Groups that want to reduce immigration warn of an unsustainable population surge
By Luke X. Martin
The Medill Reports (Northwestern Univ., March 2, 2010)
Some national groups advocating reduced immigration contend that the United States faces unsustainable population growth, due in part to illegal immigrants, that would lead to greater unemployment for legal workers.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau project a population of between 313 million and 552 million by 2050, up from the current 309 million.
'The whole society is negatively affected by population growth that can't be controlled,' said Dave Gorak, executive director of the LaValle, Wis.-based Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration.
Gorak cited statistics released by the census bureau in January of 2000 as cause for major concern. The projections include three sets of numbers: low, middle and high estimates, with the high projection estimating a population of nearly 1.2 billion by 2100.
'Infrastructure will creak under the weight of even more people,' said Rick Oltman, media director for Californians for Population Stabilization.
Rick Biesada, founder and director of the Chicago Minuteman Project, which advocates stricter border controls, agreed.
'Our government cant sustain them, we have a finite number of resources,' he said.
A 2008 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research center, showed unauthorized immigration has been on the decline. The center estimated that 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the United States in March 2008. The report said that 800,000 people entered the U.S. illegally each year between 2000 and 2004. That number had dropped to about 500,000 annually between 2005 and 2008, according to the report.
To some groups, though, these numbers don't mean much.
Oltman, of the California group, said he believes no one can monitor and track illegal immigration accurately. He also said he thinks the government and organizations like the Pew Center fudge on the numbers they do present.
'The goal has always been to bring in more [immigrants] legally or illegally,' he said, 'so business will have cheap labor and more consumers.'
Biesada, the Chicago Minuteman Project founder, said he, too, is skeptical of the statistics that show declining rates of unauthorized immigration.
He said he thinks the U.S. government releases lower immigration numbers to make itself appear tougher on immigration. In the process, he said, the interests of American workers are compromised.
Ultimately, the government needs to 'enforce our existing immigration laws and get these illegals out of our workforce,' said Gorak, of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration. 'Give American workers a crack at these jobs.'