Stop immigration

  Dear HCN,


In the seven pages of your special issue "El Nuevo West" devoted to illegal immigration, I wish you'd found space for at least a few lines on the wholesale transformation of the environment and quality of life in "El Futuro West" if present record levels of both legal and illegal immigration are allowed to continue (HCN, 12/23/96).


Throughout the country, and especially the West, mass immigration is fueling a population boom without precedent. Already, it is responsible for over 60 percent of our annual national population growth of nearly 3 million, and unless reduced substantially, it will account for about 90 percent of our projected growth of at least 130 million additional Americans (the equivalent of 70 more cities the size of metropolitan Denver!) by the year 2050. The Western heritage of open spaces, big sky, wilderness, elbow room, rugged lifestyles, land-based economies, and freedom will not survive this crush of humanity.


Although much of the current boom in Western states is due ostensibly not to foreign immigration, but to the in-migration of droves of Californians, even here mass immigration shares culpability, by exacerbating the overpopulation, congestion, severe job competition, high housing prices, crime, ethnic tensions and deteriorating quality of life that so many Californians are fleeing.


In addition, a rising influx of too many unskilled, desperate immigrant workers into Western states invariably drives down wages and working conditions in numerous low-skill occupations. It will also ensure that the myth that immigrants take only those jobs Americans reject becomes self-fulfilling. Working-class Americans are not rejecting jobs per se, but the deplorable wages and conditions brought on whenever too many workers chase too few jobs.


Any viable attempt to save the West as we know and cherish it must include cutbacks in both legal and illegal immigration.


Leon Kolankiewicz


Washington, D.C.





The writer is vice president of the nonprofit Carrying Capacity Network.





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