That’s the number of legal immigrants entering our country, according to a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Ever since I first started blogging — and blogging mostly about immigration, 10 years ago, this number has been reported as 1.5 million legal immigrants yearly. I’ve been citing that number for ages, and yet it seemed for the longest time to make little impression on a lot of people. Even now it doesn’t seem to sink in with a certain percentage of people — though the rise of Donald Trump seems to indicate that people are finally ‘getting it’, getting an idea of the gravity of the situation.
If it’s explained in terms of saying that 30 million legal immigrants have been added over the last 20 years, that should impress most people. And that’s not counting the mostly uncountable illegals, who certainly outnumber the legal ones by quite a margin.
Yet there are still the stubborn people who repeat the mantra “…as long as they come in legally, as long as they obey the laws, as long as they go by our rules…” but is it true that the tens of millions are not a problem as long as they obey the letter of the law?
My answer is: it’s not true, no matter how many times the pollyannas and the immigration enthusiasts repeat it. The pro-immigrant pollyannas and romanticists say that ‘legal immigrants are the good ones, because they respect the law and they are willing to follow procedures and learn English and assimilate”, and all the rest of the comforting platitudes.
Another favorite claim is that the legal ones are a better class of people, hard-working and often better-qualified to be productive citizens. All evidences are that there is little difference, given that by far most immigrants are from Third World countries, and given that legal or illegal, they often have little education and low skills, or even if educated, little fluency in English or familiarity with our system, our way of life here, and our society’s morals and standards. How many news stories have we read where some immigrant (legal or not) commits a crime and pleads unfamiliarity with our culture and its moral rules or legal system? Personally I’ve heard quite a few of these stories.
How much longer can our country continue to absorb a million and a half legal immigrants — not to mention the uncounted millions of illegal ones — plus the ‘chain migration’ of all their relatives, in-laws, and relatives of in-laws? Whole colonies have grown up in this country which started with a few people as the ‘seeds’ and ended up populating whole neighborhoods or small towns. Given enough time, that’s what happens.
Immigration has to be de-romanticized, stripped of its maudlin mystique — the ”nation of immigrants”, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and all the rest of it. Most of my readers are aware, but there are still too many people who see immigration as something to get all misty-eyed and maudlin about, something to occasion a feeling of patriotic fervor. Yet at some point even these people need to see that it’s not what we need in 21st century (post)-America. Sometimes people need a splash of cold water to wake them up. I don’t know if this latest report will do that but sooner or later the sentimental illusions need to give way to reality.