Skip to main content

Nation Of Immigrants

June 2024
1min read

Now let me get this straight. Because Bernard A. Weisberger says that immigration was once an asset (“A Nation of Immigrants,” February), it means that it must always be an asset? Because concern about immigration once had elements of xenophobia, this means all concern about immigration is xenophobic?

History teaches me that public policy is never static. Is it not possible that policies that made sense when we were a relatively empty continent in an uncrowded world no longer make sense in a crowded continent in a crowded world?

For the twelve years I was governor of Colorado, immigration made most of our problems worse. It further burdened an already overburdened school budget. A significant portion of our jails are filled with the foreign-born. Our experience is that immigrants are much more likely to be on welfare.

Bottom line: An increasing number of our citizens are asking: Why do we want an America of 400 million people? What advantage is it to our grandchildren to have a California of 50 million people? In an economy that is expected to create an average of 1.5 million new jobs a year and has 3.5 million of its own citizens turn eighteen every year, does it make sense to yearly bring in one million additional immigrants?

I would suggest that Mr. Weisberger was arguing his political views, not some immutable lesson of history.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.