Op-Ed: Unrestricted Immigration Is a Real Problem

Pretending it’s not happening will only make the consequences worse

By Steven A. Camarota on January 9, 2024

The Biden administration’s continuing effort to conceal or lie about the historic rates of immigration into the country is fast becoming a crisis in its own right—a socially-toxic version of The Emperor’s New Clothes. “It’s not unusual,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre casually remarked in late December, a month that saw the highest number of recorded migrant encounters in U.S. history. The Department of Homeland Security finally disclosed last Friday that more than 2.3 million migrants have been released into the country during the administration’s time in office.

From Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 to October 2023, the foreign-born population increased by an average of 137,000 per month—double the monthly average under Barack Obama and triple the rate under Donald Trump before COVID. If current rates continue, there could end up being some 12 million encounters by the end of Biden’s first term—equal to the entire populations of New York City and Los Angeles combined.

The attempt to convince Americans not to worry about or even discuss the most consequential public policy issue facing our country cannot be healthy for American society or American democracy. Census Bureau data from October show that the total number of foreign-born immigrants (legal and illegal) in the U.S. has now reached nearly 50 million, amounting to 15% of the total current U.S. population. Both the total number of immigrants and their percentage of the U.S. population are also new records in U.S. history.

The enormous scale of immigration over the past three years has implications for nearly every aspect of American society—from public coffers, to labor markets, to the balance of political power, to culture. The rate of increase has been so fast that it appears to have already made the new Census Bureau population projections, published just two months ago, obsolete. The bureau projected on Nov. 9 that the foreign-born share of the U.S. population would not hit 15% until 2033. And yet here we are.

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[Read the whole thing at Tablet.]