Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 5:33 pm | Fair 82º


Joe Guzzardi: Population Growth Affects All 50 States​, and Predictions Are Discouraging

Lately, President Donald Trump has been talking a lot about chain migration, and the importance of ending it. He promises that he will not sign a deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACAs) amnesty — or, for that matter, any other amnesty — that may reach his desk unless it has a provision to end chain migration.

Refresher course on chain migration: the endless chains of foreign nationals who immigrate to the United States because citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their non-nuclear family members.

Chain migration is the primary factor that has enabled legal immigration in the United States to quadruple from about 250,000 per year in the 1950s and ’60s to more than 1 million annually since 1990. Recent immigrants have petitioned an average of about 3.5 family members to join them.

The immigration-driven population growth has led to a record-breaking U.S. population, currently 326 million people, and exacerbated urban sprawl, traffic congestion, and school and hospital overcrowding that erodes Americans’ quality of life.

According to the Census Bureau, one international migrant, net, arrives every 32 seconds, which contributes to a net population increase of one person every 15 seconds.

For the many Americans who struggle to understand what increasing numbers may mean in their daily lives — another 30 million or so more each decade for the foreseeable future — consider two examples.

Analyzing the Southeast transportation system, the Transportation Department rated as in “poor condition” 10 percent of federal roads, 46 percent of federal and state highways, and half of secondary roads not receiving federal funding. Assuming Florida and Georgia remain popular immigrant destinations, as they have been for years, more vehicles on those dilapidated roads means either more taxpayer dollars going toward highway repair or dramatically more unpleasant commutes.

In sparsely populated Wyoming, similar growth challenges exist. By 2040, Wyoming is expected to grow to 661,070, a significant increase from 2010’s 563,626. To be sure, Wyoming’ growth is modest compared to what neighboring states will endure between today and 2040: Colorado, at 5.5 million is expected to reach 8 million by 2040, and Utah, at 3.1 million is projected to reach 4.6 million.

Still, Wyoming’s Laramie County schools are struggling with overcrowding, and the state has no money to construct new buildings. Students are taught in trailers, a poor learning environment. Overcrowding has also adversely affected the school bus system with some routes canceled.

Nationwide, the explosive growth means that every 10 years 8,000 new schools must be built and paid for, 11.5 million new housing units must be constructed, and 23.6 million more vehicles will travel crumbling roads.

Getting back to Trump’s goal to eliminate chain migration, he’s been condemned from both sides of the aisle, although more vociferously from the Democratic minority. But unsustainable population growth shouldn’t be a partisan issue and, for the nation’s well-being, Congress should get behind Trump. Slower growth benefits all.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >