PROGRESSIVES FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
By Frosty Wooldridge
October 12, 2009
Last week, I sat down in Washington, DC with Leah Durant, Executive Director of “Progressives for Immigration reform.”
Together, Ms. Durant and I watched a sobering slide show by Dr. Jack Alpert on sustainability.
Later we discussed what we saw and what her organization strives to accomplish.
Ms. Durant served as an attorney with the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. She works for sustainable living initiatives within the U.S. and internationally. She earned a B.A. at the University of Maryland and a J.D. from the University Of Maryland School Of Law.
“Progressives for immigration reform is a non-profit organization that supports the principles of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair wages for America’s workforce,” states the PFIR website.
PFIR’s website includes information on all aspects of immigration. The Pulse Opinion Survey, conducted April 2009 revealed:
• 67 percent of liberals felt the level of population growth caused by immigration negatively impacts the quality of life in the U.S.
• 58 percent felt that current levels of immigration are harmful to the environment.
• 63 percent said that current levels of immigration hurts job prospects for American workers.
How does immigration impact American labor?
“The number of immigrants living and working in the United States is growing at an unprecedented rate,” said Durant. “Statistics issued by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 1.6 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year, with the U.S. netting somewhere around 1.25 million new immigrants yearly. The large number of new immigrants added to the workforce through legal and legal immigration has major implications on the availability of jobs for many Americans. Unemployment rates in the U.S. are now the highest in over 16 years. Statistics issued by the Bureau of Labor for January 2009, reveal a national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, with 11.6 million Americans reportedly out of work. (Currently at 9.6 percent and 15 million Americans out of work.)
“In the midst of the current economic crisis, growing numbers of Americans are being displaced by lower cost legal and illegal immigrant workers. Many businesses take advantage of illegal and cheap foreign labor as a way of reducing costs and increasing profits.
“Of particular concern is the impact that continued large-scale importation of workers has on those Americans at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is collected monthly by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Fiscal Year 2008, 1.45 million new immigrants gained legal authorization to work in the United States. In addition to these new, legal foreign workers, The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that during that same year, 7.7 million illegal aliens were employed in the United States. Nationally, some estimates for the number of American workers displaced by immigration each year are as high as two million.
“Adding millions of newcomers to the work force creates unfair competition and reduces wages and the availability of jobs for all workers. It is essential that immigration policy consider the impacts that mass immigration has on native-born and legal American workers.”
How Does Immigration Impact Growth?
“The nation’s ongoing debate over the number of legal and illegal immigrants entering the country each year has raised legitimate questions about the sustainability of current U.S. immigration policies and the size of nation we wish to become,” said PFIR. “Although political sensitivity has often curtailed the discussion of the impact that immigration has on U.S. population size, the fact is that immigration accounts for 63% of our nation’s population growth. For over 30 years, immigration has served as the largest contributor to the increase in U.S. population. As a direct result of its immigration policies, the United States is now the third most populous nation in the entire world and grows at a rate of more than twice that of China. In fact, the United States has the fastest population growth of any industrialized nation, and is surpassed only by India and Nigeria.
“The United States currently adds 1.25 million immigrants (net) to its population every year. Without a return to more traditional levels of immigration, somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 per year, U.S. population is slated to increase from 307 million today to 468 million by the year 2060.
“Public opinion polls demonstrate that stabilizing the size of U.S. population is a concept that most Americans are willing to embrace. Whether America achieves a sustainable population will be determined by the responsibility of the actions we take as a nation. In order to attain the goal of population stability, the U.S. must take control of its immigration system by implementing policies having a positive impact on U.S. population growth. This goal can be reached only by curtailing large-scale immigration and ending the policies of chain-migration, which serve as the source of our rampant growth.”
How Does Immigration Impact The Environment?
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the vast majority of population growth in the United States is the result of legal and illegal immigration, plus the higher than replacement fertility rates of most recent immigrants,” said PFIR. “Due in large part to our present growth-rate of 1.1% per year, immigration-driven growth has huge implications for the future of environmental conservation. As the United States careens toward a population surpassing 400 million by mid-century, it becomes painfully clear that achieving our environmental objectives will largely hinge upon the immigration policies we chose to enact.
“Because of the need to provide for rampant population growth, the United States has experienced accelerated ground water degradation, pollution, the destruction of forests, national parks and natural habitats, along with the over-consumption of precious natural resources. The good news is that by regaining control of its immigration policy, America has the ability to reverse this threatening trend. By taking steps to reduce immigration, America can reduce our population’s devastating impacts on the environment before it is too late.”
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We enjoy a choice in 2009. If we continue on our current path, the choice will be taken from us. Please visit www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org and take action for all Americans and future generations.
Listen to Frosty Wooldridge on Wednesdays as he interviews top national leaders on his radio show "Connecting the Dots" at www.themicroeffect.com at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. Adjust tuning in to your time zone.
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