In “How Many Americans?” (7/2/08),1 Steven Camarota paints a doomsday scenario in which historically normal levels of immigration would cause our nation to become too “crowded.” Unfortunately for Mr. Camarota, the experts he cites don’t actually support his conclusion. “Our projections for 2100 will give us a population density one-quarter of the United Kingdom,” said Frederick Hollmann, author of the Census report cited by Camarota. “We’ll still be a sparsely populated country among the industrialized countries of the world.”2
In diminishing the economic contributions of immigrants to American society, Mr. Camarota fails to note a study done by the White House Council of Economic Advisors which found that:
Immigrants are a critical part of the U.S. workforce and contribute to productivity growth and technological advancement. They make up 15% of all workers and even larger shares of certain occupations such as construction, food services and health care. Approximately 40% of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad.3
And while immigration alone cannot resolve the challenges of an aging population, experts agree that the help from immigrants is certainly welcome.
“Anybody who looks at immigration has to look at aging,” says Harry R. Moody, director of academic affairs at AARP. “First, immigration affects the age structure of society” by adding younger members to the population, he says. “Second, the people who do hands-on care work are immigrants. Look at our nursing homes! We have an image of people picking tomatoes — that’s not the whole story. Immigrants are the front-line caregivers.”4
Camarota and his so-called Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have been demeaning the contributions of immigrants for decades. Just last month, the restrictionist organization put out a report blaming immigrants for global warming,5 and in June, they claimed that foreign students do not help the American economy.6 It’s time the American public recognize CIS for what it is: a restrictionist organization bent on lowering American exposure to the rest of the world.