Wharton University reports that there are now 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, accounting for about 1 out of every 6 residents. The 2010 U.S. Census reports more than half of the nation's population growth was due to Hispanics; the percentage of Hispanics increased in every single state in the nation during the last decade.
Meanwhile, this nation of immigrants has been debating immigrant rights for over 200 years and will probably be for another 200 more. Given all the controversy over immigration and some of the misplaced anti-immigrant sentiment out there, especially in New Jersey (where there is a large immigrant population), it is no surprise that even as a New Jersey immigration attorney, I sometimes encounter the same animus and resistance that my clients face. Whether it is helping a client to get his/her driver license at the Motor Vehicle Commission or his/her green card in Newark, there is always a potential debate looming with some misguided member of the public.
While supporters contend immigrants -- both undocumented and documented -- bolster the economy, detractors vociferously claim they take away American jobs, cost the health care and education system money, and create other socioeconomic challenges. The reality is much more complex.
Short term, Wharton University reports that Hispanics may stimulate business, pump up the weak housing market, replenish an aging labor force and revitalize dying communities. In the long run, however, as the Hispanic baby boom continues and America's white population continues to shrink, the country better find ways to educate a diverse and underprivileged generation of Hispanics or risk losing its competitive edge in this global economy--another reason why decisions to charge immigrant students in New Jersey out-of-state tuition does nothing to improve the long-term outlook of the region, as we reported recently on our New Jersey Immigration Lawyers Blog.
The majority of the nation's Hispanics continue to be concentrated in nine states including our home state of New Jersey, New York, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and New Mexico. However, the rest of the country's Hispanic population is more widely dispersed than ever before. If this nation does not start addressing the reality of the changing face of America, hard times will certainly be ahead. Let's hope that President Obama, who has recently been trying to jumpstart talks of immigration reform, can get something going.
The New Jersey immigration attorneys at Lee & Garasia, Attorneys at Law, help individuals throughout New Jersey, including Union, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Bergen counties. Call 732-516-1717 for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.