Israel and the United States

By Ira Mehlman
Volume 1, Number 1 (Fall 1990)
Issue theme: "Inaugural issue"

Parts of the United States are currently undergoing a radical demographic and cultural transformation rarely experienced in the annals of human history. Demographers have documented that, as a result of large-scale immigration, California - the country's most populous state - will be composed of a majority of minorities by the first decade of the next century. Moreover, unlike the waves of immigration that transformed the major urban areas of the East Coast and Midwest in the early part of this century, the immigrants flooding into California do not share a common European heritage with the more established population.

Such dramatic demographic and cultural changes will undoubtedly produce, even under the best of circumstances, profound social changes. If current patterns persist, in which large numbers of Latin American and Southeast Asian immigrants continue to lag well behind the Anglo population educationally and economically, the changes are likely to cause severe stress on the social fabric of California and other parts of the country undergoing similar transformations.

As is the nature of social science, demographers and sociologists and immigration reform advocates are searching for some historical precedent to which they can compare the social changes now occurring in California. Because the Anglo population will shortly cease to be the majority in California and is unlikely to relinquish control of the state's economic infrastructure, some have warned that a form of American apartheid will develop. The white minority in South Africa controls most of the wealth and the economic infrastructure of the country. Whites enjoy better housing, education and a significantly higher standard of living than does the non-white majority. The same is likely to be true of California%

About the author

Ira Mehlman, who has lived and worked in Israel, is Director of Research and Publication for FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. This monograph was originally published by the 21st Century Fund.