CUBANS on fragile rafts, Haitians on leaky boats, Chinese in rusty
freighters: Illegal immigrants are descending on the United States
from all directions. Where will it stop?
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," says Dan Stein, executive
director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Looking toward the Caribbean, Mr. Stein says: "There is great
pent-up demand to move to Florida. Not only in Cuba, but in Haiti,
in the Dominican Republican, Jamaica, most of the Caribbean
countries. And this pressure will continue to grow."
The increasing numbers knocking on America's golden door are
creating what Stein and a number of other analysts consider one of
the greatest foreign-policy challenges of the next 20 to 30 years.
As world population soars, ethnic rivalries increase, and the
competition for scarce resources -- especially food -- intensifies,
the appeal of the US standard of living will be irresistible to
growing millions in the third world. Europe, particularly Germany,
is experiencing similar pressure.
As Haitians and Cubans have shown, many immigrants will do almost
anything, pay any price, take virtually any risk, to reach the US.
And the numbers seeking US refuge are certain to grow.
Within the next 35 years, the population of Mexico, the No. 1
source of illegal migration to the US, is projected to rise by 57
percent, according to the World Bank. Haitian and Cuban populations
will each grow by 55 percent, Hondurans by 100 percent, Chinese by
25 percent, and Indians by 53 percent.
Not all immigration experts are as pessimistic as Stein. Jack
Martin, an analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, notes
that illegal migration from Central America has abated since civil
strife there decreased. Cuba and Haiti also may be special cases
where migration pressure could ease once dictators are replaced,
Mr. Martin says. But China may be a more serious problem,
especially with its population expected to climb to 1.5 billion by
2030, he says.
Martin cites a 2-1/2-year federal study by Ko-lin Chin, a
sociologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, on the smuggling
of Chinese from the Fuzhou region into the US. Approximately 10,000
Chinese from Fuzhou, guided by smugglers, arrive illegally in the
US each year. Even when captured, illegal Chinese aliens are
generally paroled into the community by immigration officials after
only a day or so of detention. Deterrence is minimal. …