Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
'Too Many Immigrants,' Say America's Immigrants
By Christopher Bollyn
A state senator in Utah has proposed legislation to bring Mandarin Chinese into public high schools in the Beehive state and a mainstream California newspaper has called for Chinese and Korean to be taught to students, along with Spanish in the Golden state.
Claiming that the future lies in Asia and Latin America, the Contra Costa Times wrote on Feb. 9, "We hope to see, in the years ahead, an outpouring of Japanese, Chi nese, and other Asian languages in local school curricula, to supplement the Spanish that now has earned a foothold in the schools."
As if to prepare Californians for an increasingly balkanized future caused by the failure of the federal government to protect the nation's borders, the paper said, "Teaching Spanish to California kids makes sense, given the increasing Hispanic population and the gradual blurring of the border, fueled by NAFTA and helped along by new presidents in Mexico and the United States."
Currently the three foreign languages most widely taught in California are Spanish, which is first, followed by French and German. The Times editorial suggested Vietnamese or Korean would be more appropriate than French or German for young Californians saying, "We should be teaching our youngsters the languages of the future rather than the languages of the past."
One out of every four Californians -- about 8.5 million people -- is foreign-born. In the city of Los Angeles, 40 percent of the residents are foreign-born -- a higher percentage of immigrants than New York City experienced during the Great Wave of immigration at the turn of the last century.
"No other region of the country has experienced the demographic change that California has in the past two decades," according to Mark Baldassare, author of From California in the New Millennium: The Changing Social and Political Land scape, which documents the profound demographic changes that are affecting the state.
"This growth will significantly change the demographic diversity of the state. The white population will grow from 17.4 million in 2000 to 18 million in 2040, and the black population will grow from 2.4 million to 3.2 million over this period. These are modest gains compared with the growth of the Asian population, from 4 million to 9.1 million, and the Latino population, from 10.7 million to 28.1 million.
"The growth in the Latino and Asian populations reflects a rate of immigration to California since 1980 that has been nothing short of phenomenal," Baldas sare writes. "This immigration has transformed Califor nia from a state where the vast majority were white to a multiracial society consisting of sizable proportions of whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos."
Latinos in California will outnumber whites sometime in the early 2020s and could well become the outright majority in the 2040s, according to the California De partment of Finance.
Between 1990 and 2010, California's His panic population will grow by 83 percent, while the state's Asian population will grow even faster by 94 percent, according to a 1998 report on California demographics by the Legislative Analyst's Office.
Most of California's immigrants arrived from Mexico and Asian countries. By 1994, nearly 24 percent of Californians were foreign born and about 42 percent of the school-age population of California consisted of immigrants or the children of immigrants, many of whom have great difficulty with English since it is not spoken in their home or neighborhood.
A Time/CNN poll found that 80 percent of Americans still consider it important that the federal government track down illegal aliens living there.
Surveys conducted among Hispanic Americans, after the 1990 Immigration Act increased annual U.S. immigration quotas by 40 percent, indicate that 89 percent of Hispanics in America strongly support an immediate time-out on immigration. Seven ty four percent agree that fewer immigrants should be allowed -- and support stronger restrictions.
A Latino National Political Survey found that 75 percent of Mexican-Americans agree there are too many immigrants in this country while 79 percent of Puerto Ricans agree. Hispanics are more opposed to mass immigration than the 74 percent of "Anglos" who agreed there are "too many immigrants."
This opposition by Hispanics needs to be viewed from their economic perspective. A 1992 study on immigration and wages re ported, "any 10 percent increase in the U.S. work force lowers wages by about 3 percent." The study, included in the recent book on the subject, The Race to the Bottom,* by Alan Tonelson said, "Trade and immigration flows together might account for fully half the wage decline suffered by poorly skilled Americans."
These numbers would suggest that the massive amnesty bill for illegal immigrants (H.R. 500) proposed by Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) does not have the popular support of his Hispanic constituents. (See this week's SPOTLIGHT on Congress on Page 8 for more on amnesty legislation on illegal immigrants.)