Could the United States Handle 300 Million Migrants?
In a recent article titled, “An Open Borders World”, a Gallup World Poll survey showed that nearly 15 percent of the world’s adults would migrate out of their countries if they could. This means that over one billion people – yes, one billion people – want to migrate to another country permanently. The most attractive destination country is the United States, where 21 percent of migrants seek to relocate to. That accounts for over 300 million people who would like to enter the United States alone. Following the United States are other popular destination countries, including Canada, Germany, France, Australia, the United Kingdom, and even Saudi Arabia that might have to cope with a massive influx of immigrants one day, albeit on a much smaller scale compared to the United States.
The population of the United States has been steadily increasing over the past few decades with immigration as the primary driver. According to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. has a foreign-born population approaching 50 million. This is over ten million more foreign-born residents than the EU combined. In 2021, the U.S. immigrant population increased by 1.6 million people primarily driven by loosened border security. The majority of these immigrants are coming from Central and South America where poverty is rampant. As a result, illegal border crossings are the highest they have ever been in our nation’s history. This research also suggests that by 2060 the United States will add over 79 million more people, which would bring our total population to well over 400 million.
Is this sustainable growth? The effects of uncontrolled immigration to the United States could lead to disastrous consequences. Not only does it threaten our economy, but it creates national security challenges and harms our environment. If millions of economic migrants continue to leave their homes in search of work abroad and resettle in the United States, this would continue to drive down wages in our labor market and exacerbate urban sprawl and congestion in already populous American cities. This, in turn, leads to environmental degradation. In addition, uncontrolled immigration carries national security risks since the United States is not able to vet everyone coming across our border. The lack of integration and assimilation can also pose cultural problems for both immigrants and natives by causing a rise in parallel societies.
The roots of today’s immigration questions vary in different regions throughout the world. In the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, factors such as poverty, drought, conflict, terrorism, and a lack of stable governments contribute to people migrating north to Europe and in many cases the United States. In Central and South America, these factors include: fleeing high crime, government corruption, or seeking better economic opportunities. As the world works to mitigate these issues, the United States has an obligation to protect its border and stem migration flows that exceed its cap.
Since 2020, the number of people wanting to migrate to the Global North has grown fivefold from 281 million to over one billion. In the end, the United States can’t be expected to resettle millions of migrants if it came to it. The past two years have shown us that the record-breaking immigration of nearly 2 million people has been overwhelming enough.