immigration chart 1By: Daniel Horowitz

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Here are three charts that demonstrate just how absurd the elitist premise is as it relates to our immigration system. It is incontrovertibly clear that America has never seen anything close to the transformational degree of immigration we’ve had over the past couple of decades, and to an even larger extent, the projected trajectory of the next half-century.

Chart 1: Record Immigration on Top of Record Immigration

If one were to spend an entire lifetime in the sterile confines of Washington policy briefings, they would come away with the impression that this country admits very few immigrants.  After all, everyone in Washington believes that immigration must be vastly increased across the board.

However, the reality cannot be further from the truth and is evident to anyone who steps outside the insular world of the political elites. For most Americans, stories like the Wichita, Kansas school district, where 81 languages are spoken as a result of the massive influx of immigrants and refugees, is not some anomalous hype; it is a reminder that America is no longer the melting pot that has made this country great.

immigration chart 2

One of the stalest of stale bromides among the political class is that “we are a nation of immigrants.” As Mark Levin recently clarified, “we are not a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of citizens.” Only a country in its initial stages is primarily a country of immigrants. Obviously, we welcome immigrants to become part of the melting pot and become citizens, but the notion that America was a nation of immigrants as an end to itself is simply not true.

At no point in our history did America even come close to accepting this many immigrants over such a short period of time.

At no point in our history did America even come close to accepting this many immigrants over such a short period of time. Over the 25-year period from 1989-2013, the U.S. has admitted 25.3 million immigrants.  During a comparable 25-year period at the height of the Great Wave, from 1900-1924, only 16.8 million green cards were issued.  And remember, this period was followed by several decades of very low immigration, which one could argue helped contribute to the successful assimilation of the immigrants from the turn of the century.  It’s no wonder none other than Harry Reid was appalled by the unprecedented level of immigration back in 1993.  Yet, 22 million immigrants and 12-15 illegal aliens later, he is completely silent.   

Even as a percentage of the total population, we are approaching the all-time highest level of foreign-born residents – a level that was only seen when the country was still young and taking root.  But over the next few decades, the level of immigration will rise so precipitously that nearly one in every five residents will be an immigrant. 

Moreover, a number of individual states already have over 20% foreign born population, with California topping 27%.  Some of these states could easily become majority foreign born by 2060.

Remember, this projection is all based on the current trajectory under existing law – assuming no “gang of 8 style” amnesty bill passes Congress to double immigration and grow chain migration through amnesty of illegal immigrants.  After the more successful first great wave of immigration, Congress enacted a near complete shutoff of immigration for a few decades.  Nobody is advocating that now, but the political class wants to double or triple the current baseline.  Were something like that to become reality, the 2060 scenario will play out much earlier than predicted.  Nobody in the political class will ever offer a coherent understanding of how this eventuality will preserve America as a harmonious society.

Chart 2: Explosion of Hispanic Immigration

The apologists for illegal immigration often assert that the crisis is the result of a “broken immigration system” and no viable path to legal immigration.  What they glaringly omit is that the primary source of illegal immigration is from Mexico and Latin American countries – the region that has benefited from our legal immigration system in an unparalleled way.   In fact, 50% of all immigrants since 1965 have come from Latin America–29% from Mexico alone.  Over the past 44 years, 6.65 million people have emigrated from Mexico legally compared to 4.5 million who emigrated from Italy – the previous record-breaking country of origin – from 1880-1929.  

immigration chart 3


The Hispanic share of the American population has gone from just 3.5% in 1960 and 8.8% in 1990 to 17.4% today, topping out at 56 million in raw numbers.  According to the Census, by 2060 that number will reach 28.6% of the population.  Among those under 18 years of age, Hispanics will then account for 33% of youth.  That is one out of every three individuals.  Hispanics already comprise 39% of California’s population and are expected to become an absolute majority between 2050-2060.  Again, this is under current trajectory with existing law, not the suggested path of the political elites. 

While the Hispanic culture, much like other great civilizations helps enrich this country, no other group has ever been granted this degree of destiny over the future of the country.  This is not even a salad bowl anymore, much less a melting pot.  This is not diversity; it’s an irrevocable transformation of America.  Yet, among the political class there is near unanimity of opinion that this eventuality is not enough.

Has anyone explained what these numbers will look like in a few decades under the current trajectory?

The cost of unprecedented immigration on our school system is incalculable.  According to a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a record 61.8 million, or 1 in 5 U.S. residents, speak a language other than English at home.  Thirty-seven million residents speak Spanish at home and there are 708 counties where more than 10% of the population speaks Spanish at home.  Another recent Pew study shows that in 17 states Latino children account for over 20% of the kindergarten enrollment in public schools.  California Governor Jerry Brown claims that 30% of schoolchildren in his state are either “undocumented or don’t speak English.” 

Has anyone explained what these numbers will look like in a few decades under the current trajectory? Has anyone ascertained the consequences of accelerating that trend line by passing more open borders legislation?

In 2001, Michael Barone, then an advocate for more liberal immigration policies, predicted that Hispanics would become assimilated and economically successful like the Italians and eastern European immigrants of a century ago.  Last year, he recanted that prediction, noting that the rationale for most immigration from Mexico, coupled with the new policies of special privileged minority status, have worked against his previously held assumption. 

While his observations are astute and undoubtedly accurate, it is also true that numbers matter.  And at some point the sheer number of immigrants clustered from any single region creates a phenomenon of reverse assimilation.

Chart 3: America Admits 20% of the World’s International Migrants

The U.S. takes in a lot of immigrants, but how do they stack up against other countries?  Pew has the numbers based on 2010 data and it is clear that not only does the U.S. admit more immigrants than any other country, it takes in 20% of all international migrants, even though the U.S. comprises just 4% of the global population. 

immigration chart 4


What the political elites will never understand is that America is not merely a labor market or a spreadsheet of GDP projections.  America is a nation of citizens united by a common cause in pursuit of shared values. 

When the country was founded, George Washington always spoke of a nation of citizens united behind a common culture and a common cause in pursuit of liberty.  This desire was punctuated by a series of letters Washington wrote to religious minority groups (Catholics, Jews, and some Protestant denominations), culminating with his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, when he noted that all citizens of the United States “possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.”

When immigration policy is prosecuted in such an impetuous, irresponsible, and precipitous fashion that there is no longer a common cause – that there is no longer patriotic assimilation – the America George Washington sought to establish will no longer exist.

With an ideal antithetical to the multiculturalism and balkanization of today’s progressive America, Washington laid out a vision of American citizenship and pride of patriotism as follows in his Farwell address:

“Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

Immigration, especially at this juncture in time, when followed prudently and gradually can enrich this culture of common cause in pursuit of liberty.  But when immigration policy is prosecuted in such an impetuous, irresponsible, and precipitous fashion that there is no longer a common cause – that there is no longer patriotic assimilation – the America George Washington sought to establish will no longer exist.

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Daniel Horowitz is the Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.