Immigration In the News

Published in The Social Contract
Volume 2, Number 2 (Winter 1991-1992)
Issue theme: "Getting past the immigration taboo - an international perspective"

The Poles are bracing for a hefty influx of Russians trying to avoid the ramifications of economic hard times. The French are wary of the possible migration of Algerians that may come as a result of the election of an Islamic fundamentalist government in their homeland. Albanian pressures on the borders of Italy... Haitians on the high seas... The media is reporting the social and political ramifications of migratory movements of human population in other parts of the world. And, at last, the issue of how immigration affects the United States is being uncovered by the media as evidenced in, among other publications, The Kiplinger Washington Letter. The issue of the Letter dated December 27, 1991 gives a year-end view of changes to be expected in the United States because of increased immigration. The statistics, of course, are a distillation of those found in the 1990 US Census and they point to the demographic changes propelled by increased immigration that are beginning to impinge on such important issues as educational curricula, affirmative action in hiring, eligibility for human services, border control, official English, and other cultural and public policy matters. Detailing where immigrants are coming from and where they will settle, the Kiplinger Washington Editors describe immigrant pressures on California, Texas, New Mexico, Florida and New York. They predict the make-up of the US labor force in years to come and allude to the possibility of ethnic tensions rising as minorities compete for entry-level jobs. While encouraging entrepreneurs to capitalize on these changes, the authors of The Kilpinger Washington Letter are reminding us all that the changes taking place in the makeup of the American population will bring their share of problems. Can these prospective changes not also inspire a more thoughtful review of immigration policy? (On this topic, see also Leon Bouvier's essay beginning on page 98.)

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