That's the number of legal immigrants that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act -- currently being debated in the US Senate -- would allow into the United States over the next twenty years. Our current population is around 300 million, so this bill would allow our country's population to swell by 33% over the next twenty years. And that's not counting illegal immigrants who would continue to sneak across our borders and make our nation their home, regardess of what laws we have in place.
Last night, President Bush addressed the nation about the problem of illegal immigration. His proposals? Nothing we haven't heard before -- strengthen the border, enforce our existing laws barring the hiring of illegal aliens, end our current (and ineffective) "catch and release" program, expand opportunities for legal immigration, and give illegal immigrants who are already here an opportunity to obtain citizenship.
I think we should begin thinking seriously about legal immigration, especially if Congress has their way and (presumably) "solves" the current illegal immigration by, in part, allowing a massive influx of legal immigrants into our country.
America has weathered a massive onslaught of immigrants before. In fact, probably one out of every two Americans can trace their ancestry to someone who immigrated here between 1890 and 1920. (I don't have a citation for that assumption; I'm just making an educated guess.)
But allowing 100,000,000 over 20 years would be unprecedented, and would forever change the identity of the American people. It would permanently alter what being an "American" means. Whether or not you believe this to be a good thing probably depends on your conception of what an "ideal America" is supposed to be.
A hundred years ago, the KKK and other "patriotic" organizations opposed the massive influx of European Catholic and Jewish immigrants because they threatened to end the white Protestant Anglo-Saxon majority in the United States. But those immigrants birthed the generation that fought WWII, the generation that we consider to be the "greatest" Americans of the Twentieth Century.
I imagine that we would again survive yet another influx of immigrants; yet, as with previous generations, the face of our nation will be changed.
But I wonder why liberals and progressives seem so supportive of immigration in general, and so willing to paint anyone with concerns about immigration as racists, xenophobes, and bigots. Could it be because they scorn the conservative, traditional, evangelical/Protestant mainstream in this country? Are they hopeful that an influx of people without ties to the "religious right" might make Jerry Falwell and James Dobson mere footnotes on the American political scene?
Might they be hoping that immigrants with less-than-favorable opinions about America's influence in foreign politics might be willing to elect leaders with a McGovernist view of foreign affairs?
Do they believe that having more Americans without a strong belief in capitalism might make the American electorate more receptive to increased taxation and socialism?
Maybe this theory also explains why conservatives are hesitant to support increases in immigration, whether legal or otherwise.
No major "talking heads" seem to be floating this theory around, but I think it's worth pondering.
What do you think?
Apparently Bill O'Reilly agrees with me: "According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will."
I can't think of any other reason the Democrats would be printing flyers like this one: