Immigration Restriction: A Positive Agenda

By John Vinson
Volume 30, Number 1 (Fall 2019)
Issue theme: "John Tanton: His Life and Legacy (1934-2019)"

Ending mass immigration is a negative action for a positive purpose. Its goal is to pursue and maintain a good and just American society, one that will provide harmony, freedom, general prosperity, and a sustainable quality of life.

Harmony is a great blessing to any society. It means that people can live and work together without constant hostility and strife. For this to happen, a common culture with common values is essential. Founding Father John Jay recognized this reality when he noted at the beginning of our country:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.1

Mass immigration, and the multiculturalism that inevitably follows in its wake, make the unity described by Jay—and its attendant harmony—impossible. To hide this obvious reality, immigrationists parrot the Big Lie that “diversity is our strength.” In truth it is only the strength of those who push this propagandistic slogan on the rest of us. It is the strength of profiteers seeking cheap labor; the strength of political and ethnic interests who want more numerical clout for their respective groups; and the strength of radicals who want to overturn American society for their evil purposes.

One supporter of diversity is Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, this in spite of the fact that his research shows that diversity is destroying the cohesion of communities across the country. You can have harmony, or you can have multicultural diversity, but you can’t have them both.2

Freedom, as our founders understood, also depends in a society unified by common values, particularly those values necessary for the maintenance of liberty, such as personal responsibility and respect for the rule of law. Today, thanks to mass immigration, we have a large and growing number of people from countries where our concept of freedom is little understood. And as more keep coming, the less likely it is that they will assimilate to our viewpoints.

Furthermore, the influx increases the division and divisiveness that undermine our unity. As voluntary cooperation among people becomes more difficult, government will see the need—and opportunity—to step in as an arbiter. As government grows more powerful to keep all the “diversity” from coming apart, freedom will decrease.

General prosperity, or our middle-class American economy, is one of our country’s greatest achievements. Unlike many countries in the world, we have not had great extremes of wealth and poverty. Our “American Dream” has offered hope of a decent living to the majority of our citizens,

But today mass immigration is undercutting our general prosperity by driving down wage levels, particularly for lower-income Americans. At the same time, cheap labor profiteers grow more wealthy. Slowly but surely, we are becoming a have and have-not society with a dwindling middle. What we should be aiming for is a high-wage society by limiting the labor supply. Reducing immigration is essential to that aim.

Mass immigration advocates disagree, and they have stables of well-paid economists who spin out “studies” touting the endless economic benefits of unending immigration. But what does the real world, as opposed to ivory tower speculation, reveal? Take the empirical example of California, the state with the highest number and percentage of immigrants.

Did immigration enrich the state, as the economists predicted? Quite to the contrary. Before mass immigration took off, California had a solid middle-class economy. Now, after millions of middle-class Americans have fled the state, its economic profile increasingly resembles those of most of its immigrants’ Third World homelands—a relatively few wealthy people at the top, and many poor people at the bottom.3

Sustainable Quality of Life is maintaining a livable America from generation to generation. To do this, we must learn to live within our limits. If immigration continues as it is today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, our population of 329 million today will increase to 433 million by 2065, just 45 years from now. Of the projected increase of 111 million, according to the Pew Research Center, almost 90 percent of it—100 million people—will come from immigrants and their children.4

Economist Edwin Rubenstein has concluded that such a high rate of population growth eventually will outstrip our ability to maintain our infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, roads and highways, mass transit, electrical grids, and waste disposal. Also, we face limits of natural resources, one example being water. Today water shortages are a looming problem in our Southwest. As population skyrockets, this problem can only get worse.5

Rapid and large-scale population growth puts our natural environment at risk. The Center for American Progress observed—citing a study by Conservation Science Partners, that “human activities are causing the persistent and rapid loss of America’s natural areas.... If national trends continue, a South Dakota-sized expanse of forests, wetlands, and wild places in the continental United States will disappear by 2050.”6

Related issues are congestion and over-crowding. Americans value our heritage of a nation of wide-open spaces. Thus we react with dismay when we see the pictures of tightly packed people in countries like India and China. Some say that we needn’t worry about this because we still have vast areas of thinly populated land. They neglect to note, however, that it is sparsely populated for a reason. It largely consists of arid plains, mountain ranges, and tundra. In the areas more suitable for habitation, we see greater and greater congestion—a leading example being the maddening traffic gridlock around our big cities. Our American spirit will not fare well in an anthill existence.

Limiting immigration is common sense; it is patriotic and morally right. It is the only option if we truly want a country that is superior in liberty and livability to the countries sending us most of our immigrants. 








About the author

John Vinson is president of the American Immigration Control Foundation.