With the Republican Congress perilously close to funding President Obama’s unlawful mass amnesty, and amid Democrats’ increasingly strident opposition to any border controls, recently-released Census data for 2013 underscore the dangers posed by unlimited immigration of the poor into our country.
The figures show that decades of unchecked immigration (illegal and legal) of very poor people into America has made it impossible for us to reduce our poverty rate and is increasing U.S. income inequality.
Consider the last half-century: we have enjoyed unimaginable technological progress, we have more people going to college and many more women in the workforce. We have also spent more than $20 trillion in a “war on poverty.” But, incredibly, the poverty rate sits just where it was in 1966, and the total number of poor people is dramatically higher than it was back then.
In other words, our immigration policy is to import poverty. It’s insanity.
Let’s look at a few figures. In the last 35 years, the foreign-born population has doubled and the number of people in poverty is up 80%. What a coincidence.
How have Hispanics, the biggest immigrant group in recent decades, been doing? Since the Census Bureau first began recording Hispanic data in 1972, the poverty rate for Hispanics has risen, not fallen. Both the rate of Hispanic poverty and the total number of Hispanics in poverty in the United States have risen over the last four decades.
What’s more, as Pew Research noted earlier this year, with the U.S. Hispanic population having quintupled since 1972, a majority of the increase in people living in poverty since then has come from Hispanics.
That should not surprise us, given how poor most entrants to our country are. Census Bureau figures confirm that median household income when the householder is not a citizen is significantly lower than for other households.
Even Joe Biden’s former Chief Economist admitted, as he wrote in the New York Times last fall, that immigrants to the U.S. “have higher-than-average poverty rates.”
It’s no surprise, then, that the Bureau finds that income inequality has increased since 1999. The foreign-born population has risen more than 50% in that time.
Of course, we need to take all poverty statistics with more than a grain of salt, as the measure seems designed by government officials to exaggerate the number of people declared poor. Incredibly, this measure – the government’s leading measure of poverty – does not count the value of food stamps (SNAP), Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, or the earned income tax credit! Still, as the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector points out, the Census data are a good measure of rates of self-sufficiency over time.
The question for open borders politicians and, ultimately, for voters, is this: How does importing millions of very poor and minimally-educated people into the United States help America’s existing poor and middle-class families? It seems that it does not.
The poverty rate of whites is actually higher now than it was in 1964, the unemployment rate for African-Americans age 16-19 who are actively looking for work exceeds 30%, and more than one in four African-Americans are living in poverty. Wages for almost all Americans are stagnant.
Meanwhile, we’ve put $18 trillion on the national credit card, and the Congressional Budget Office projects Medicaid spending will increase 15% this year, while the economy will grow a paltry 2%.
Yet the pace of newcomers is expected to increase in coming years, even before considering the massive magnet of Obama’s unlawful amnesty. The Congressional Research Service reported recently that the foreign-born population, which has more than tripled since 1970 to 41 million people, will blow past 58 million just eight years from now, and perhaps approach 70 million if “comprehensive immigration reform” becomes law.
As the Census data show, this will mean more people in poverty and greater inequality, and it will increase the constituency dependent on Big Government welfare programs.
It’s essential that the American people make the 2016 primaries and general election a referendum on unlimited immigration of the poor into our country. How about we help the 45 million poor people already here escape poverty before we import millions more?
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom