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The Other Side of the Wall:The Actual Stats on Immigration Aren’t That Scary

By now you may know that the Canadians are welcoming immigrants with open arms. And Silicon Valley is always looking for smart immigrants to import and fuel their businesses. Both farmers and meat packers are also looking for immigrants who are willing to work for low wages. But the opposition is screaming “hell no.” So some actually trustworthy and unique statistical insights just might be illuminating for those who lack the information to make up their mind.

Timothy Egan illuminates numerous immigration issues with fascinating statistics: some current, some comparative and some historical. I’ll bet a lot of this is new to even those who assume they’re fairly knowledgeable. I write this with the clear understanding that once you’ve made up your mind. . . you’ve made up your mind–permanently!

The best place to begin is with the historical fact that more than a century ago, the United States first attempted to shape our national openness. Although, we did ban “convicts, prostitutes and Chinese laborers.” And as Egan points out, a bit later, “idiots” were added to the list of forbidden immigrants, far to early to keep Donald Trump at Bay. The flip side of that snide remark is that Asian men are the highest paid workers in America today. Still, it’s utterly impossible for anyone to argue that those Asian immigrant professionals are taking money away from old white men. Curious: have you noticed that “old white men” has become a category? Admittedly derogatory, but a category, just the same.

On the other side of the pond approximately 13% of Britain is foreign born. That’s not the entire picture. What’s frustrating to the Brits is that the number of immigrants has nearly doubled since 1993. On this side of the pond, we have almost an identical percentage of immigrants. But a historical caveat is especially enlightening. There are actually fewer foreign-born residents in the United States now than there were in 1870, 1890, 1900 and 1910.

Furthermore, we know a lot about the 42 million legal and illegal immigrants that are here. The majority of them came before 2000. And almost 30% of those immigrants over the age of 25 have college degrees–a figure equal to the american population as a whole. The top countries of origin are India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Canada.

You do understand, I hope, that what’s most disrupting to the Brits and to Americans as well is that the immigrants ain’t white.

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