as the model state.
Americans in search of “the good life” were flocking to the west coast in droves. They were lured by a great climate and a surging economy – and the new national mantra became “as California goes, so goes the nation.”
From 1970 until today, California’s population has soared from 19.9 million to 38.2 million. That huge population increase in only four decades – fed by people moving there from other states as well as a surge of both legal and illegal immigrants – has created huge troubles.
Current problems that are spinning out of control in California include a free-spending government that has amassed huge state deficits, high taxes that are driving businesses out of the state, an education system that long ago lost its status as the best in the nation, and fast-deteriorating roads and infrastructure which are now hard-pressed to serve so many people.
Today, the luster is definitely off the Golden State. It is no longer a dynamic paradise. Indeed, one California-based commentator recently noted that his once proud state is on the way to becoming like Greece.
In focusing on California’s present plight, Victor Davis Hanson, who wrote Mexifornia a number of years ago and presently serves as a historian at Stanford University, recently noted: “The once-utopian visions of 1970s California – unionized public employees, more state lands off-limits, more regulations, higher taxes on the wealthy, vastly expanded social services, de facto open borders – have at last mostly come true, but apparently not in the fashion anticipated by most Californians of those long-ago times.”
I bring California’s present perils to light because they serve as a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of the U.S. in the next 40 years. Without any major reforms in our population and immigration policies, America’s population is expected to grow to 438 million people by 2050 – less than 40 years from now. Our nation simply cannot absorb such a huge number of people.
Just as in Sacramento, our country is already at a major tipping point when it comes to massive debt. We can’t afford the luxury of continuing to fund education programs, social services and entitlements at the current rate. We are confronting the need to spend tens of trillions of dollars to fix our crumbling infrastructure and to build the new airports, highways, bridges, sewers, etc. necessary to accommodate tens of millions more people. A giant jump in population in such a short period of time will negatively impact America’s environment in dozens of ways. And like California today, large parts of our nation will definitely confront future water and energy crises. The list of forthcoming problems goes on and on.
At the crux of the problem for both California and the U.S. is immigration. Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) gets right to the heart of the problem when it proclaims that California has become the “‘state of immigration.” In its latest newsletter CAPS reported that: “More legal immigrants settle in California every year than any other state in the country, despite unemployment rates topping 30 percent in some parts of the state. In fact, 13 of the 15 cities with the highest unemployment in the country are in California. California actually has more unemployed than the entire population of neighboring state, New Mexico.”
California taxpayers today are paying a huge price and living with the consequences of their elected leaders being so accommodating to the flood of immigrants – especially illegals. In 2010, research showed that annual state and local expenditures for illegal aliens in California was $21.7 billion. The population growth triggered by such a large group will only exacerbate the state’s problems – and expenses.
The Public Policy Institute of California proclaims that: “According to 2009 estimates, 27% of Californians (9.9 million) are foreign-born, a higher proportion than in any other state (New York is second with 21%) and twice the national share (13%).”
And an article in SFGate.com notes that: “…over the past few years, more people have left California for other states than have come here, though foreign immigrants and natural increases due to births have kept the Golden State’s population on an upward trend to 38.8 million.”
In all, California’s current crises are a lesson for all of us. All demographic sources point to the fact that, left unchecked, immigration and immigration-related births are going to fuel the majority of U.S. population growth. If we truly want to leave future generations a livable and well-functioning nation, it is vital that we responsibly tackle this issue while we still can. Those who ignore the need to get our nation’s immigration under control now are only feeding a crisis that in the long run will make us all feel like we are living in California – and it is no longer paradise.
WHO COULD BE AGAINST THE COMMON SENSE POLICY OF E-VERIFY?
For all of us who accept mandatory use of E-Verify by every U.S. employer as a powerful blow to the “jobs magnet” that attracts hordes of illegal aliens to our country annually, it is quite disturbing to see double-talk politicians and the open-border lobby working so feverishly behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. to kill it.
Congressman Lamar Smith (R, TX) introduced H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act, last September. The bill attracted dozens of co-sponsors and received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee almost immediately. However, it has languished for months now in the bureaucratic morass of Congressional folly. It presently awaits action by the Committee on Ways and Means, yet Chairman David Camp (R, MI) has so far failed to call it up for discussion and a vote. The delay in advancing such worthwhile legislation only sows dismay among the American people who feel that there truly is a “ruling elite” which works in concert with Washington’s special interest groups and manipulates the legislative process.
The will of the American people is supposed to be the driving force behind our democracy. Four states – Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina and Mississippi – have already passed mandatory E-Verify laws for all their businesses and other states are considering similar action. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Arizona law, turning back a challenge from the Obama Administration.
NPG CALL TO ACTION: Passage of H.R. 2885, the Legal Workforce Act, ranks as one of NPG’s top legislative priorities in the 112th Congress. We urge all members to help move this legislation along by contacting their Congressman and asking him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor. The bill currently has 74 co-sponsors. Go to www.NPG.org to review the list of current co-sponsors who are working hard to make this legislation a reality. If you find that your Congressman is already backing this important bill, please call to say “Thank You” for the effort.
AN INSULT TO AMERICA’S TAXPAYERS
If you are just now getting around to filing your taxes this year you may not want to read this item.
The New York Times this past weekend carried a story about the brand-new immigration detention center which federal officials recently unveiled in Karnes County, TX. According to the Times: “The center is brightly painted and looks more like a school than a prison, with dormitory style rooms, a gym, a library, medical office and soccer field. Detainees can move around freely, exercise, watch TV and use computers.”
And people wonder why the illegals don’t go home!
WHEN YOU CAN’T GO OVER OR ACROSS – GO UNDER!
Every once in a while a small news story about the Department of Homeland Security discovering and shutting down a border tunnel appears in the news. With each action, we all breathe a sigh of relief that we’ve cut off another means of bringing in drugs, illegal immigrants (and possible terrorists) or weapons, and taken a major step forward in protecting our nation. However, what is rarely revealed is how sophisticated these tunnels have become in recent years.
More than 135 border tunnels have been discovered in the past decade with more than 100 since 2006. That spike in activity prompted the bi-partisan introduction of The Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2011, S. 1236, by Senators Diane Feinstein (D, CA) and John Kyl (R, AZ), which builds on and greatly strengthens earlier tunnel-related legislation that passed Congress in 2006. The good news is that this new bill passed the Senate by unanimous vote in late January and is now awaiting action in the U.S. House of Representatives.
S. 1236 provides law enforcement and prosecutors additional tools to locate tunnels, identify criminals and punish those involved in illegal activity. In commenting on passage of the bill, Senator Feinstein noted: “These passageways are much more than simple holes in the ground, some of them feature elevators, electric rail tracks, and even a hydraulically controlled steel door.”
NPG members are constantly eager to make sure that their Senators and Congressman hear their views on critical population and immigration issues, and rarely a month goes by where we are not sending hundreds – or indeed thousands – of citizen petitions to Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, we do not hear very often from elected leaders who do not share our views but we are always pleased to receive letters from those who are ready to work with us to advance our goals. Below are excerpts from two recent letters we received from members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Considering immigration reform more broadly, I believe new legislation should require illegal immigrants seeking a green card or citizenship to leave the United States and reapply in their home country. After illegal immigrants have reapplied, their petition would be placed at the ‘back of the line,’ behind all other legal immigrants’ petitions. Proposals like the ‘Z visa,’ which would have allowed an illegal immigrant to stay in America indefinitely through continual renewals, are not an effective way of dealing with the problem. They serve the same purpose as acquiring a green card, without having to leave the country or waiting at the end of the line. In my opinion, this approach amounts to amnesty.”
Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI)
“As you may know, the Justice Department has sued Arizona to stop its enforcement of immigration law. The Supreme Court of the United States will hear the case this year. In January 2012, I sent an amicus brief along with 55 Members of Congress to the Supreme Court in support of Arizona’s defense. Our brief makes clear that Arizona has the constitutional authority to implement policies, which mirror federal regulations in place that protect its borders and citizens.”
Congressman Tim Murphy (R, PA)
PUBLICITY: THE NEW STRATEGY FOR “DREAMers”
Q: What do you do if you are a young person in the U.S. illegally due to the actions of your parents years ago and are threatened with deportation?
A: You grab as much media publicity as you can so that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have to bend to public pressure to back off your case.
That’s the strategy outlined in a recent story in USA Today written by Alan Gomez about a newly-defined category of illegals called “DREAMers” – also identified as illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who could possibly qualify for exclusion from deportation if the DREAM Act passes Congress.
Gomez outlines how the trend for using local and national media to rally support for deportable young adults is growing and, in many cases, proving to be quite successful. Indeed, an entire network of national and local groups that work along these lines –including the National Immigrant Youth Alliance – are gaining traction with the end goal to make ICE delay deportations of DREAMers. It seems that the more you can get the word out to friends, local politicians and community organizers via social and local media (who can then “flood ICE with phone calls on behalf of people they think should not be deported”) the better.
Does it work? ICE won’t admit it does but Gomez notes that “the infrastructure behind the publicity machine has grown rapidly in recent years.”
Read the entire article at USAToday.com
CANADIANS AND BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP
The U.S. is not the only country where there is growing concern about foreigners taking advantage of current birthright citizenship laws.
A recent article in the Toronto Sun related how “Ottawa has discovered a number of unscrupulous immigration consultants in Hong Kong, who are coaching wealthy Chinese mainlanders about how to keep their pregnancies hidden while entering Canada on student or visitor visas.” Travelers are advised to “avoid any baby or maternity items in luggage, wear dark clothing going through customs to look slimmer, and arrive in Canada no later than in the seventh month of pregnancy are among the tips given." The article notes that once in Canada, the women go into hiding until they are due to give birth.
As in the U.S., babies born in Canada are considered citizens and “could return later in life as a student…and sponsor their parents under family reunification.”
Unlike the U.S. where the Obama Administration has turned a deaf ear to considering any changes in birthright citizenship laws, Canada is taking a firm position on this important issue. The Sun article notes that: “Immigration minister Jason Kenney admits his department isn’t sure how widespread the problem is but is considering citizenship law changes to prevent so-called anchor babies from becoming citizens.”
BILLIONS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE – JUST TO KEEP UP
What’s the cost of population growth?
When it comes to infrastructure improvements for the next 20 years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done an analysis of what we are facing and has come to this conclusion:
“The U.S. Chamber’s Transportation Performance Index shows that the steady decline in the quality of surface, air, and water transportation systems costs the economy $1 trillion a year in lost economic growth. In just over five years, U.S. infrastructure has plummeted from No. 1 to No. 15 in the World Economic Forum’s economic competitiveness ranking. Congested electricity bottlenecks result in power outages and power quality disturbances that cost the economy between $25 billion and $180 billion annually. Drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities. In addition, in September 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that over the next two decades the United States must spend nearly $390 billion to replace existing wastewater infrastructure systems and build new ones.”
With such massive costs already staring us in the face, it becomes more evident every day that our nation simply will not be able to afford another 130 million people in just 40 years. That alone is a powerful argument for taking steps today to rein in immigration-driven population growth.
WAITING FOR ARIZONA SUPREME COURT RULING
When a number of states decided to follow Arizona’s lead and pass strong laws related to illegal immigrants in their states, it resulted in numerous court challenges. Today, many of those challenges are on hold.
A recent article by the Associated Press stated that: “Portions of Alabama’s strict immigration law will remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its predecessor, the Arizona statute that ignited a national firestorm in the debate over illegal immigration.”
The AP noted on March 1 that: “A panel of three judges from an Atlanta federal appeals court decided Thursday to put off action on lawsuits against measures in Alabama and Georgia. Oral arguments are set for April 25 before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Arizona’s enforcement policy.”
States which have passed immigration laws modeled after Arizona’s include: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a final ruling on the Arizona law by the end of its term this summer and that ruling could set precedents for lower courts.
NPG agrees with those who condemn our national leaders for failing to address and pass a responsible overhaul of our nation’s immigration laws. We feel it should be up to our elected leaders in Washington – not the courts or the states – to shape our nation’s future immigration policies.
MORE “GREEN” FOR NEW YORK CITY
As “green thinking” has started to shape urban planning for old and new metropolitan areas, there are some definite environmental benefits in the works.
The New York Times last week reported that the Big Apple is taking a “creative step forward” in dealing with a major problem where, following a heavy rainfall, too much rain and sewage water (which share the same pipes) overwhelm the sewer system and discharge the overflow into local waterways – thus setting back efforts to meet the dictates of the Clean Water Act.
The city simply can’t afford to build two separate systems. However, it is launching a new $2.4 billion initiative which will be spent over 18 years to capture rainwater before it hits the sewers. The goal is to work with developers of new buildings, as well as some existing structures, to create rooftop gardens, make parking lots and other large paved surfaces more porous and create more street-side vegetation. Such efforts will be of partial help but the bulk of the dollars will go toward investing in infrastructure such as new storage tanks to capture a large amount of rainwater before it reaches the sewer system. Costs for the long term project would come from water rates and fees on developers of new buildings.
Environmental advances such as this are definitely a positive step to creating a better quality of life for future generations.
2012 POPULATION FACT SHEETS HEADING TO AMERICA’S CLASSROOMS
As NPG celebrates our 40th Anniversary year we are being more aggressive than ever in trying to get our student-focused 2012 Population Fact Sheets into the hands of young people in grades 7 through 12 all across America. Letters are now going out to more than 10,000 teachers nationwide inviting them to order as many copies as they need to provide each student our four-page summary of the critical population issue, how it affects them, and facts and graphs of population’s impact on their daily lives. Teachers who request fact sheets are also offered copies of our full-color NPG “It’s Your Future” Population Poster and their choice of our most popular NPG Forum Papers to assist them in preparing their lessons on this vital issue. We take great pride in the fact that, in the past two years, we have put more than 100,000 NPG Fact Sheets in America’s classrooms and look forward to greatly adding to that total in the coming months.
NPG VIDEO SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED
We have recently decided to extend the deadline for those wishing to create an NPG video as part of our scholarship competition this year. The new deadline for entries is June 30, 2012.
Our new Video Contest is open to students at the college level (as well as college-bound high school seniors) who are presented the following challenge:
Without critical change, U.S. population is project to grow to 438 million people in less than 40 years. Capture on film how this projected growth will negatively affect the United States socially, economically and environmentally. Submissions must be between 1 and 3 minutes.
A total of five scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 will be awarded to winners of the video competition. Winning entries will appear on NPG’s website and Facebook page, linked to our email-based NPG Journal, and posted to popular websites such as YouTube where they can gain widespread distribution.
If you know of a talented high school or college-aged student who may be interested in joining in this competition and potentially earning a scholarship, please direct them to our website, www.NPG.org, for full details.
“We hope that folks in Washington will recognize that there is a real crisis that they helped create, and it’s their lack of leadership that has gotten us to this point.”
Attorney Sam Brooke
Discussing legal challenge to Alabama law
“For many decades, the USA has needed a population policy. As emeriti, we three are old enough to have seen U.S. population more than double in our lifetimes. The cause of this increase when we were young was primarily the high fertility of U.S. born women. In recent decades population increase has been due mostly to immigration and the U.S. born children of immigrant women.
Whatever the causes, Congress should implement a national population policy so that Americans being born today, when they reach our age, do not see a U.S. population approaching a billion persons. In 1972 the distinguished Rockefeller Commission on Population and the American Future noted that they could see no ‘substantial benefits’ from further increases in the U.S. population. Now, more than 100 million additional Americans later, the same is true, only more so than ever.”
Ben Zuckerman, Emeritus Professor, Univ. of Calif., L.A.
Stuart Hurlbert, Emeritus Professor, San Diego State University
Otis Graham, Emeritus Professor, Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara
- As quoted in CAPS News, Fall 2011
“The whole state of Mexico is being controlled by drug cartels and all of the crime is coming across our border and Arizona is the gateway.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
WHY THE NPG JOURNAL?