Immigration-Driven Population Growth Exacerbates Water and Other Shortages

In Congress, an inverse relationship exists between the numbers of border crossers and a discussion about how millions of new migrants will be cared for. The greater the numbers, the less is said about open borders and the resultant negative long-term population consequences.

A report from the border indicates that immigration agents stopped about 7,100 worldwide migrants each day during a recent week. Department of Homeland Security officials predict that fiscal 2022 migration totals will surpass last year’s 2 million, plus an estimated 1,000-a-day “gotaways.” Once Title 42 is eliminated, the illegal alien surge will intensify because agents won’t be allowed to return migrants to Mexico based on COVID-19 grounds.

President Biden and those who advise him have privately agreed — they wouldn’t dare make a public announcement — that open borders are okay with them. In this era of shortages in oil and affordable housing and of supply chain disruptions causing product shortages everywhere, what will happen next to the migrants and to the U.S. environment after they settle? Limits to population growth exist, but are a taboo subject in Congress. Remember also that immigrants have multiplier factors like chain migration and increasing family size or starting new family units that must eventually be provided for.

Consider the most fundamental natural resource need that everyone requires: water, and the nationwide dire shortage of it. The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has created the U.S. Drought Monitor that maps nationwide drought conditions and maintains historical drought records. Ranked according to drought severity, the top seven states include four that are primary migrant destinations: Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas, the arrival point for thousands of migrants.

As of March, 90 percent of Texas is experiencing drought conditions with High Plains residents suffering from extreme drought. Forecasters warn that drought conditions could worsen, and some predict the possibility of unprecedented 10-year megadroughts that will bring hotter, drier and more extreme weather than normally seen. The University of Texas and its Environmental Institute analyzed the state’s water crisis and the probability of it expanding. Identified as one of the major contributors to water shortage was population growth. Texas’ population is expected to increase from today’s 29.5 million people to 51 million by 2070, with the majority residing in urban areas. Inarguably, the more people added to Texas’ population, the more difficult it becomes to overcome water shortage challenges.

The expected Texas population increase of 21 million people in less than 50 years is part of the U.S. total population growth of 70 million, to 404 million, during the same half decade. All will be daily consumers of water in multiple ways.

Those calling for increased immigration forget that growth is finite. Sir David Attenborough, the natural history filmmaker and biologist who advocated halving immigration into the United Kingdom to preserve as much of the landscape as possible once said, “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.” Attenborough could have mentioned that water supply is an impossible-to-solve problem for any area when there are no limits to population growth.

PFIR analyst Joe Guzzardi writes about immigration issues and impacts. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

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