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Changing Demographics Are Hardening White Opposition To Immigration. By Roger Algase

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In my last post, I suggested that the H-1B visa shortage is related to wider right wing paranoia and fear of a "huge wave" of immigration inundating the US. Senator Rend Paul (R-KY) reflected these sentiments on a Sunday talk show on April 13 when he made the inflammatory statement that America "can't invite the whole world" to immigrate here. (See Huffington Post, updated April 14, 2014)

For a long time, anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA, FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies have been trying to present the immigration issue in terms of the argument that America simply has no room or "resources" for more people, regardless of where they are from.

However, an April 13 article in the Huffington Post entitled A Study on the Changing Racial Makeup of "The Next America" shows that this contention is nothing but hypocritical nonsense.

(Sorry, I do not have a link. Google should be able to bring up the article in a few seconds.)

This article states:

"However, our changing racial makeup is due to a shift in immigrants' countries of origin: while 88 percent in 1900 were from Europe, Europeans only comprise 12 per cent of the immigrant population today. Conversely, immigration from Hispanic countries is on the rise, with over 50 per cent of all immigrants to the US today hailing from Latin America. So while the Hispanic population of the US had been increasing, the influx of white Americans has been decreasing.

The article goes on to state that according to studies by Northwestern University, "white Americans may feel threatened by the prospect of becoming a racial minority " and that when faced with this prospect, "they tended to endorse more conservative political policies ".

Opposition to immigration, of course, is high on the list of "more conservative political policies".

The article continues:

"This has some people worried that we'll see a deepening divide between whites and other racial groups;"

The above conclusion be an understatement; we are already seeing a serious racial divide over immigration, whether concerning white attitudes toward unskilled immigrants from Latin America or toward highly educated IT professionals from Asia.

(It is not my intention to engage in stereotypes, however: there are also many well educated professionals from Latin America in this country, as well as unskilled, less educated Asian immigrants.)

But the racial divide is here and may be growing as America's demographics change. Can anyone seriously think that this has nothing to do with this country's seeming inability to remedy the chronic H-1B shortage, which makes a mockery of America's ideals and reputation as a country of opportunity that places a premium on education, special skills and hard work?

In my next post, I will suggest a partial remedy for the H-1B visa shortage without Congressional action. This would involve expanding the F-1 Optional Practical Training program, something which is already being used to remedy some of the hardship and injustice caused by Congress' refusal to increase the number of H-1 visas, and which has withstood a challenge by immigration opponents in a important federal circuit court decision.

Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping professional, business and family immigration clients overcome the obstacles of our complex immigration system for more than 30 years. His email address is

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Updated 04-14-2014 at 09:14 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Lynn Atherton Bloxham's Avatar
    As important as figuring out the racist component, there is another problem which we all need to be highly aware that exists even among people who are not reacting to the racial element.

    That is, that most people are entirely ignorant of how terrible the actual immigration system truly is. The convoluted, contradictory, nonsensical, time consuming,arbitrary and incomprehensible laws place everyone at a disadvantage. I do not even think the situation is good for immigration attorneys. If I hear one more time that the "illegal immigrants" need to go back and get in line like their great grandpappy did, I will scream!

    We need much more awareness of the unworkable bureaucracy that exists. There are indeed, many other misconceptions and definitely a racial element, but there are people who are simply extremely ignorant too.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Why are at least some parts of the USCIS bureaucracy not only incompetent and inefficient, but openly hostile to immigration, as in the case of the California Service Center?

    I agree that racism may not be the only reason, especially since there is diversity among immigration officers themselves. Instead, these officers are evidently responding to real or perceived priorities among their higher-ups.

    What are these priorities, and why are they so often on the side of the immigrant-haters?

    There is only one person who can answer this question - the one at whose desk the buck stops in the Oval Office.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
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