Pressures Demand Immigration Reform

By Meyer, Cord | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 15, 1996 | Go to article overview

Pressures Demand Immigration Reform


Meyer, Cord, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The scale, depth and extent of the current immigration crisis in the United States is partly the result of the impact on American shores of worldwide population trends. In 1950, the world population was estimated at 2.5 billion people, but now the Census Bureau estimates the total human population at 5.8 billion, with little chance of stabilizing before reaching 10 billion.

This steadily expanding pressure on our Atlantic and Pacific coasts and on our Mexican border has had the effect of creating an estimated illegal immigrant population within the United States of 5.6 million people. About half originally arrived with tourist visas or as guest workers and then overstayed their visas to become illegal aliens, dependent on a wide variety of false documentation for job opportunities. One unfortunate result of these pressures is the fact that 25 percent of all American federal convicts are now immigrants -both legal and illegal - and we have increased the number of foreign-born prisoners in federal prisons by 625 percent in the last 15 years.

If we don't succeed in reducing drastically the growth of illegal immigration to this country, the Census Bureau projects for 2050 a total population in the United States of 392 million people. Already overcrowding in Florida and California has given the local population a taste of what may be in store for them in the future.

In fact, a recent Roper poll of 1,978 representative Americans showed that 83 percent want legal immigration much lower than the current 1 million per year. And the majority want immigration held to less than 300,000 per year. An interesting fact is that this poll showed that blacks, Democrats and Republicans were all in the 70 percent range in wanting immigration to be reduced to 300,000 per year, while even 52 percent of Hispanics favor this reduction.

In the face of this clear evidence of wide public support for reducing immigration, the House Agricultural Committee last week approved an amendment to the House Immigration bill that would grant temporary work visas to 250,000 foreign farm workers. The agricultural lobby, which is in favor of this amendment, is forced to concede that 50 percent of the 1.6 million seasonal farm worker are illegal aliens who hold false identification papers. Nonetheless, the agricultural lobby argues in favor of this amendment, while claiming that other proposed reforms in the immigration law threaten the interests of American farmers and ranchers.

Advocates of this guest worker amendment, including the agricultural lobby, argue that under their plan 25 percent of foreign workers' wages would be withheld until they returned home. …

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