Jewish Groups Begin To Shift On Immigration Policy
Jewish groups in America are beginning to debate whether a continued high level of immigration poses problems that are too great.
Although no Jewish agency has formally switched sides, the professional head of one major national organization, who requested anonymity, told the Forward: "It seems that Jewish opinions are changing and trending toward more concern about security issues than in the past."
The AJCommittee's 2001 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion showed a stark drop in support for maintaining current immigration numbers. In 2001, 49% of those polled wanted immigration numbers decreased, compared to 27% the year before.
Among the advocates of immigration restrictions who have been seeking inroads in the Jewish community are Stephen Steinlight, editor of South Asia in Review and a onetime AJCommittee director of national affairs; Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform in Washington, and Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Speaking of the Center for Immigration Studies, they have a new report out entitled "Immigration Numbers Continue to Climb". Here are some items from the summary of the report.
- There is no evidence that the economic slowdown that began in 2000 or the
terrorist attacks in 2001 has significantly slowed the rate of immigration.
More than 3.3 million legal and illegal immigrants entered the country between
January 2000 and March 2002.
- An immigrant population of 33.1 million is historically unprecedented. It
is more than twice the number (13.5 million) reached in 1910 during the
previous great wave of immigration.
- Immigration has become the determinate factor in U.S. population growth.
The arrival of over 3 million legal and illegal immigrants, coupled with 1.5
million births to immigrant women over the last two years, accounts for nearly
90 percent of U.S. population growth since the 2000 census.
- While immigration has a dramatic effect on the overall size of the U.S.
population, it has had a relatively modest effect on the age structure. The
nearly 16 million immigrants who arrived in the United States since 1990 have
lowered the average age in the United States by only four months.
- The percentage of immigrants without a high school diploma is 30 percent,
more than three-and-a-half times the rate for natives. Since 1990 immigration
has increased the number of high school dropouts in the labor force by 21
percent while increasing the supply of all other workers by 5 percent.
- The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is
two-thirds higher than that of natives and their children, 17.6 percent versus
10.6 percent for natives.
- The proportion of immigrant headed households using at least one major
welfare program is 24.5 percent compared 16.3 percent for native households.
- One-third of immigrants do not have health insurance — two-and-one-half
times the rate for natives, and new immigrants and their U.S.-born children
account for 95 percent of the increase in the uninsured population since 1989.
Read the full text of the report.
Since they make less money, pay less taxes, demand more government services, and are not lowering the average age of the country by much they are not going to be a solution to the demographic problem of an increasing ratio of retired people to working people. In fact, as an additional group that needs more government help they will make the long term fiscal problems of supporting old people even worse.
Yes, cheap labor is a big motive. Immigration of low skilled people is a classic example of a case where the price of labor does not include external costs that are paid by others. Someone paids to get cheap gardening services and in the process inflicts on his neighbors higher taxes to pay for school, medical care, and other costs that immigrants rack up for the rest of us that are not paid for by the small amount of taxes that the immigrant gardener pays.
A couple of other motivations: Some Libertarians have an ideological belief in open borders as a matter of faith that not open to rational analysis of costs and benefits. Also, Leftists desire more poor folks to come in as immigrants who will eventually become registered Democrats and vote for the Welfare State.
With anything going wrong on a massive scale there are usually several reasons for the stupidity that allows it to continue.