Immigration cannot solve world poverty

Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA, offers a revealing presentation responding to the notion that mass immigration can help to reduce world poverty. How many people in the world make less than $2 per day? Here are the numbers, according to Beck:


  • Africa: 650,000,000
  • India: 890,000,000
  • China: 480,000,000
  • Rest of Asia: 810,000,000
  • Latin America: 105,000,000

Of the 7.4 billion people on earth, there is a total of 3 billion people who make less than $2 per day. If we include those who live in countries with an average income lower than that of Mexico, there is an additional 2.6 billion, making the total 5.6 billion people world wide. Beck says:

What is it the elites are telling us? They’re telling us when we take one million immigrants, we’re some how or another, tackling world poverty. And we have to do it regardless of the effect on our unemployed, the working poor, the most vulnerable members of our society. Regardless of the effect on our natural resources. Even if we went by the most radical proposals in Washington, which are to actually double our immigration to two million a year — which would totally overwhelm our physical, natural and social infrastructures — we couldn’t make a noticeable difference…

The impossibility of actually making a dent is worse than it looks here, because last year, when we took one million immigrants, these [impoverished] countries added — births over deaths — 80 million more people into the impoverished population. And this year, congress is bringing in a million legal immigrants, and this year, according to the United Nations, [impoverished] countries are expected to add another 80 million people… We could take 5 million a year, but we would never get ahead of what’s happening in these countries.

I can hear the reactions already: “How heartless. How uncaring. What would Jesus have us do? Shouldn’t we at least help some of them?” Well, who said mass immigration is the best and most moral way of helping? Beck explains:

We may be really hurting the impoverished people of the world because the million that we do take are among the most energetic, often the better educated, certainly the most dissatisfied people, that if they did not immigrate, would be the agents for change to improve the lot of all the people in these countries…

So, what’s the solution according to Beck?

Immigration can never be an effective or significant way to deal with the suffering people of the world. They have to be helped where they live. 99.9% of them will never be able to immigrate to a rich country. There’s no hope for that. They have to bloom where they’re planted. The only place that 99.9% of these people can be helped is where they live. Let’s help them there.

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