Immigration Is Making U.S. Poorer and Dirtier

By | 2018-12-20T08:57:08+00:00 December 19th, 2018|
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Pacific Life Insurance, among others, has pulled its advertisements from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show following his observation that mass immigration is making America “poorer and dirtier.”

“As a company,” read the Pacific Life press release, “we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements.”

Whether one agrees with the truth of a thing, strongly or otherwise, has no actual bearing on the truth of that thing. As a matter of fact, immigration is making our country poorer—save for those who profit from cheap labor—for one simple reason: we are absorbing masses of poor people who who remain concentrated in lower-skilled, low-paying jobs. Many of those poor, whether they arrive illegally or by chain migration, happen to be minorities, and in particular Latinos.

Latinos experience the third-highest rate of poverty behind blacks and Native Americans—but as the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, they constitute a greater number of poor than blacks and Native Americans combined (10.8 million, 9 million, 700,000, respectively), according to the Center for American Progress. So, yes, immigration is bringing in disproportionate numbers of poor people and making America poorer.

And although it is considered terribly gauche and “insensitive” to say so, it also happens that the environmental habits of Latinos, as a matter of culture, are not exactly what one would call “green” by default.

Turning our attention for a moment to Riverside Park in New York, Lisa W. Foderaro deliberates over what has become a common and dirty occurrence at the waterfront place.

All summer and into the fall in Upper Manhattan, barbecuers and picnickers flock to the Riverside Park waterfront on Saturdays and Sundays to enjoy the Hudson River views and breezes. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people descend on a grassy stretch in the northern part of the park where grilling is permitted. Carne asada and barbecue chicken sizzles, children run, tattooed arms bop volleyballs and couples watch the sun settle over New Jersey.

Through “carne asada” we can infer Latinos.

Then comes Monday morning, which presents a Sisyphean struggle for maintenance workers like Willie Fitzgerald—a weekly encounter with the paper plates, confetti, plastic straws and food scraps that wind up on the grass, along paths and under picnic tables.

The pattern repeats across the United States. Look to California, with its massive immigrant population, many of whom are from Mexico and Central America—not regions reputed for their environmentalism.

Accounting for litter, pests, population density, particulate matter air pollution, and nitrogen dioxide air pollution, cleaning and janitorial services company BusyBee found Los Angeles and San Francisco among the top-five dirtiest cities in America—L.A. is the runner-up to New York City, with San Francisco coming in fifth. In fact, Los Angeles and New York, both with the lion’s share of the nation’s immigrant populations, vie for the dirtiest city in America award. The annual cost of litter clean-up in Los Angeles alone is around $36 million. Unsurprisingly, all of this has brought the more honest among the environmentalist groups into the fray to insist on reducing immigration, fearing for “ecological realities such as limited potable water, topsoil and infrastructure.”

Certainly, cities can become dirty as they grow larger as a matter of course, and not all of this can be laid upon the doorsteps of badly behaved immigrants. And yet Tokyo, with a population of some 13 million Japanese (compared to New York’s “diverse” 8 million and 4 million in Los Angeles), is “unusually clean.” Population density matters, but so does culture and, indeed, it probably matters more.

America, then, is becoming “dirtier” not only because its population is growing rapidly via immigration, but because it is absorbing the habits that have made Latin American rivers among the most polluted in the world. Americans are accommodating the cultural norms that have left the streets, parks, monuments, and vacant lots of Mexico “choking” under mountains of litter.

But to ask immigrants to assimilate and leave their bad habits behind is “racist.” To ask them to clean up after themselves is “racist.” Merely to point out that they tend to litter is “racist.” Racism, it seems, is approaching something next to meaningless, insofar that it has no meaning beyond what progressives imbue it with when it is expedient for them to demagogue potential immigrant voters.

Steve Sailer has noted that the famous 1971 Crying Indian commercial was a direct shot at the “White Man” who had trashed the Native American’s landscape. But who will shed a tear for the corner of Sixth and Alvarado—what Victor Davis Hanson has called Mexifornia—in Los Angeles?

Formally, Pacific Life and others dropped Tucker Carlson because his remarks offended their progressive sensibilities. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to suppose that an insurance company based in minority-majority, immigrant-dense California, found it potentially injurious to their bottom line to be associated with Tucker. With corporate virtue signaling, never attribute goodwill to what more readily can be explained by greed.

To wage war on poverty and invite more poor. To save the environment and invite people who poison it. To claim that immigration makes us “richer” and cry foul that income inequality between whites and non-whites continues to expand. This is the task of true believers, with whom Pacific Life may or may not stand. In either case, it is American citizens who are doomed to roll that burden up the hill ceaselessly and pointlessly, and God help them if they should say a word in complaint.

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Photo Credit: Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

About the Author:

Pedro Gonzalez
Pedro Gonzalez is assistant editor of American Greatness and a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness.