My colleague Steve Camarota looked at the latest Census Bureau data and found that as of the end of last year, there were 61 million immigrants and their young children in the United States, accounting for one out of five people living in the country. (Including the young children is a way of getting at the share of immigrant families in the overall population.) Despite politicians’ constant emphasis on illegality, three-quarters of the total are legal immigrants and their young children.
This is a sharp break from the past; as recently as 1970, there were only 13.5 million immigrants and their young kids here, accounting for just one out of 15 residents. Look at this graph and explain to me how a policy that engineers a result this fundamental and astounding can be called “conservative”:
This is reckless and incautious, not sober and prudent.
The public didn’t need to see a graph to know there’s a problem. A new survey by a management consulting firm found that 61 percent of Americans agreed that “continued immigration into the country jeopardizes the United States.” All surveys find that a plurality or majority (depending on the wording) of Americans want less immigration. Among Republicans, Pew found that only 7 percent want increased immigration, making increased immigration as popular among Republicans as partial-birth abortion is among pro-lifers.
And yet, Trump is the only candidate calling for cuts in overall immigration – at least in writing, not yet before a national television audience. Cruz’s site says he’d “Halt any increases in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high.” That’s weak but still better than the rest of the field – Rubio still supports doubling legal immigration.
Maybe it’s no coincidence, then, that Trump and Cruz are the finalists for the nomination. ( Trump’s recent waffling on immigration undoubtedly has contributed to some voters’ second thoughts.) And the establishment’s years-long insistence that such mass immigration is “conservative” may be part of the reason for the weakening of the conservative brand.
It’s long past time for immigration moderation: “slowing the pace of new arrivals so that wages can rise, welfare rolls can shrink and the forces of assimilation can knit us all more closely together.”