Like every important issue we face, immigration is far more complex that we acknowledge. Yes, there is a limit to how many people a nation can absorb into their society before there is a critical strain on that society. Even without discrimination and hate, there is a limit to how many resources a nation can dedicate to assisting the resettlement of immigrants.
In the past America easily made room for the new comers. But now we face a huge crisis in affordable housing and growing homelessness. We struggle with the most expensive and least effective health care system in the developed world. Tax cuts for the rich have led to cuts in basic aid programs. Education has deteriorated into a benefit for well-to-do families while driving teachers to the brink of bankruptcy. All these problems are exacerbated by a large influx of immigrants. But that does not mean we should stop legal immigration and it certainly does not mean we should demonize people of color.
We have to accept some facts. A big problem is that at least 30% of people in the US do not put any value on facts. But that cannot change reality. Earth has entered a period of rapid climate change. Polar ice caps are melting. Warmer oceans have changed weather patterns. Storms, floods, fire and mud slides have already devastated many areas of the USA and the world. Areas that have supported human life are becoming less hospitable. Add in the growth of authoritarian rule and a huge chasm between the rich and the poor. Due to natural disaster and war, many people are fleeing their traditional homes and they cannot go back without facing extreme hardship and death.
Even though there are limits to how many immigrants a nation can absorb we still need immigrants to do the work that Americans shun. As it has been in the past, we need a large number of agricultural workers. We need a large number of care givers for the elderly both in their homes and in nursing homes. Immigrants have always filled our less desirable jobs like janitor and dishwasher. This is reality. Americans do not want those jobs.
Here is another reality that nobody seems to want to talk about. Just as a nation can only absorb so many immigrants, the earth can only support so many humans. We have reached that point already.
Humans are depleting and polluting our natural resources. We have presided over the extinction of many species of animals and plants. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago. We have deforested most of the world. We have polluted the water and air, even to a point of killing our citizens for the sake of profit.
There are already some solutions and I am confident that we can devise more solutions. But one necessary part of the solution seems to be totally taboo. Humans cannot continue to reproduce at historical rates and survive. There was a time when reproduction was the key to survival. Now unchecked reproduction has contributed to every problem mentioned so far.
I am not advocating draconian laws such as the Chinese have suffered. But we have to change our views on this critical topic. One of our most basic instincts is the desire to reproduce. That desire is reinforced by social norms. Childless people are often chided for that decision and encouraged to have children. Too many families continue to have 4 or 6 or more children. If we only replace ourselves, with 2 children per couple we will still be in a state of over population. This seems so obvious. But our taboos around reproduction and religion keep us blind. I have to also acknowledge that economists professes that a declining population is disastrous for economic growth. It is time to redefine success beyond economics.
We are facing dramatic changes for human life on earth. Survival no longer depends on reproduction. Survival depends on stopping the warming of the planet. It is time to accept that human activity has contributed if not caused the warming trend. It is time to accept that we cannot continue to harvest and burn coal and oil while deforesting the earth. It is time to accept ALL solutions to this crisis and reducing the population is one of them.
The truth is that the human population will be reduced. The question is whether it will be reduced by famine, war and devastation or by education and birth control.