Get Invoved with WCTM:
In Praise of Limiting Immigration

In Praise of Limiting Immigration

Through most of human history, immigration has meant conquest and sometimes elimination of earlier peoples. Going way back, Neanderthal humans became extinct about 30,000 years ago, shortly after modern humans arrived in Europe and likely pushed them. England was populated by successive waves of Viking invaders which came every 30 years or so and enslaved or killed descendants of the previous wave of invaders. That changed in 1066 when William the Conqueror’s invasion stuck and produced modern England without further immigration by force of arms. In both North and South America, arrivals of European conquerors and immigrants were a long movie disaster for peoples who had populated the Americas for thousands of years before 1492. Closer to home, white Southerners took Texas from Mexico in an 1836 war, and there is an ongoing, somewhat ironic and peaceful, “reconquista” as immigrants from Mexico and their children make Texas more Hispanic. The 2010 United States census showed that Texas’ population increased by 4.3 million people from 2000 to 2010, and 2.8 million, or about 65%, of the added population were Hispanic. That census showed 38% of Dallas County’s population as Hispanic, up from 30% in 2000. I do voluntary tutoring in a Dallas public school where almost all the students are of Mexican descent, and Dallas public schools overall are majority Hispanic.

Our culture prides itself as an energetic, productive rainbow nation created by brave people from all over the world. We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants, but the Statue of Liberty’s invitation – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” – no longer works for America. More people bring more stresses on America’s already over-burdened natural systems – land, water, and air. Smart public policy should discourage population growth, and cutting immigration numbers is one way to do that. I say this at the risk of seeming to kick away the ladder once my people climbed it, for my ancestors all fled want and danger in their home countries. My German great-grandfather came here as a 16-year-old stowaway fleeing the Kaiser’s army; he then fathered 16 Texas children. My Italian great-grandfather fled Genoa to escape jail and happily produced 16 legitimate children in Louisiana. My Swedish great-grandparents immigrated because they were hungry in Malmo without good prospects; they got cheap land in Texas, farmed, and parented ten kids. When those folks arrived in the mid and late 1800s, this country was lightly populated, and native Americans had mostly been pushed aside or killed. However, the situation today is very different; resources are limited in different ways, and America can no longer absorb other nations’ surplus populations. For backup facts, Al Gore’s youth reader version of “An Inconvenient Truth” makes a compelling, simplified case that human activities, and too many people, have already changed the world’s natural systems and endangered our civilization.

We may feel sympathy for people in failing states which cannot provide a decent life for their citizens, but we should no longer accept their surplus people. Just yesterday, the United States received a chilling reminder of the issues facing Mexico just a few dozen miles south of the border.  It’s a country wracked by violence and its economy does not support Mexico’s growing population very well, which generates powerful, quite understandable incentives for impoverished Mexicans to cross the border and seek a better life in America. But our government protects American citizens; Mexico needs to solve its own problems for its own people. We should slow and then reverse domestic population growth, not take on the results of any other country’s high birth rates and inefficiency. One obvious step is mustering enough resources to secure United States’ borders. A second is diminishing the incentives for people to come here illegally; a national identity card that employers must review and verify before hiring anyone would dampen the economic draw. Regrettably, a compulsory identify card will allow more privacy intrusions on everyone, but that will be less important longterm than reducing illegal immigration.

Image by Atilin (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


No comments yet.

Add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe to Newsletter