300 Million Americans

At 7:46 a.m. on Oct. 17, the population of the United States reached 300 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau-and there is little room for celebration, both literally and figuratively.

The United States of America is now the third largest country by population, after China and India. America’s last population “milestone” was in 1967, when the country tallied in the 200 millionth person, and before that in 1915, when the 100 millionth person was counted. Many college students will live to see a population of 400 million people in this country, projected to be reached in 2043.

This latest population milestone is not because Americans are procreating too much; the reason is immigration, both legal and illegal which accounts for 40 percent of America’s growing population number. But what about when those immigrants get here? Most of today’s immigrants that are coming to America have more children than the average American family.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “The annual arrival of 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants, coupled with 750,000 annual births to immigrant women, is the determinate factor-or three-fourths-of all U.S. population growth.”

America is too lax on its immigration policy. Twelve million illegal immigrants are allowed into this country and President George W. Bush’s so-called resolution to this influx is his proposal of a guest-worker amnesty program, which will allow immigrants to come here and work based on a temporary visa. The problem is that many of these immigrants are not going to want to leave.

Pat Buchanan, a staunch conservative on immigration, proposes shutting the borders completely for 10 years in his new book, State of Emergency. It might seem harsh on the surface, but with America reaching the 300 million mark, it seems like a very viable short-term solution.

A Washington Post story last week reported that immigrants in America send a whopping $45 billion back to their home countries each year. That is $45 billion that could be helping the American economy. Immigrants today are different from immigrants in the past. Immigrants, years ago, wanted to become part of America and help build America. Today, a large number of immigrants simply want to work here and send the money home and not become part of the country. The thriving industry of foreign language media like Telemundo and non-English-language newspaperss proves this point.

The problem with having so many people living in this country is the effect it has on the nation’s resources and programs. Since America hit the 200 million mark, the average life expectancy has risen from 70.5 years to 77.8 years. This is a good thing, except when thinking about how to provide for these people living longer lives. That is an average of seven more years of Social Security and other benefits. College students are now paying for the last 100 million and the next generation will be paying for the next 100 million. But when will it stop?

The looming problem with Social Security will only become worse when these 100 million people are added into the program; within the coming years it is going to be difficult to budget money to pay for the growing retirement population.

The price of prescription drugs is going up and there will also have to be money budgeted for this as well as medical bills.

If the government continues to be lax on the immigration issue than its citizens will go without a workable solution to these problems created by the population explosion.