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THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE

January 22, 2012

This past week the immigration “issue” resurfaced in the Republican Presidential Candidate debates and I was reminded of an article written originally for the New York Times and reprinted recently in the Strib.

Its title, Illegal Immigration is an Outdated Issue, caught my eye and as I read it, I took note of the premise that the immigration crises PEAKED in 2000 and a remarkable story has emerged of how immigrants of the 1990s have been assimilated into our culture. The article cited some incredible facts I had not heard before that supported the author’s suggestion that we need a shift in policy from keeping newcomers out to encouraging migrants and children to integrate into our society.

These were facts I had not heard before and although I did not do any in-depth research, I did do some preliminary fact-checking of sources and found enough validity to repeat below in hopes that at some point the GOP immigration dialog can be reviewed, evaluated, and altered as needed to reflect 2012 ad beyond.

  • The total number of immigrants, legal and illegal, arriving in 2000s grew at half the rate of that of the 1990s.
  • Since 2008, that population has shrunk to estimate 200,000 annually; and illegal immigrants from Asia have similarily dwindled.
  • Some experts estimate NET numbers of Mexicans settling in the US today at ZERO

An important reason cited for the effective disappearance of illegal border crossers from Mexico lies in Mexico’s birth rate.  It has plunged from 6.8 babies per mother in 1970 to 2.1 babies today-very close to that of the US birth rate.  And, that shrinking pool of young adults to meet labor needs has meant less competition for jobs and Mexico so impetus for immigration lessons.

The article continued to explore the facts regarding assimilation and they, too, provided some food for thought.

  • Although only a third of immigrants in US today have high school diplomas, by 2030, 80% of children under 10 yrs. old who arrived in the 1990s will have completed high school, and 18% will have bachelor degrees.
  • By 2030, immigrant home ownership will rise to 69% for Mexicans and 74% for all immigrants – well above the historical average of Americans.

 

The author sees America’s immigrants and their children as crucial to our future economic growth and offers serval suggestions to alter federal and state policies to focus on developing talents of immigrants and their children so America can remain the world’s richest and most powerful nation for decades to come.

Coming from a point of little real knowledge of the immigration situation, I am in no position to judge the validity of the needed changes, but a need to RETHINK and return to viewing immigrants as vast untapped human resources for our country seems worthwhile to examine.  It is what made us what we are, after all.  Changing the “Immigration Policy” to a revitalized “Immigrant Policy” may just make sense.

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