Analysis | A 10-year immigration ban? Here's the impact that would have on the U.S. population. – The Washington Post

December 3, 2021 by No Comments

Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) has sponsored a bill that will not pass. It is a bill that will, however, be championed among the white nationalist community with which he has recently flirted.
In short, the legislation would ban immigration to the United States for 10 years. That’s it. That’s the bill. He points to the increase in apprehensions at the border with Mexico as a rationale, but of course that doesn’t make any sense; those apprehensions are largely of people for whom entry to the United States is already illegal. It’s just a dog whistle, and I was hesitant even to amplify it.
But it does offer an opportunity to look at the extent to which immigration helps bolster the American population.
We can use Census Bureau data from 2010 and 2019 to show how immigration and population growth are related. Over that period, the population increased in 47 states; the exceptions being Connecticut, Illinois, Vermont and West Virginia. (They are indicated with small orange arrows below.) Take out growth from foreign-born residents, and five additional states would have grown smaller: Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
In only four states — California, Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon — and the District of Columbia did the number of native-born residents grow faster than the number of foreign-born residents. Only in New Mexico did the number of foreign-born residents shrink. In North Dakota, it nearly doubled.
Of course, there are some immigration opponents whose concerns are less about immigration, per se, than about who’s doing the immigrating. You may recall when former president Donald Trump — to whom Gosar is deeply loyal — disparaged immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean using a vulgarity. He was fine, however, with immigrants from Norway. It is not difficult to parse the distinction being made.
In the following chart, the divides are wider. In more than half of states, the number of native-born non-Hispanic Whites declined over that period. (Fertility rates among native-born Hispanics are higher than among Whites, which is why native-born population totals overall mostly increased.) In every state except Wyoming, the number of non-White foreign-born residents increased.
Demographers generally worry about declining population numbers, particularly as America grows older. The baby boom is nearing or at retirement, and we need people to fill many of their jobs and bolster the economy. Shut off immigration and that becomes much harder.
Again, Gosar’s bill will not be passed and, again, it’s not really about the practical ramifications of the immigrant population anyway.
You probably can predict the final irony here: Gosar’s grandparents were immigrants. I’m curious how they would have felt about his proposal.
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