By Julia Hahn
Before Pope Francis touches down in the U.S. next week, many are already wondering what he will say when he speaks to a joint session of Congress.
With the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, it’s likely the Pope will take that opportunity to encourage the United States to take greater steps to absorb poor migrants from around the world, and provide them with food, shelter, medication, education, and other benefits granted by America’s immigration program.
As the Financial Times is reporting, “Vatican officials say Pope Francis will focus heavily on immigration during his visit… ‘The Pope obviously has a very soft spot in his heart for immigrants,’ said one Holy See insider. ‘He won’t say, ‘open all borders’, but there’s no two ways about it, he will say, ‘let’s give our immigrant brothers and sisters a fair chance’.'”
Implicit in this suggestion is that the United States hasn’t already stepped up and done its fair share. However, a review of public data from the World Bank and U.S. Census Bureau shows that there is no other country on Earth that has accepted even a fraction of the migrants admitted to the United States over the last 40 years.
Indeed, the contrast with other countries is glaring.
The United States has a higher foreign-born population percentage than any of the world’s largest countries.
Although the United States houses only 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States takes in 20 percent of all the migrants worldwide. No other country even approaches that number. In fact, no country in the world takes in even 5 percent of the global migratory flows.
For instance, the Pope’s home country of Argentina– which boasts a population of 41.5 million– houses less than 1 percent of global migrants. The United States has taken 2,328 percent — or 24 times — more migrants than Argentina has. In the United States, one out of every seven residents is foreign born; in Argentina only one out of every 22 residents is foreign born.
The disparity is even more acute when compared to other Latin American countries. In Mexico, for example, only 0.9 percent of its population is foreign born– or one out of every 110 residents. This means the United States has taken in 40 times more of the world’s migrants than has Mexico.
In Brazil, only 0.3 percent of its population is foreign born– or one out of every 334 residents. This means that the United States takes in 75 times more migrants than does Brazil.
Unfortunately, no amount of immigration will ever make a dent in the global poverty. According to the Pew Research Center, there are nearly 5 billion people world-wide living on $10 or less a day. The globally poor and low-income population is fifteen times larger than the entire population of the United States.
Moreover, evidence suggests that the United States has already reached maximum absorption capacity for new migrants.
After four decades of bearing the burden of taking in most of the world’s migrants, reports document sustained compression to our nation’s middle class during this time; real average hourly wages are lower today than they were in 1973; all net job creation among working-age people went to foreign workers from 2000-2014; the number of struggling Americans forced to rely on welfare has reached a record high; overcrowdedschools, which are now majority-minority, have struggled to accommodate the growing number of students that qualify for reduced lunch programs and require English language instruction; an influx of a diverse student body has sent U.S. test scores plummeting; and the importation of third world criminal organizations has negatively impacted the safety of, what are now, gang-beseiged communities.
Importing more migrants into the country than can be absorbed violates the principle outlined by President Calvin Coolidge, who greatly reduced immigration rates the last time the foreign-born share of the population reached a record high.
“We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here,” Coolidge famously said. “As a Nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation.”
A plurality of Americans want a pause on all new immigration into the country– similar to that which was enacted the 1920s– to allow immigrants already here to assimilate and to allow wages to rise.
As liberal HBO host Bill Maher has pointed out– aside from just the risks of terrorism, and the explosion of the anti-women tradition of female genital mutilation within the U.S.– the large-scale resettlement of Muslim migrants has resulted in the destabilization of both the sending and receiving countries. Maher explains that that draining the Arab world of young migrant men and women only serves to weaken the Middle East, empower ISIS, and destabilize the receiving countries with an influx of individuals who hold anti-Western values and want their host nations to be less liberal and less tolerant.
“I so understand why moderate Muslims are fleeing their homeland,” Maher said on his September 11th broadcast, “but the answer can’t really be that we empty out the Middle East of all the moderates and leave it to ISIS and the extremists. If they just come to moderate and tolerant Europe – to someday make it less moderate and tolerant – that isn’t the answer.”
“Lets not kid ourselves,” Maher continued, there are “a lot of young Muslim men in European cities, who even though they are newcomers to the land, really are not humble to adapting to the ways of the Western world… they bridle at the fact women walk down the street with a miniskirt… Free speech is not something which they always agree with. And often their attitude is, ‘We’re biding our time until you will do thing our way.’”
A recent article in National Review likened the immigration crisis to Jean Raspail’s controversial 1973 French novel, Camp of the Saints. The novel argues that the impulse of liberals and Western religious leaders to dissolve national borders in the name of tolerance for foreign cultures will drown Western civilization under a flood of migrants. In the book there is a papal character– “a pope in tune with the times [and] congenial to the press”– who, like Pope Francis, urges the further erasure of national borders in order to foster the “universal brotherhood” of man.
The last pope had sold out the Vatican. Treasures, library, paintings, frescoes, tiara, furniture, statues– yes, the pontiff had sold it all, as Christendom cheered, and the most high strung among them, caught up in the contagion, had wondered if they shouldn’t go do likewise, and turn into paupers as well. Useless heroics in the eternal scheme of things. He had thrown it all into a bottomless pit: it didn’t take care of so much as the rural budget of Pakistan for a single year!… [And so, long afterwards when] the new pope had been elected… [he] wistfully [took] his place on the Vatican’s throne of straw.