Monday, August 9, 2010

Putting Candles out with Water Cannons

There are rumblings from US legislatures about wanting to change the 14th amendment, or even repealing it. The reasons they are making such a proposal is in hopes of closing a certain small loophole that grants a person citizenship status, even if their parents are not actual citizens. While I do understand the need to try to get illegal immigration under control, this is to me a very poor way to discourage people from coming to this country without using proper channels.

The math simply doesn't add up.

Recently I wrote an article in response to an editorial written at my local paper. The original editorial dealt with the writer's thought on solutions to ending or greatly reducing abortions in the US. In my response I did a bit of research, and pulled some figures from the US census as well as the American pregnancy association. In the research data I displayed, I demonstrated the numbers of women of child bearing age, the numbers of pregnancies, and broke those numbers into those that resulted in live births and those that were terminated for natural or procedural reasons. My research also discovered that there are an average of just over 4 million births every year. The US population is estimated at a little over 300 million, half of that are women, about 60 million of that half are of child bearing age. A little further research showed that about 15.4% of the US population are of Hispanic origin or about 47 million. If about half of those are women then you have about 23.5 million, and maybe about half of those are of child bearing age. or about 11.5 million. I based my estimates from figures found at USA quick facts from the US Census

Then there are the actual pregnancy statistics. I used this source, American Pregnancy Association. There are about 6 million pregnancies every year and just over 4 million go to term. Some estimate that about 48% of all babies born are to Hispanic women, as birth rates in other demographic groups are actually falling. So lets say about 1.92 million babies are born to Hispanics. The number of undocumented residents is estimated at about 11 to 12 million. Now one can be quite certain that a fair number of those people are not having babies based on the actual statistic of births occurring. That is simply true because not all of those 11 million or 12 million are women, and of those women, only a portion are of child bearing age. So that narrows down the number of illegal immigrants that are actually having babies annually even further.

 If about 10% of women of Hispanic decent are having babies, Hispanics make up about 15.4% of the overall population, only a fraction of all Hispanic women are here illegally, and there are only about 4 million babies born every year that includes all US residents, then we are actually talking some pretty small numbers when it comes to babies being born to illegal residents. Yet some in government or in political activist groups want to repeal a Constitutional Amendment to prevent citizenship to a very small portion of US residents.

To me the proposal is like putting out a candle with a water cannon. I do wonder if anyone has bothered to do the math. If someone like me, with merely adequate math skills can conclude that the figures are not strong enough to make a case to repeal a Constitutional Amendment, then I would hope that others smarter and with a whole lot more influence then I would be able to demonstrate the ludicrousness of this proposal as well.

While I understand that we can do more to encourage people to obtain citizenship through proper channels, to discourage people from coming here illegally and strapping our social system, and to penalize businesses who willingly hire illegals, sometimes at substandard wages, repealing the 14th amendment is not the way to go about it. I sincerely hope this idea dies a quick and painless death.


Michael King said...

Now now now, you're not supposed to actually look up facts and research stuff on your own and make an educated decision about social issues. Most good Americans simply flip a coin to pick the side they want to agree with, and then pledge to hate the other side with all their being even when every fact in the world proves them wrong.

David G said...

Most laws that are passed are not intended to actually solve a problem. They are intended to make the lawmakers that proposed them look good to their particular constituency. Right now, at least in certain circles, it's chic to be a racist and fight the evil brown people from the South. How dare they come here and out work us! I wonder if these "lawmakers" are as concerned about Canadians that have babies in the U.S. also. I'll bet not.

S, Galloway said...

That is a Fox News article about this. Their statistics are close to mine, but they are making it sound worse then it is. If 8% of babies born are to illegals, then that means that 92% of babies are born to people here legally. I also wonder who actually is being polled on this.