2009: Replenishment vs. Replacement: Illegal Immigration and the Future of America / Larry Eastland, Meridian Magazine

From interacting with my Hispanic and Spanish Speaking acquaintances, both in my many visits to Charismatic protestant churches and withh Hispanic Catholics, I can vouch for the fact that their religious views, their unusually-moral lives and their sense of values, as well as their approach to civilization, closely match our own. I have felt for several years that speaking out against Hispanic immigration, legal or not, has been wrong for that reason. I’m glad that other LDS thinkers are starting to reach the same conclusion.

From a completely practical perspective, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a rapidly-growing membership among Spanish speaking Immigrants including Not-Yet-Legal immigrants in the U.S.. The Church will certainly grow faster in Central and South America by having that approach in the U.S. We have all noticed that the number of full-time missionaries departing for “Spanish Speaking Missions in the U.S.” has skyrocketed.

Elder Marlin K Jensen of the Seventy gave the official LDS position on Immigration as described in this article in the Deseret News: Have compassion for immigrants, lawmakers urged .

Stanley Kurtz talked about this phenomenon of demographic decline in 2005 in this post: Demographics and the Culture War: The implications of population decline / Stanley Kurtz, Hoover Institution .

Mark Steyn has some of the best descriptions of the demographic shrinking of natives in advanced cultures in Europe and around the world in his book “America Alone.”

Perhaps the most learned appeal to trying to maintain an “English Speaking, Protestant-oriented Culture” in the United States is Samuel Huntington’s “Who Are We? Challenges to America’s National Identity” (see some excerpts on my blog at this link). I agree with most of what Huntington writes, but I disagree completely with the fear that Hispanic Speaking Catholic-cultured Immigrants will not become part of the culture in the same way previous immigrants have. I believe they will. In spite of their numbers, and the large percentage of them who still speak Spanish, I think that they will follow tha pattern described beautifully in this current post by Larry Eastland:

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants swarming across America today will: (1) learn to speak English at least as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, (2) stay off welfare and out of jail, (3) pay their taxes on time and in full, and (4) send children to school who will perform as well as Asian kids. In effect, let’s assume that they become better citizens than many other Americans.

Samuel Huntington may have reason to worry that they will not. But after working with them on Proposition 8 and visiting their charismatic , protestant Spanish-speaking churches, I am certain they will.

See the original of Larry Eastland’s Outstanding article on the Meridian Magazine website at this link.

Love and thanks,
Steve St.Clair

Replenishment vs. Replacement
Illegal Immigration and the Future of America
Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D.
Meridian Magazine
June 20, 2009

Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D., is Chairman of the Board of LEA Capitol Advisors, Inc, and former President and CEO of Parks! America, Inc. He was a Staff Assistant to President Gerald Ford.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants swarming across America today will: (1) learn to speak English at least as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, (2) stay off welfare and out of jail, (3) pay their taxes on time and in full, and (4) send children to school who will perform as well as Asian kids. In effect, let’s assume that they become better citizens than many other Americans.

Eventually, a bill will pass Congress in some form about illegal immigration. And when it does, the liberal coalition 1 will have hit the demographic jackpot. As for the conservative coalition 2, at the moment, they don’t understand the political peril to themselves and to all they believe in.

Let me explain.

When legislation to grant citizenship to 11 million 3 to 20 million 4 illegal 5 immigrants eventually passes, five out of six6 will be of voting age. Thus, the new law will minimally add some 8.5 million new voters, mostly Hispanic, to the rolls of various states, not counting the estimated 700,000 – 800,000 7 new illegal immigrants who cross the borders each year. Indeed, this may be the single most important factor in deciding the nation’s future.

This question is an integral component of a larger population trend at work in America and, incidentally, in the rest of the Western world. Stated in general terms, we are in the middle of a war between two ways of bringing new people into the American family and its work force: replenishment vs. replacement.

As a technical term, replenishment is the means of supplying more of what has been used up. For example, rain replenishes lake water that has evaporated. Likewise, family members who die are replenished by new family members.

Replacement occurs when one thing is succeeded by something quite different. For example, the horse-drawn carriage was replaced by the automobile, and gas lights were replaced by electric lights. In the current population debate, replacement means substituting immigrants for native Americans.

The illegal immigrant replacements are having more children than native-born Americans. The Center for Immigration Studies reported that they estimate that the fertility of illegal aliens in 2002 was 3.06 children on average, or about half again as high as the fertility rate for natives . . . accounting for nearly one out of every 10 births in the United States. 8

Many regard the rapid growth of the immigrant population as ominous. However, a closer look reveals an encouraging fact: the dominant new immigrant groups in America — as opposed to the new immigrants in Europe — generally share the core religious and social values of Western culture.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that:

Mexicans make up by far the largest group of undocumented migrants at 5.9 million or 57 percent of the total . . . . In addition, another 2.5 million undocumented migrants or about 24 percent of the total are from other Latin American countries. 9

Thus, 87 percent of the illegal immigrants are most likely to be Christian and have the same Western cultural values held by the existing population of European ancestry. These values include: a fierce commitment to family, a strong work ethic, and church membership (whether Roman Catholic or, more recently, evangelical.)

So, for America, the issue is not growth vs. no growth, but what kind of growth and with what consequences. The question is which will influence the future culture more: replenishment or replacement – more children in American families, or more immigrant families moving into communities.

The political and social stakes are very high, and the resolution of this dilemma will determine which political party can jump from a dependable 48 percent of the two-party vote to a stable 53 percent or more. Neither party has been able to crack the ceiling in recent years, although the Democrats appear to be slightly ahead of Republicans (.5111 to .4889 respectively). But, even when the tide rises for one party, it seldom gets above 53 percent of the total.

So, let’s take a look at the replenishment vs. replacement dilemma we face.

First, replenishment.

For advocates of this viewpoint, replenishment is about maintaining a spiritual society, one dedicated to families, traditional social and religious values, and a continuity of generations.

Replenishment requires long-term commitment, sacrifice, time, resources and personal attention. Parent-teacher conferences instead of wine and cheese parties. Saturdays at little league games instead of a golf foursome. Weeknight attention to homework rather than after-work dinners for two at five-star restaurants.

Conversely, replacement.

Usually, replacement is based purely on pragmatic economic considerations. It is discussed impersonally, when you speak in terms of jobs to be filled — gardeners, fruit pickers, waiters. It is about numbers rather than people with names, families, and values. When you need someone to perform tasks, you import new backs to haul bags of mulch, new hands to pick oranges or carry trays. Your relationship with them is strictly business – dollars paid for hours worked.

The price of replacement is cheaper, too. The costs can be passed on to others through taxes and social welfare – in effect, spread out among all American taxpayers — while replenishment requires that large traditional families take care of each other and pay their own way.

Further, replacement has little spiritual content. Its gods are government and secular organizations: welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, public schools, advocacy groups, and ethnic alliances. The natural tendency of immigrants is to first cloister among people of similar language and heritage; and illegal immigration exacerbates that tendency, since any contact with the mainstream culture carries with it the risk of discovery and deportation. Thus, illegal status tends to produce even greater cultural isolation, which in turn results in gangs, crime, and hostility to mainstream America.

There also is a socialization process that accompanies legal immigration that is absent in illegal immigration: learning the basics of American civics, voluntarily accepting to live by the rules, and committing to totally forsake citizenship in their country of origin. What do they learn by illegally entering this country, defying our laws, and getting away with it? Isn’t that the prevailing ethic of the country they left? Is it not important to socialize immigrants into our legal culture, not just the social culture?

So which do Americans prefer: replenishment or replacement? Replenishment – and by a healthy majority. Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research — in a recent study which I commissioned — posed the following question to a representative sample of Americans: “ Economists say that the only way to sustain economic growth in the long-term is to have a growing population. There are two ways we can grow the population in America. Which way do you favor? (Rotate): We can encourage families to have more children or we can encourage more immigration into the country. ”

By 40 percent to 26 percent, 10 Americans favor growth through replenishment over replacement. That’s 60 percent more. However, just as the “devil is in the details,” so is the richness in the data. (See Table I.) 11

· Fifty percent more Americans in the so-called “Red States” than in the “Blue States”
12 favor replenishment over replacement (44:30).

· A majority of those who voted for President Bush in 2004 favor replenishment, while only one-third of John Kerry voters do (53:36).

· Conservatives are three times as likely to favor replenishment as liberals (59:20).

· And, when combining Bush voters with conservatives, and Kerry voters with liberals, Bush conservatives were nearly four times as likely to favor replenishment as Kerry liberals (43:12).

But, the question is deeply embedded in other cultural characteristics as well. For example, active church goers (once a week or more), 13 were 50 percent more likely to support replenishment (46:29) than those who rarely or never attend church – whatever their denomination.

Without a doubt the political winners of the replenishment race are Republicans 14 and conservatives. 15They not only preach it, they live it. For every liberal household there are 2.3 children; for every conservative household there are 2.61 children. In Blue States its 2.4 children per household; for Red States its 2.78 children per household. 16

So what does all this mean? Here are a few implications of the conflict between those who favor replenishment and those who favor replacement.

Liberals and Democrats are losing the replenishment race – in large part because of their own views toward abortion and large families. 17If they want to replenish their dwindling base, they will have to start having larger families, something many currently refuse to do.

While Republicans and conservatives are winning the replenishment battle, they are in danger of losing the replacement war, what with our porous borders attracting literally millions of illegals.

To put it another way, when this issue came before Congress a few years ago, the Democrats and liberals “got it,” and Republicans didn’t. Liberals and Democrats had the luxury — and good sense — simply to allow the Republicans to self-destruct on this issue. During its majority rule, its policy disarray over illegal immigration made Republicans look intolerant and incompetent; an image custom-made for the Democrats. The 2006 election overturned the Republican Congress, and in 2008 . . . well, it was a tidal wave.

The stage is now set for the Democrats to give themselves the gift of 11-20 million replacements — a gift that will keep on giving. Their strategy after citizenship is granted is to do what they always do anyway: pass a series of entitlements, special protections, and pro-minority benefits – and they will become for generations the party that welcomed the new citizens and their hoards of children and showered them with presents.

If the religious and conservative leadership failed to grasp the true meaning of the issue, Americans as a whole understand. In the Luntz Survey, an overwhelming majority agreed on one thing: replacement currently is a big winner for the liberal Democrat political coalition. The question asked was: “ And which political party do you think will benefit more if citizenship is granted eventually to illegal immigrants? ” By an overwhelming margin of nearly four to one, virtually every demographic group recognized that the big vote-generating winner will be the Democrats.

So, Republicans beware and Democrats rejoice. Despite our nation’s solid commitment to replenishment over replacement, replacement stands poised to become the official policy of the United States; and the consequences of this sea change are obvious to predict: a new era of Democratic domination similar to what happened following Roosevelt’s election and the institution of the New Deal; the inevitable growth of welfare, entitlements, and Big Government; and, the intensification of divisive ethnic politics.

Could this trend be reversed by conservatives? Perhaps. These replenishers are people with religious and family values the conservatives ought to embrace – provided they can get back into the good graces of the millions upon millions who view them as intolerant of immigrants. Some time in the not-too-distant future, another Armageddon will be fought on Capitol Hill. Perhaps this time the conservative coalition can find a way to win the affection of these replacements, in the sure knowledge that they will immediately become the greatest replenishers of our families, communities, and work force.


1Generally, this refers to the liberal, secular, Democrat coalition. These labels, and the one that follows, must by necessity be rather open since none of the terms are exclusive.

2 Generally, this refers to the conservative, religious, Republican coalition.

3 Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center, “ Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” p. 2. A Pew Research Center Project, March 21, 2005. “ As of March 2005, the undocumented population has reached nearly 11 million including more than 6 million Mexicans, assuming the same rate of growth as in recent years.” Pew Hispanic Center estimates based on March 2002, 2003, and 2004 Current Population Surveys (Passel 2005); includes an allowance for persons omitted from the CPS. Estimates for California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey use “direct” methods; other states based on “synthetic” methods.

That number was corroborated in a report on August 18, 2006 by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security. In an article analyzing that report, SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer, stated that “About 11 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. at the start of this year [2006], the federal government said in a report Friday. That’s up from an estimated 8.5 million living in the country in January 2000, according to calculations by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security.” Click here for the link.

4 Charles Hurt, “ Congress open to passing bill on immigration,” The Washington Times, December 4, 2006. Congress will approve an immigration bill that will grant citizenship rights to most of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. after Democrats take control next month, predict both sides on Capitol Hill. While Republicans have been largely splintered on the issue of immigration reform, Democrats have been fairly unified behind the principle that the illegals currently in the country should get citizenship rights without having to first leave the country.

5 The focus of this article is “illegal immigration” only, not legal immigration. I believe that legal immigration greatly enriches America.

6 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 1. “ Although most undocumented migrants are young adults, there is also a sizeable childhood population. About one-sixth of the population—some 1.7 million people— is under 18 years of age.”

7 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 2.

8 Steven A. Camarota, “Birth Rates Among Immigrants in America”, The Center for Immigration Studies, October 2005.

9 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 2 .

10 34 percent were undecided or refused.

11 It is too soon to know the sustainability of the 2008 winning Obama coalition. The 2004 election is used here because it was a referendum on President George W. Bush’s entire first four years in office.

12 Purple States are those states that gave neither candidate 53 percent or more of the vote. The Purples States are: (1) Bush: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. (2) Kerry: Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

13“How often do you attend organized religious services? (1) More than once a week; (2) Once a week; (3) About once a month; (4) A few times a year; (5) Rarely; (6) Never.

14 For a good review of why political parties are here defined by their voting behavior in the last presidential election, see: (1) the late Harvard University professor V.O. Key, Jr.’s seminal work Parties, Politics and Pressure Groups , Thomas Y. Crowell Company, (2) Party Politics in America by Frank J. Sorauf, or (3) any of dozens of subsequent books on the subject. While political parties can be defined in many ways (i.e., self-identification, the party in control of Congress, contributors to parties, and many more) the most useful for purposes of this article is to define parties as how people actually voted in the last Presidential election, because Presidential elections bring out the highest percentage of voters (as opposed to off-year elections) and forces people to make the choice between the two parties’ most visible standard bearers.

15 See Michael Barone’s article “The Return of Patriarchy”, February 28, 2006 in U.S. News and World Report that focuses on Phillip Longman’s article in Foreign Policy. “He is presenting an argument he also offered in his 2004 book The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It. Patriarchy, Longman argues in a long look at history, ‘is a cultural regime that serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while also maximizing parents’ investments in their children. No advanced civilization has yet learned to endure without it.’ Another way to put it: Conservatives have more babies than liberals, and so the next generation will tend to have more conservatives—more people prone to patriarchy—and fewer liberals. His numbers are stark: The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. These circumstances are leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include an adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one’s own folk or nation.”

16 Question: “ How many children have you had? ”

17 See my article that describes the political consequences of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade , “The Empty Cradle Will Rock,” OpinionJournal, WSJ.com, The Wall Street Journal , June 28, 2004. Also published in The American Spectator . This 2007 survey asked the same question as the 2004 survey (cited above) with similar results. The question was: As far as you know, has anyone close to you had an abortion? Among all respondents, 24 percent responded “yes.” That includes 21 percent of conservatives and moderates and 31 percent of liberals (50 percent more among liberals); also, 22 percent of Bush voters and 28 percent of Kerry voters. Finally, 30 percent of Blue State respondents, 29 percent in Purple States, and17 Red States (71 percent more in Blue States than Red States); finally, 20 percent of active church goers, 25 percent of occasional attendees and 32 percent of non-church goers (60 percent more among non-church goers).


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