Ours is a nation of immigrants—each new wave of immigrants serving as a wellspring for our country, a reminder of our roots and history, a surge of growth and dynamism. America’s foreign-born population stands at 36.7 million—about 11.5 percent of the overall population.
To put those numbers in perspective, in 1890, America’s foreign-born population was 15 percent of the population; in 1900, it was 13.5 percent of the population; in 1930, it was 11.5 percent of the population. In other words, today’s immigration numbers are very much in line with the last 125 years.
What’s different is that only 44 percent of the foreign-born population is naturalized today—down from 50 percent in 1980 and 78 percent in 1950—which means our naturalization system is not living up to the tried-and-true methods that once transformed the “huddled masses” into American citizens.
Although immigration is a good thing, the trend toward immigration without naturalization—and the growing acceptance of illegal immigration—are anything but positive.
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