Migration Hurts Both Migrants' Health and the Nation's Environment

By David North on May 20, 2013

One of the more obscure arguments against more migration appeared — of all places — above the fold on the front page of Sunday's New York Times. That is the red carpet of America's print journalism.

The lede of Sabrina Tavernise's report from Brownsville, Texas, was exactly on target:

Becoming an American can be bad for your health.

The headline was equally pertinent:

The Health Toll of Immigration

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The problem, of course, is that newly arrived migrants, legal and illegal, rapidly lose their healthier, home-country eating practices, and start to eat America's unhealthy fast food, which is both readily available and high in calories, fat, and sugar.

Ms. Tavernise's long, detailed story was illustrated by a photograph of 41-year-old Esther Angeles and her seven-year-old daughter, with the caption reading, in part: "Ms. Angeles has developed diabetes since coming to the United States and struggles to see that her daughter eats healthfully."

The photo suggests that both mother and daughter are overweight.

The article cites a damning situation:

A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the [immigrant] parents.

This being the Times, the logical recommendation — so, stay in your home country — is, of course, missing.

The migration-is-harmful-to-the-migrants'-health argument reminds me of another, somewhat related one; that incoming migrants from the Third World also quickly adapt to our First World energy-consuming and environment-damaging ways.

Ms. Angeles probably did not live with a motor vehicle in her home country, Mexico; her family may or may not have had electricity in the house. But she is now sure to live in a house with electricity and appliances, and probably has a car. Her former Third World energy-consumption practices have long since been abandoned, and she is now doing as much damage to the environment as the rest of us.

We do not need more people in this country acting like Americans — eating too much and using too many resources. Hence we should try to keep international migration down to a dull roar, as it is today, rather than expanding it by as much as 30 million over the next 10 years, as the Gang of Eight advocates.