A plan to regularize illegal immigration in return for preferential access to Mexican oil and gas is now receiving serious consideration at the highest levels of the administration. The assumption is that such a trade-off would work to our advantage in the long run, and provide the United States with a greater measure of energy independence than would otherwise bepossible. Despite high unemployment and considerable strain upon our social and natural resources, the acceptance of admittedly large numbers of illegal aliens is apparently seen as a lesser threat to our nation than reliance upon other energy sources.
We seriously question the claimed benefits of a quid-pro-quo that forecloses the possibility of a stable American population at an environmentally sustainable level. Our own inquiries into the impact of a "legitimized" influx of illegal immigrants upon American society lead us to conclude that such a policy would have disastrous environmental and economic consequences.
Projections by The Environmental Fund inciate that illegal immigration will add fully 40 million people and their dependents to our own increasing population by the year 2000 -- for at total of 306 million.
This study assumes a lax enforcement posture with regard to illegal immigration. A reversal of this policy, in the direction of openly accepting the exploding population south of the border, would bring an immediate and continous increase of immigrants. If the contemplated oil-for-people exchange is implemented, the population for every year between now and the year 2000 will greatly exceed The Environmental Fundhs projections.
Recognizing that these figures are grossly understated, we have nevertheless based our calculations upon that study.
Currently, each American consumes energy at the rate of 333 million B.T.U. s annually, equivalent to 58 barrels of oil, of which nearly a quarter is imported.
By 1990, the extra oil required to meet the needs of the additional 20 million "illegal" residents will be 1.2 billion barrels, imported at a cost of $16,86 billion (assuming the real cost of this oil remains at the proposed Oct. 1, 1979 OPEC price). By the year 2000, the 40 million "illegal" residnets received by then in exchange for Mexican oil will requrie the importation of 2.3 billion barrels of oil, at a cost of $33.4 billion.
A increased domestic population will necessarily consume more of our domestic grain production, leaving less agricultural production for export -- both to our industrial allies and to famine-stricken neighbors. By the year 1990, the additional migrants from Mexico will consume 16 million metric tons of cereals annually, reducing our export earnings by $2.23 billion, assuming that prevailing market prices do not increase.
By the year 2000, when these immigrants are consuming 32 million metric tons of grain otherwise avilable for export, we will have lost an additional $4.42 billion in revenue.
By 1990, our shotr-fall in balance-of-payments from this source alone will reach $19.09 billion; ten years later, it will double to $37.8 billion. As these figures are vastly understated, being based upon 1979 market prices and not reflecting probatle price increases occurring within the next 20 years, our economic problems will become far more serious than portrayed here.
The specter of a dollar outflow of this magnitude, when added to our present and still uncontrolled trade imbalance, foretells serious economic upheavals for America. At the very least, we shall be burdened with an extra seven percent boost in inflation and further worsening of the value of the dollar overseas. Today's environmental, pollution and natural-resource crunches will seem like child's play when we try to live with the consequences of adding 80 million people in the next 20 years.
Finally, in evaluating this exchange, we must consider that the oil agreement is by its nature temporary, subject to lapses in Mexcian policy and to eventual depletion. But the contemplated population growth is likely to be irreversible. We shall be permanently burdened with its environmental, economic and political consequences.
Therefore, we firmly oppose the proposed exchange. Further negotiations along those lines should be discontinued at once.