You didn’t buy that nonsense about how the anxiety that many Americans feel over illegal immigration — most of which comes from Mexico — is all about respect for law and order and worry over how illegal immigrants supposedly take jobs, drain services, pollute the environment, wreck the schools, and diminish quality of life.
That’s just what people say at dinner parties and on talk radio, so as not to come off as paranoid or racist. You know very well what’s really driving the immigration debate.
It’s the demographics, stupid.
It’s about concerns that the United States is — because of immigration and birthrates — becoming Latinized to the point where whites will soon be a statistical minority.
One person who noticed that trend is the reader from California who wrote me a while back to say that he wants to live around people who resemble him.
“Most people want to live in a community, a nation, where the majority of people are like themselves, racially, ethnically, religiously, etc.,” he wrote. “That is reality, based on biology. It is never going to change.”
Then, he came out with it.
“I being a gringo want to live in a country where people like myself are the majority,” he wrote. “Therefore, I oppose ALL immigration to the U.S. because I don’t want my native country to become a non-white majority country. I have nothing against Latinos. They are fine people. They are just not my people.”
That gentleman might not want for the United States to become a “non-white majority country,” but it’s been clear for some time that this is exactly where we are headed. The only thing in dispute at the moment is how fast we’ll get there.
Recently, the Census Bureau released data showing that the growth of both the Hispanic and Asian populations has slowed — so much so that the government has to push back, by as much as a decade, estimates on when minorities will become the majority in the United States. The Census Bureau had projected this would happen in 2042, but now might have to push that back to 2050 or beyond. The reasons cited for the slowdown include a bad U.S. economy and a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Even so, according to the Census data, the nation’s minority population is still growing and represents more than a third — 34 percent — of the total U.S. population. One place you see that is by surveying America’s youth. Minorities account for 44 percent of children younger than 18 and 47 percent of children younger than the age of five.
That fact reveals another reason why these changing demographics matter: Minorities will make up the majority of future taxpayers, and so they’ll have to shoulder most of the burden of keeping Social Security solvent for Baby Boomers. If they have less education or skills, and earn lower wages, the whole system will be in difficulty.
But what was most interesting about the Census data was how quickly immigration restrictionists embraced it as a silver lining to the demographic cloud. Some people seem to be holding out hope that they can turn back the tide, and that more aggressive immigration crackdowns can return the United States to what it was fifty years ago.
Sorry, folks. No such luck. Ready or not, and like it or not, the country’s demographics will continue to change. And whether the tipping point comes in 2042, or 2050, or 2055 is irrelevant. These Census projections were always based on those who were already here as opposed to those expected to arrive in the coming decades. So unless we have a mass exodus of millions of people with no one coming to replace them, there is not much anyone can do to alter the nation’s destiny.
No worries. Yes, America is becoming more Latinized. But at the same time, Latinos are becoming more Americanized. As was the case of earlier waves of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland and other countries, over one or two generations, Latinos will learn English, adopt American values, and take their place in the mainstream. And with their optimism, family values, and work ethic, they are — far from being a threat to the country — likely to be one of its most valuable assets.