The latest projection from the United Nations’ population division is that at the close of this century, the world will have more than 11 billion. Of the 48 least-developed countries, the 27 in Africa will witness the steepest population growth. Nigeria alone is expected to emerge as the third most populous country, after India and China, by 2050.
Here in the U.S. the foreign-born population has risen to over 42 million. To put it another way, immigrants now comprise 13.3 percent of the nation's total population — the largest share in 105 years. Most of these immigrants, it should be said, are in the country legally and, absent a change in legal immigration policy, those recent legal immigrants can be expected to hold the door for even more immigrant family members to come.
Back in 2006, I noted that I have been writing about population growth and U.S. immigration policy for more than 25 years.
Will America fall apart at 400 million, or 500 million or even one billion people?
No, it will survive. It just will not be the America I love today.
If you hunt, you will have to drive farther, and perhaps pay to hunt in a for-profit shooting preserve (some do that now).
As we pave over paradise and put up parking lots, surface water will flow fast and dirty into our rivers and creeks. Cars will become more efficient, but population growth will consume the oil savings, and we will be more dependent on foreign oil than ever before.
More and more creeks will run in culverts, and fewer and fewer children will play in them. Silt from construction sites will clog rivers and streams, and no one you know will have ever caught a five-pound bass or a three-pound trout. You will no longer be allowed to walk down White Oak Canyon in the Shenandoah National Park unless you first bought a ticket at Ticketron.
For me, immigration policy is all about numbing numbers and the inexorable loss of the last best things in America -- a loss that will come with an ever-growing tide of people.
If I could, I would deport some Americans I know, and swap them out for good honest, hard working immigrants. But that's not going to happen anymore than God is going to make more wild lands. It's a cute idea, but in the real world forests are falling to fields, and fields are falling to freeways at a dizzying rate.
Something's got to give, and there's clearly a place to draw the line. Is it too much to ask that we draw the line at the border?