Illegal immigrants are a minor annoyance; America’s shift towards European fertility is a catastrophe from which we may never recover. The demographic crisis isn’t at our borders but at home. It’s easy to blow off steam about illegals on the border, and tough to address the fundamentals. I’ve tried to do so in the past, for example here, but the real problems and prospective solutions don’t make easy sound-bites.
Just to make things clear: I want super-tough, restrictive immigration laws. I’d prefer a Canadian-style system that favors highly-educated immigrants with capital to invest. But I don’t think the best immigration law in the world is going to do much good.
The latest dip in fertility below replacement might be driven by economics, but the economics don’t appear to be getting any better.
Hispanics are increasing as a proportion of Americans NOT because they are inundating America’s borders but because they have more children than non-Hispanic Americans of European origin. That may be changing; American culture may succeed in corrupting Hispanics as effectively as it corrupted earlier waves of Catholic immigrants. Perhaps the Hispanic birth rate will shrink to the ambient American level, and we will all shrink together.
The Pew Research Center projects that the Hispanic proportion of the U.S. population will rise to 29% by 2050 while the non-Hispanic white proportion will fall to 47%, even though net immigration from Mexico turned negative in 2012.
Except for Hispanics and evangelical Protestants, America’s fertility rate during the 2000s wasn’t much different from Europe’s 1.5 children per female. The Hispanic rate appears to be falling, so the Pew forecast might be exaggerated. The evangelicals, meanwhile, are retaining perhaps a third of their young people. The millennial generation in the U.S. marries later, if at all, and has fewer children.