The notoriously anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA, has released a series of “quality of life” maps today that supposedly document the country’s “population explosion,” which they predictably claim is “fueled by immigration.” The maps consist of multi-colored illustrations of the nation’s population growth, income levels, and fertility rates broken down by state, county, and metro area.
Aside from failing to reference their data source, NumbersUSA’s claim that their map somehow reflects the negative“effects” of U.S. immigration policy is based entirely on inference. The map itself doesn’t convey anything about immigration levels to support NumberUSA’s vague assumption that areas with high population growth have also experienced high levels of immigration, or that any of those factors have had a direct impact on the “quality of life” of certain regions. Another map, which is meant to illustrate the percentage of “foreign-born,” contains only a few splashes of color, the majority green (less than 2%).
Census Bureau figures which were also released today show the fastest-growing U.S. city to be New Orleans — which, according to NumbersUSA data, has a foreign-born population of only 2-5%. Most people are attributing changes in population trends as evidenced by the Census Bureau’s findings to the U.S. real estate crash and the global economic recession which is driving people out of the suburbs and into the nation’s historical population centers. According to William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, “The housing bubble caused a migration bubble and it has burst.” In fact, the international economic slowdown has decreased migration levels worldwide, meaning that fewer immigrants are coming to the U.S. in the first place.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigrant advocacy organization, America’s Voice, described NumbersUSA leader Roy Beck as someone who:
“…takes people who are upset about illegal immigration for different reasons, including hostility to Latino immigrants, and disciplines them so their message is based on policy rather than race-based arguments or xenophobia.”
NumbersUSA has blamed immigrants for everything from urban sprawl to air pollution and traffic jams. Dr. Walter Ewing of the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) describes NumberUSA’s newest project as “a map telling white people where to go to avoid dark people.”