See below for the sources and background of the numbers used in this video.
Don't let anybody tell you that it would violate our immigration traditions for Congress to cut immigration in half or more to help jobless Americans go back to work.
Watch this video and spread it around so people can understand our REAL immigration tradition -- by the numbers.
You'll see that even if Congress would cut immigration by 300,000 to 700,000 per year to reduce competition for limited jobs for unemployed Americans, the level of immigration would still be higher than the traditional average.
In this video, I did my own "Jay-Walking" segment, quizzing and explaining to tourists on the National Mall in front of the Capitol. Folks on the Mall weren't too good at knowing the real numbers behind our immigration tradition -- but neither are the folks making law inside the Capitol.
We hired a professional crew to produce and tightly edit this video (only 4 minutes and 50 seconds) to educate voters about a few, pretty shocking numbers. Please take a look.
I already see that some people leaving comments on YouTube are trying to undermine the validity of the numbers I use. Please see here the credibility of the numbers on the video.
1 million AUTHORIZED immigrants per year
When I hold up that big red tube and say "a million legal immigrants a year," I am using a rounded number.
You can find the official government stats on annual green cards to permanent immigrants on Page 10 at:
Since 1990, the feds have averaged handing out about 1 million a year.
But when I say 1 million in the video, I am understating things a bit. The total green cards given out in the most recent years were:
- 2005: 1.12 million
- 2006: 1.27 million
- 2007: 1.05 million
- 2008: 1.11 million
Before 1989, immigration had surpassed 1 million in only 6 of our country's 213 years! Very few other years even came close.
The fact is that the numerical level of immigration today is out of touch with our entire U.S. history.
1 million ILLEGAL aliens settling per year
When I hold up the tall red tube and say that we've been having around 1 million foreign citizens settling in our country illegally each year, I am combining a couple of figures for the sake of simplicity.
Between 2000 and 2007, according to estimates by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 725,000 illegal aliens settled down in the U.S. in an average year.
That is a GROSS figure. You will most often see the DHS's estimate for NET change in the illegal population which is quite a bit lower. But that subtracts from the 725,000 new illegal aliens, the illegal aliens who previously settled who (a) decide to go back home, (b) receive an amnesty and become legal residents, (c) die.
What I am interested in, though, is the number of new people who settle each year. Many experts contend that the DHS is underestimating the new illegal aliens by at least half. But I will stick with the most conservative figure of 725,000 so as not to overstate the case.
In addition to the new illegal aliens settling, more than 450,000 "anchor babies" are born to illegal aliens each year and added to the population.
Because of a reckless congressionally passed law (not the Constitution), the feds give U.S. citizenship to every baby born of an illegal alien. Since this part of our population growth happens only because of illegal immigration (and since I am using the most conservative estimate of new non-baby illegal aliens), I feel that using the 1 million figure as a rounded estimate is speaking conservatively.
250,000 average for 200 years & 255,000 in more recent tradition
Just look at the official government statistics to see that the average green cards 1946 through 1970 was about 255,000.
That same page will provide you most of the data for the 1776 to 1976 average of 250,000. The government did not start keeping official immigration records until 1820. To get the first 200-year average, I used the expert estimates in several scholarly books that immigration averaged about 3,500 per year 1776 through 1819.
We have several pages on our website that explore various ways of looking at our immigration tradition. Here are some links:
Why not use percentages instead of raw numbers?
I notice that a number of outsiders leaving comments on the TUBES Video say that it would have been more helpful -- and honest -- if I had talked about immigration numbers as a percentage of total population than in terms of raw numbers.
Let me immediately concede that the U.S. has had a number of decades in its history when the number of immigrants arriving were a higher percentage of our population than is currently the case. This helpful in terms of looking at whether there have been times when assimilation was a bigger issue than today. The answer is yes. From 1880 through 1914, the immigration population was far less assimilated even than today's huge immigrant population.
But even during those years, immigration numbers dropped considerably every time there was a recession.
Recessions no longer cause a drop in legal immigration because transportation here is so easy and there are perhaps 1 billion people who would like to move here.
The other reason percentages aren't a good way of measuring is that the environmental consequences of immigration are related directly to the raw numbers (not to percentage measurements). At the time of our country's largest congestions of population when our environmental resources can least handle the extra population from immigration, our immigration numbers are running four times higher than traditional levels during the past (and during much of that time we still had mostly empty frontiers).
Have your friends take a look.
The TUBES Video relates both to environmental sustainability issues and to questions of economic justice.
Right now, with the country in a Jobs Depression, I hope you will consider sending this message to all your friends, family and acquaintances:
We need to put our fellow jobless Americans back to work. Instead of helping, though, Congress works against unemployed Americans by continuing to import around 75,000 permanent immigrant workers EVERY MONTH.
Please urge your 3 Members of Congress to reduce this importation dramatically as long as the unemployment rate remains high.
www.numbersusa.com/actionbuffet Click this to send free faxes to Congress.
To see how reducing numbers is respecting our immigration tradition by bringing the numbers back down to a more traditional level, please watch this short ey-opening video (under 5 minutes):
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Jul 21st 2017 @ 11:52am EDT