For years, GOP lawmakers such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, former U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly, Simi Valley, and Arizona Sen. John McCain have been outspoken against illegal immigration, with their main focus on the U.S./Mexican border that enables millions to migrate to the U.S. every year. Not only do they focus on the mere fact that anyone who didn’t come here legally is, in fact, illegal just by existing in this country, but they point to high costs of the immigrants’ educations, welfare, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps, and health care. In their mission to crack down on illegal immigration, they have also spawned a culture of discrimination against immigrants, especially against Mexican-born and Mexican Americans.
Whether Mexican-born immigrants come here legally or not, their fiscal impact on American taxpayers admittedly ranges in the tens of billions of dollars. But there is also a notion that Mexican immigrants are in a vicious cycle of bringing their children or giving birth to children here to take advantage of the welfare programs. Though there has been a steady increase in the percentage of Hispanic recipients on welfare from 2000 to 2010, the percentage is still less than that for whites or blacks.
According to a recent study done by the Pew Hispanic Center, “The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6 percent during these years, but the birth rate among foreign-born women plunged 14 percent — more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period. The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23 percent.”
The declining birth rate of Mexican immigrants is evidence that they are choosing to adjust and assimilate to American culture and life. If one study shows a dramatically declining birth rate, surely other cultural features must follow. This group can be seen to be repeating historical trends in this country. The same Pew study projected that “immigrants arriving since 2005 and their descendants will account for fully 82 percent of U.S. population growth by 2050.”
To continue to discriminate against foreign-born immigrants, including Mexicans, is ludicrous. As a nation founded by immigrants, we will continue to grow as a nation built by immigrants.