Look at immigration policy to see our government respond to its masters

Summary: Immigration has been one of the most fascinating issues in American politics, revealing the influence of our elites over not just the government but also the experts and media that guide public policy. A new report shows past trends — revealing hidden causes of our problems — and points to a new future for America.  {2nd of 2 posts today}

Immigrants as fraction of US population
Graph of US Census data, prepared by the Center for Immigration Studies, April 2015. See Census graphs here.

Using data from US Census reports, the Center for Immigration Studies reveals some powerful trends (see their report for sources and methodology) …

  • Total net immigration (the difference between the number coming and going) will increase steadily over the next 45 years, totaling 64 million.
  • Absent a change in current policy, the Census Bureau projects that in 2023 the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) will reach 14.8% (51 million) of the total U.S. population — the highest share ever recorded in American history.
  • The bureau also projects that the immigrant population will grow nearly four times faster than the native-born population, reaching 15.8% (57 million) of the nation’s population in 2030, 17.1% (65 million) in 2040, and 18.8% (78 million) in 2060.
  • To place these numbers into historical context, as recently as 1990, immigrants were 7.9% (20 million) of the total U.S. population.
  • The nation’s total population will grow to 417 million by 2060 — 108 million more than in 2010. This increase is roughly equivalent to adding the combined populations of California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Massachusetts to the country.
  • The new projections indicate that, absent a change in immigration policy, immigrants who will arrive in the future plus their descendants will account for roughly three-fourths of future U.S. population increase.

What effect will this have on America?

“{this body of excess workers} forms a disposable industrial reserve army …  a mass of human material always ready for exploitation.”
— Marx’s Das Kapital, expanding upon Friedrich Engels’ insight. They got a few things right.

A four-fold increase in immigrants as a fraction of the total population creates a severe shock to America, even when occurring over 90 years. That would take us beyond the point at which massive popular opposition forced “closing the door” in the early 20th century: the Immigration Act of 1917, the Emergency Quota Act (1921), and the Immigration Act of 1924. FDR reduced immigration to trickle during the Great Depression.

With the supply of cheap labor restricted, the foundation for a large middle class was laid. Unions were able to gain traction and wages began the long rise. Of course corporations immediately began to undermine these accomplishments. By 1970 their efforts began to bear fruit: unions were weakening, immigrants began to grow as a fraction of the population, and wages stagnated. By 1990 unions were crushed, immigrants flooded in with few limitations, and real wages for the unskilled plummeted.  Supply rising faster than demand.

We can expect more of all three trends as the 1% continues to gain power.


This shows the bipartisan nature of US politics, the joy of centrist political gurus. Republicans love immigrants as cheap labor (social conservatives stay at the back of the policy bus). Democrats love immigrants as potential voters (those concerned about wages of the working poor stay at the back of the bus). Both respond to America’s stakeholders!

There is another dimension, untouchable in the news media, of little concern to the 1% (and hence to our leaders), but instinctively understood by most Americans: immigration is one of the great forces reshaping nations. People bring their culture with them. In small amounts this stimulates and strengthens societies able to absorb them — as the US has done better than almost anybody since Rome. At some point our ability to cope becomes overwhelmed. Social cohesion diminishes; social conflict often rises.

From Animal Farm, quote about equality

What about the views of American citizens?

Immigration provides a clear test case of US democracy in action. A fantastic increase in immigration took place with a ratio of favoring:opposing rising from 1:5 to 1:11. Eventually the rising numbers of immigrant families began to turn the numbers, combined with massive propaganda from the 1%’s advocates, so that the ratio is now 2:3.

Gallup: public opinion about Immigration
Gallup: public opinion about Immigration.

For More Information

For a detailed analysis of these matters see this excellent (as usual) report by the Congressional Research Service: — “U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends” by William A. Kandel (17 December 2014).  This CRS report has received much attention but says little (rise in immigration vs. stagnation of wages). Also, here are links to government studies about immigration and its effects.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See these other posts about immigration:

  1. Migration from the south into America: new people, new foods, new political systems.
  2. America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system.
  3. Immigration as a reverse election: our leaders get a new people.
  4. Do we have a shortage of workers, or just cheap employers? Part one.
  5. Do we have a shortage of workers, or just cheap employers? Part two.
  6. Must our population grow to ensure prosperity?  (spoiler: no.)

Jim Hightower on the two parties



3 thoughts on “Look at immigration policy to see our government respond to its masters”

  1. Immigration dynamics are changing. Illegal immigration has dropped and 2012 was the 1st year since 1910 that Asian immigration exceeded immigration from Latin America; http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/12/06/number-of-illegal-immigrants-in-us-drops-first-time-in-over-decade/
    I read somewhere that when a country reaches 25% of the GDP of another country the net flow of immigrants goes to zero. Mexico and much of Latin America is there already; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

    1. alberto,

      Immigration trends fluctuate over short term periods by many factors, especially relative economic growth. I suggest not drawing conclusions based on a few years.

      Also, I think the relevant metric is relative per capita GDP, not total GDP. Better yet, purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita GDP. Mexico’s is 1/3 of America’s — but net immigration continues.


  2. Pingback: Flygtning- og indvandreproblemet i USA - Boligdebatten.dk

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