Immigration and Immigrants: The Forest and the Trees

forest_photoNews accounts deliver a steady stream of stories about individual immigrants. They may be class valedictorians, corporate executives, refugees, or parents of U.S.-born children facing deportation. These stories are generally aimed at evoking support for amnesty for the illegal aliens or support for increasing the intake of immigrants.

What is missing from these news accounts is the context of the overall impact of immigration on the community and the country. The stories seldom if ever provide context of the immigration-fed growing population or its impact on the environment, or on non-renewable resources, or on job opportunities for native-born workers, or the fiscal impact of illegal immigration, or the impact on the public school system, or on growing income inequality – to name just some of the issues.

This production of news stories about immigration is like putting blinders on a horse so that it is not distracted by its surroundings. That may be useful for horseracing, but it is a dangerous and harmful practice for a population that needs to be able to understand the context in which developments occur. The public as well as policymakers need to be able to see the forest as well as the trees.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    traditimmigrant on

    immigrants from a great variety of cultures built this nation into a new American culture based on the unifying principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Misguided multi-culturalism and diversity have divided this nation along cultural lines. All multi-cultural nations (with the possible exception of Switzerland, for a good reason) are under constant threat of a break-up along cultural lines. The very word “diversity” means “divide”; no wonder they had to invent the word “inclusivity” to fix their underlying fallacy…. Just read up on Canada/Quebec, Belgium/Wallonia, Spain/Catalunia, etc….Progressivism has turned the US on its head: people are basically bad, only government can fix societal problems, capitalism is bad (because all Progressive policy failures are blamed on capitalism ever since Teddy Roosevelt….) Capitalism has faith in the individual. Progressivism has faith only in government…. the massive Mexican-America interests have already divided America from its anglo-European roots…
    R.I.P. America

    • avatar

      Previous waves of immigrants did NOT get food stamps, welfare, aid to dependent children, housing assistance or any other social safety net benefit.

      There is a current clash of cultures. While America has shared similiar values of White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP), the new immigrants are mostly former Spanish colony cultures of Spanish speaking, Catholic Hispanics with a different value set who have trashed their own countries due to overpopulation and now want to destroy this one. (Pew: about 70% are from Central America and the second largest from the Phillipines)

      Meanwhile, the federal government has turned a blind eye for the benefit of the US Chamber of Commerce as another tool to drive down wages and working conditions and enhance the bottom line profits for Wall Street. The other two tools are: Trade Agreements to offshore mid-level manufacturing jobs and automation paid for with Investment Tax Credits from the IRS. Pitchforks Unite.

    • avatar
      Diane Gonzales on

      First and foremost I am not precedes by no means. I have a Gonzales last name. But I am Irish and Czechoslovakian. Since my family moved to Southern California back in 1965 from Ohio I graduated in 1969. Married and had two children but unfortunately found myself raising two boys by myself by the age of 23. Survived parenthood. Been in the workforce since 1969. Unfortunately found myself having to quit my job and moved to Sun City to assist my elderly parents when my father had a stroke. He has since passed away. My efforts to get back into the workforce since has all been in vain here in Orange county, California. Factors, over 60 plus and not bilingual. So the statement above (the overall impact of illegal immigration on the community and the country) has taken a major impact on me. 🙁

  2. avatar

    With millions of our own people still out of work for years, it is complete insanity to add 12-20 million low income, low educated people to our social welfare rolls. It will be the final nail in our coffin if the GOP even goes anywhere near this bill. With chain migration for all those with new legal status, it will reach 30M people. We DO NOT have the resources to handle all of them. Housing, education, medical, police will be strained to the MAX.

  3. avatar

    This article is EXCELLENT. Says the same thing I’ve said about massive immigration and the media for decades.

    Bravo, Mr. Martin.

    • avatar

      Paranoia has nothing to do with it. If you keep up on what’s going on around you, the facts are there for your to see. It is simple common sense to understand that our country has limited resources just like every other country. It is up to us how long before or if we run out by the choices we make. Back when we first settled here the population was nothing compared to what it is today so resources weren’t a concern. Now, with the population we have today, we have a limited amount of water (look up what is happening with the Colorado river right now), limited amount of land (don’t just think living space, think food production), limited housing, medical services, educational institutions, jobs and we’re very limited in funding it would take to even try to keep up… unless YOU want to pay much higher taxes to pay for the much higher population. Eventually, even taking every dime of our paychecks in taxes wouldn’t be enough to bring back what we’ve used up. That’s not paranoia. That’s just life.

  4. avatar

    Look at Las Vegas and other cities in the southwestern deserts. One of the factors supporting their growth is access to cheap water. But those cities have reached their limits because they depend on the Colorado river, which is maxed out on available water. Over maxed actually. Some say no problem, we can just pipe it in from the Great Lakes, or pipe desalinized water from the Pacific. Which ignores the fact that both those “solutions” are hugely expensive. Imagine if your water bill quadrupled. That extra money comes out of something else.

  5. avatar

    Increasing America’s Population Was Good 100 Years Ago

    Comparing the current overpopulation water, job and land shortages in America to the less populated past 100 years ago is like comparing apples to oranges.