Miscellany23: Immigration Is Destroying America; Carlos Fuentes on Immigration


© 2006 Joseph George Caldwell.  All rights reserved.  Posted at Internet web sites http://www.foundation.bw and http://www.foundationwebsite.org .  May be copied or reposted for non-commercial use, with attribution.  (9 April 2006; minor edits 13 July 2006)


Commentary on recent news, reading and events of personal interest.





Immigration Is Destroying America. 1

Carlos Fuentes on Immigration. 5


Immigration Is Destroying America


I have written on numerous occasions that the US government wants mass immigration to the US.  The reason for this is that the US economy is addicted to economic growth through population growth.  Many sectors of the economy rely on a US population growth rate of about one percent, or three million people per year.  If immigration dropped substantially, economic growth in certain sectors would decline.  The US government is committed to ensuring that this does not occur.


Note that it is not just legal immigration that the government wants.  It wants immigration of any kind.  It is quite content with a high level of illegal immigration, because this provides cheap labor for economic sectors that, because of the US policy of massive international free trade, must compete with poor countries of the world and cannot do so at the wage levels of legal US citizens.  Unfortunately for the wealthy oligarchs who control the US, there has been a popular backlash against mass illegal immigration, and so the government is now trying to pretend that it is going to stop it.


But, as recent actions in the US Senate clearly show, the US government has no intention whatever of reducing immigration levels.  Instead of expelling the illegal immigrants from the country, as might logically be expected, it proposes instead simply to put the eleven million illegal immigrants who are currently in the country on a “path to citizenship.”  Its “solution” to the mass illegal immigration problem is simply to convert it to mass legal immigration.


In his oath of office, President Bush swore to defend the Constitution of the United States.  Article I, Section 8, states, “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”  Article IV, Section 4, states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”  The Constitution is very explicit: it is the President’s sworn duty to protect the country from invasion.  The terms “repel invasions” and “protect against invasion” do not mean simply converting the invaders to US citizens, as the President and Senate are proposing to do.


There is currently a ceiling of about half a million visas for the type of people who comprise the illegal immigrants (“green cards,” currently limited to 450,000 per year).  If the government were to use these visas for the illegals, then that quota would be consumed for the next six years.  The big drawback of this, of course, is that the overall level of immigration would drop, and there is no way the government will allow that to happen.  So, it is pretty clear that the Senate will keep legal immigration levels as high as it can, and even increase them if that is politically acceptable.  The current Senate proposal is to take up to 12 years to convert all of the illegals to citizens, so as not to cut into the “normal” flow of legal-immigrant admissions.


Many Americans think that it is just illegal immigration that is a serious problem.  This is a very incorrect, and very unfortunate, perception.  Mass immigration of any kind – whether legal or illegal – is destroying the United States environment and the European-derived culture that made it great.  For every immigrant to the US, on average an acre of natural land is destroyed, by conversion to urban uses – the homes, shopping centers, roads, schools, hospitals, industrial buildings, and other things that people use.  When the US allows its population to increase by three million people per year, it is in fact proposing to destroy three million acres of natural land per year.  If it allows 11 million illegal immigrants to become US citizens, it will cause another 11 million acres of natural land to be destroyed.  In its recent “compromise” to the House-sponsored immigration bill, your Senate has just voted for the annihilation of eleven million acres of natural US land.  Think about it.


The US population has been “hoodwinked” into believing that immigration is fine as long as it is legal, or is economically beneficial.  That is completely erroneous.  Immigration of any kind causes total destruction of natural land, at the rate of about one acre per immigrant.  That destruction is hard to notice on a day-to-day basis, since it is the “edges of town” that are mainly destroyed, and construction takes time.  To see the damage clearly, return to a place where you lived several decades ago, and you will be stunned at the magnitude of the destruction.  The population of Florida, for example, has skyrocketed from about two million in 1950 to about 14 million today.  Millions of acres of Florida natural land have been destroyed by this population increase.  When I was a boy, the Gulf of Mexico was a live, vibrant sea.  Now, a large portion of it is dead (toxic or fertilizer runoff from the Mississippi River).  Large portions of Florida that were once natural, or even agricultural, are now city.  Orlando is a perfect example.  The Clearwater-St. Petersburg-Tampa area where I recently lived is another.  Clearwater was a small town in 1950.  It is now 100 percent urban sprawl, and the Clearwater-St. Petersburg-Tampa area is now a “megalopolis.”  There are now fewer than 60 wild panthers remaining in Florida, that species having been effectively exterminated by the developers’ greed to convert millions of acres of natural land to housing tracts for Florida’s millions of immigrants.  This same destruction is going on wholesale in other states as well.  In some cases, wild land is first converted to agricultural land, and the agricultural land then converted to urban land.  Parts of Napa Valley, California, that were fields or vineyards in 1950 are now housing developments.  The same is true of much of Orange County.  All of this destruction has been caused by the US government’s policy of mass immigration.


The US population in 1950 was about 150 million.  Today, in 2006, after decades of mass immigration, it is about 300 million.  (Most of this population increase is the result of mass immigration occurring since passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which opened the floodgates of immigration to massive numbers of people from all cultures.  The US population in 1965 was 194 million.  Since the birth rate of the US population had dropped to replacement level by that time, virtually all of the US population increase since 1965 has been from immigrants and their offspring.)  This population increase represents the destruction of approximately 150 million acres of natural land.  The insane US mass immigration policy is destroying the country at an incredible rate.  Wildlife has been destroyed in most of the country, and it is now necessary to make reservations a year in advance to visit famous parks or wild rivers, such as the Grand Canyon or the Colorado River (much of which, of course, has been destroyed by dams such as the one that created Lake Powell to provide electric power to the exploding US population, and to provide irrigation to commercial farming).  The massive Ogallala Aquifer has about been destroyed to provide irrigation for commercial crops – not just for America’s exploding population, but for sale to the rest of the world.  North Carolina now hosts massive, commercial pig factories.  These inhumane and stinking factories were not needed in 1950, when America’s small family farmers could raise all of the pigs needed for the US population of 150 million, under humane conditions.  They have been built only to provide additional wealth for America’s wealthy elite.  All of this overcrowding and destruction – the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, the Ogallala Aquifer, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, California, North Carolina, and countless others – has been caused either by mass immigration to the US, or by America’s support of massive international free trade (which enables the wealthy oligarchs to produce and sell far more agricultural produce (and destroy more natural land) than was needed by America’s population of 150 million).


Mass immigration to the US not only causes increased destruction of the US environment, but increased destruction of the planet, as well.  Mass immigration to the US does not simply shift the environmental destruction from the immigrant’s former country to the US.  The problem is that people in the US use about ten times as much commercial energy per person as people in the poor countries of the world.  It is the industrial use of energy that is destroying the Earth’s environment.  If the poor people of the world would simply stay where they are, the planet’s environment would be better off than if they come to the US and are converted to “high-energy-consumers.”  The high level of industry on the planet are already destroying the biosphere, and causing the extinction of about 30,000 species per year.  By increasing the level of industrial production through immigration to the US (or by any other means, such as by the industrialization of China or India), the rate of destruction of the planet’s biosphere is increased.


The only thing that will stop the destruction of the US environment is for all immigration to come to an immediate halt.  The only thing that will help restore the US natural land that has been destroyed by immigration is for the US population to decrease.  (Visit the website, Negative Population Growth (http://www.npg.org ), or the website, Zero Population Growth (http://www.zpg.org ) for more on this.)  The current leaders of the US – and indeed, of the planet – are “The Great Destroyers.”  No species that destroys its own habitat will last for long.  As the Bible notes (Book of Revelation), those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed.  That observation doesn’t require spiritual or transcendental “revelation,” however – just common sense.  Let us hope that their destruction occurs before they have destroyed all other species on the planet.


The lifespan of the Petroleum Age, and the Global Industrialization that it enabled, is not long.  Within 50 years, the world’s petroleum reserves will be exhausted, and the planet will return to population levels that are supportable by current solar energy.  It is not widely recognized, but the levels of population that can be supported by solar energy are strikingly smaller than the current levels that have been made possibly by massive use of petroleum.  The number of people that solar energy can support depends on their level of living, i.e., on the amount of solar energy used per person.  At a very low level of living (e.g., hunter-gathering), the planet’s current solar-energy “budget” can support perhaps 20 – 100 million people (i.e., the number in prehistoric times).  At a “primitive-agriculture” level, the planet’s solar energy flux can support perhaps 100 – 500 million people (i.e., the number during humankind’s primitive-agriculture era).  At a high level of living, such as our current level, the planet’s current solar energy can support only 5 – 10 million people.  (See my writings on the “minimal-regret” population, for more information and discussion of these numbers.)


The impact of these numbers is that within 50 years, as the Petroleum Age draws to a close, the Earth’s human population will plummet.  Most of the people on the planet, and most of the people in the US, will be gone.  The real – and permanent – tragedy is, of course, the irrevocable loss of another million species from the planet’s biosphere, as high levels of human population and industrial activity continue to exterminate the planet’s species.  With its policy of increasing the US population as rapidly as it can, the US government is simply increasing the magnitude of the catastrophic population decline that is just around the corner.  This is of no concern to our leaders.  They knew that America’s policies of open-borders, mass-immigration, and massive international free trade would make us vulnerable to terrorist attacks, such as 9/11, and they proceeded anyway.  They knew that New Orleans would be destroyed as soon as it was hit by a category-three hurricane (it had funded studies on this), and it proceeded business-as-usual.  They knew that terrorists wanted to attack the World Trade Center, since terrorists had already launched an unsuccessful attack against it several years before 9/11.  The only thing that was rather remarkable about 9/11 and Katrina was the government’s incredible assertion – incredible lie – that “we never imagined that such a thing could happen,” when they in fact had full knowledge of the likelihood of these events.


Regrettably, the leaders of your country are plutocrats who serve only the wealthy oligarchs – the elite – who own and control the nation.  The fact that mass immigration and massive international free trade are destroying your nation’s environment, the economic well-being of the middle class, and the European-derived culture that made it great, are not of the slightest concern to them.  All they are interested in is the wealth that mass immigration and massive international free trade bring to them.  It does not matter that this scheme will destroy the quality of life for you and your descendents, or that it will continue to degrade and destroy the environment, or that it will cause more damage to the biosphere and additional species loss.  Each of your leaders took an oath to uphold the Constitution, including the specific requirement (Article I, Section 8 and Article IV, Section 4) to defend the country from invasion.  Most of them have abrogated that oath.  They not only choose to ignore the current alien invasion, but seek for ways to continue it, to aid it, and to abet it.  Even now, they are considering passage of legislation to convert the alien invaders to US citizens.  They have betrayed their oath, the nation, and you.  They serve only Mammon.  They are traitors who have committed high treason against the Republic, and they have no right to govern further.


Your leaders may assert that the country’s policy of mass immigration and massive international free trade help the country’s economy.  In one way, that is true – it increases the wealth of the country’s elite.  But this increase in their wealth is gained at a tremendous cost.  It is gained at the cost of damaging the environment – both of the US and of the planet.  It is gained at the cost of destroying the European-derived culture that created, developed and sustained the country.  And it is gained by the destruction of quality of life for the American middle class.  When I was young, a married man in the US middle class could support a family and own a house and car, and, in a country with a relatively low population density, many in the middle class could afford to own a country home or lake cottage.  Owning a home is now beyond the reach of many families in the US, unless both man and wife work in the competitive labor market, and owning a second home on the lake or in the mountains or at the beach is restricted mainly to the wealthy.  The rich are getting richer in the US by means of the destruction of the quality of life for America’s once-great and once-prosperous middle class.


Instead of planning to increase US population by three million per year, the US government, if it had any concern at all for the US as a nation or a people, would be taking steps to reduce the US population in concert with the coming decline in global oil production (Hubbert’s Curve, Hubbert’s Peak).  Will it do this?  Of course not.  All the US government plutocracy cares about is increasing the wealth of the oligarchs who currently own and control the country.  They do not care a whit about the welfare of future generations of the country or of the planet.  Our elected leaders – our President, the Senate, and the House – are leading the nation on a path to catastrophic destruction.  The linchpins of this journey are mass immigration and massive international free trade.  Mark my words: Our government is going to do nothing to reduce immigration to the US.  It will simply convert illegal immigration to legal immigration, and keep the population growth rate as close to one percent (three million people per year) as it can.  Mass immigration and massive international free trade will, for the moment (as long as global petroleum production holds up), continue unabated.


The only hope for the US people and the planet’s biosphere is that the continued destruction of the nation by mass immigration and massive international free trade will not continue much longer.  And they will not.  They will cease as soon as global oil production starts to decline, and that appears to be happening now.  As human population has continued to expand while global oil production has flattened, the per-capita oil production has been declining for quite some time (since 1979 – see Richard C. Duncan’s article, “The Peak of World Oil Production and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge,” at http://www.dieoff.com ).  Global per-capita oil production has been in decline for some time; the next step is the decline in absolute global annual oil production.  That decline is imminent, if it has not already occurred (oil demand and estimated supply fluctuate randomly, and it is difficult to tell or define exactly when the “peak” occurs).  America and the industrial world run on energy, and the supply of cheap energy – oil that is simply pumped out of the ground – is about to shrink.  America’s era of growth-based economics is about to come to an end, along with the Petroleum Age and the industrial activity and large human numbers that it enabled (for more on this and related topics, see The Entropy Law and the Economic Process by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen; Beyond Growth by Herman E. Daly; and For the Common Good by Daly and John B. Cobb, Jr.; The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann; Hubbert’s Peak by Kenneth F. Deffeyes; Overshoot; by William R. Catton, Jr; Collapse by Jared Diamond; Food, Energy, and Society by David and Marcia Pimentel; and The Sixth Extinction by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin).  The only real issue facing humanity, the other species of the planet, and the future species that would inhabit it, is: What will be the ecological state of the planet will be after the industrial world collapses?


I will close this article with a quote from my book, Can America Survive?:


Economics is the driving force that has corrupted mankind and is destroying the planet.  Economics – the dismal science.  As mathematician John Maynard Keynes observed (in his 1930 essay, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”) in commenting on the fatal limitations of economics as a long-term basis for human society:


“Some day we may return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue – that avarice is a vice, that the extraction of usury is a misdemeanor, and the love of money is detestable.  But beware!  The time for all this is not yet.  For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not.  Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little while longer.”


Carlos Fuentes on Immigration


Carlos Fuentes is one of Mexico’s most respected writers.  When I was taking Spanish at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, in the 1980s, one of the books that we were assigned to read was his novel, La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (The Death of Artemio Cruz).


I am currently consulting in Timor-Leste (“East Timor”), and the only English-language channel I see on television is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).  Fuentes was interviewed earlier this week on the BBC World (international news) program.  The interview was interesting.  As was the case with many people in Latin America who disagreed with the US policy of supporting harsh military dictatorships in the era of the Cold War, Fuentes was falsely branded a communist by the US government.


I won’t summarize the whole interview here, but just comment on a remark made by Fuentes concerning the mass immigration of Mexicans to the US.  He commented that the illegal Mexican aliens were simply “undocumented,” just as were the Pilgrims who arrived in North America several hundred years ago.  This is a really dumb observation!  The issue of whether immigrants to the US are documented or undocumented is not very important in the long run (see previous article – it is the total immigration that is of primary concern).  But the issue of whether our ancestors who arrived in the US were documented or undocumented is completely irrelevant.  Fuentes’ observation is as stupid as the comment made by George Bush and others that the US is a “nation of immigrants,” and we should therefore continue to welcome large numbers of immigrants to the US.


The issue of deciding how many immigrants to allow in the US should not be decided by irrelevant facts such as the Pilgrims’ being undocumented, or that the US is a “nation of immigrants” (as are all other nations except perhaps for Kenya, where mankind originated).  Because immigration levels were high in the past should not be a factor in determining what future levels should be.  If all of the previous immigrants to the US had been hemophiliacs or alcoholics, should that be a factor in deciding that all future immigrants should be hemophiliacs and alcoholics?  Should we in such a case allow the entry only of additional hemophiliacs and alcoholics, just because it was done that way before?  Of course not.  The issue of immigration levels should be decided on consideration of “future-related” factors such as the impact on the environment, or on national security, or on culture, or on the quality of life of the nation’s future citizens, or on the biosphere.  How the current US population got here, or got to be so large, or what their ancestors’ “documentation” was when they arrived, is absurdly irrelevant.


I am usually a little annoyed, but not very surprised, when a non-intellectual such as George Bush makes silly statements, such as “America is a welcoming society,” or “America is a nation of immigrants,” or “America is a democracy.”  I am surprised, however, when a person with Fuentes’ reputation as an intellectual makes such a ridiculous statement.  Maybe he had a bad day, or was caught off-guard.  Maybe he has a relative who is an “undocumented alien.”  If he has relatives who are trying to get into the US, or are living in the US illegally, then I can understand that.  I wonder what Fuentes’ views are on illegal immigration from other countries to Mexico is.  Of course, unlike the situation US, illegal immigration to Mexico (and most countries of the world) is a serious crime, so it is not the out-of-control social situation that we currently see in the US.  Perhaps Fuentes’ views on that aspect of US immigration policy would have been more enlightening, interesting, and relevant than his observation that the Pilgrims were undocumented.