The rising tide of migrants

My colleague Bill Walsh writes about the coming collision of two bills at the legislature, both dealing with driver’s licenses, in this week’s Capitol Watch.

HF 4, if passed, would allow undocumented migrants to obtain valid Minnesota driver’s licenses, indistinguishable from those issued to American citizens and legal residents. HF 4 has already been heard in two House committees.

Session Daily notes,

Amended by the committee, the bill also would include data protection practices to ensure immigration status isn’t shared across state agencies, said Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL-Mpls), the bill sponsor.

Rep. Gomez adds,

The bill makes no changes to voting procedures, Gomez said. “A driving license isn’t a voting license; it’s for driving.”

However, another bill under consideration, HF 3, would automatically register to vote any applicant for a driver’s license.

It’s not clear how HF 3 and HF 4 would interact, especially given the ban on data sharing in the latter bill.

Perhaps the whole issue is moot. State Rep. Walter Hudson (R-Albertville) posted this video on Twitter:

The woman testifying above is a self-identified “Dreamer,” born in Mexico, and a prominent advocate for undocumented migrants in Minnesota. Her entire testimony can be found in this video, beginning at 42:10. Her English testimony begins at 42:35. The clip shown above begins at the 45:30 mark. When her testimony ends (47:38), the Democrats in the room applaud.

How did we reach this point? Simply put, America is hosting more foreign-born people than at any point in its 246-year history.

The nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies notes that there are currently (November 2022, U.S. Census Bureau data) a record 48.4 million foreign-born persons (both legal and illegal migrants) inhabiting the United States.

Bill Melugin of Fox News notes that in the month of December 2022, more than 300,000 new migrants crossed the southern border, a new monthly record,

As a share of the total population, the foreign-born level stands at 14.7 percent, matching the previous peak in 1910. It now stands just below the previous all-time record share of 14.8 percent in 1890. Here are the data in graph form,

Center for Immigration Studies. U.S. Census Bureau data and official projections.

Based on recent data from the southern border, a new record of 14.9 percent foreign born will be reached in 2023, this year.

It’s worth noting the legislative reaction the last time we reached such a peak. After the 1910 peak, Congress passed laws in 1921 and 1924 limiting immigration. As a result, the level of foreign-born inhabitants dropped by more than two-thirds in the subsequent decades.

This trend was not reversed until the passage of pro-immigrant legislation in 1965.