The raging and ideologically driven debate around USA immigration occupies my thoughts a lot lately, and with increasing frequency. How many immigrants should USA absorb and over which period of time? Should Federal government apply quotas to each state much like EU did with its member states?
I believe in legal and merit-based immigration. I support the Dreamers and Dreamers only. As previous of my writings would suggest, my trust in our politicians irrespective of party is rather low.
California are following their own immigration path that, in my opinion, is not providing the nation with an example of best practices as that state has done on so many other issues but rather retreating from pragmatic thought when it comes to what appears to be an immigration free-for-all. This is the same state boasting a 2016-2017 $6.1 billion budget surplus for which Governor Brown should be proud but dampened by a $206 billion unfunded pensions liability, and a water supply infrastructure built to serve 20 million people and now struggling to serve its current 40 million residents.
The big questions that not many ask and certainly even fewer attempt to address is how many total immigrants can USA including California reasonably absorb and over what period of time? Should Federal government apply quotas to each state?
I’m mindful of the extreme hunger and poverty problems suffered by our current USA population, my fellow citizens. These and many other issues motivated me to take a stab at quantifying the number of immigrants we should welcome (although I do not suggest an event horizon) by constructing 2 high-level models capped by density per square mile data and presented below.
There are of course other parameters with which we might determine immigration numbers and ceilings.
I crunched readily available numbers based on one over arching concept: what if each state, protectorate and district of which there are 56 in this great country ignored federal immigration law much like the State of California and advertised to, screened newcomers with a view to welcoming immigrants that would best contribute to their state, close their skills gap between being an ‘okay’ and ‘great’ state?
Again, and following what seems to me to be California’s objective, the goal of my models is to welcome as many immigrants as possible capped only by a per-state population density numbers.
Some states, protectorates and districts wouldn’t be allowed to welcome immigrants as their current population density is already beyond what I admit is my arbitrary ceiling. Others would take in what would certainly be considered an unmanageable number of immigrants irrespective of the time period over which immigration occurred.
Washington, D.C. owns the number one spot for population per square mile at a whopping 11,011 people per square mile in 2015 and according to Wikipedia. Alaska holds up the bottom of 2015 population density table boasting 1 person per square mile. In the middle of this list and ranked No. 25 is the State of South Carolina hosting 162 persons per square mile.
My first model assigns proportional immigration target numbers based on the average USA population per square mile. The USA average number of people per square mile is 494 and is the baseline for Model 1.
The second model (Model 2) extrapolated South Carolina’s 162 persons per square mile population density number.
Whilst reviewing my two models, please consider that politicians would be overseeing all and ask if it is possible that each state depending on their ideological, political leaning might more readily welcome like-minded immigrants or as near to like-minded immigrants as they could reasonably screen to a high level of certainty?
According to American Tax Reform, Republicans controlled Executive and Legislative branches of 26 states’ governments and Democrats controlled Executive and Legislative branches of 6 states in 2017. I omitted from my model calculations states in which government was split between parties.
Model 1 suggests that in order for Republican controlled states to achieve average USA population density number albeit federally-suggested or –imposed quota they would collectively take in 706,857,867 immigrants over an unspecified period of time. This same model projects that Democratic controlled states would collectively take in 271,721,664 immigrants over the same unspecified period of time.
Those combined, collective numbers represent a breath-taking 3X increase to USA population growth over an unspecified period of time.
As Model 1’s population growth multiplier caused me to breathe into a brown paper bag, Model 2 based on South Carolina’s 162 persons per square mile population density was a calming balm.
Model 2 suggests that in order for Republican controlled states to achieve South Carolina’s population density number they would collectively take in 128,743,690 immigrants over an unspecified period of time. This same model projects that Democratic controlled states would collectively take in 16,688,120 immigrants over the same unspecified period of time.
Setting ceilings based on South Carolina’s population density number would give rise to a modest 45% increase in population over an unspecified period of time.
I do not have the domain expertise to authoritatively suggest the total number of immigrants USA might absorb over a specific period of time but I do hope above scenarios based on welcoming the maximum possible number of immigrants and capped only by population density will give each reader reason to pause and perhaps ask, demand that we at least agree a ballpark figure and event horizon for our welcoming these pilgrims.
Absent our agreeing a total and sustainable number of immigrants over a defined period of time, we follow California’s ‘going-my-own-way’ model at our collective peril and risk planting the seeds for even bigger problems (e.g., food insecurity, water insecurity, housing insecurity, personal insecurity, etc.) that would potentially surface in not too distant future.