There’s a finite amount of resources in America—and if you keep adding people who take and do not add to the prosperity of the nation—America will fail.

Lately, I’ve been studying information from The Center for Immigration Studies, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization. Founded in 1985, it is the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

Immigration is a hot button issue—usually discussed with a high level of emotion. I like immigrants, especially the hard-working ones. I especially love to hear those success stories—you know, the ones highlighted on talk shows and news pieces—about an immigrant who came here and made something of themselves. It’s uplifting, inspiring, wonderful. However, in reality, these stories are few in number.

I am going to take some heat for discussing this subject—I know that as I type these words. I’ll be called names and will bear the brunt of many insults hurled my way. I come from a long line of immigrants—who came to America over a hundred years ago. They were starving—spoke several languages—learned English—worked in fields and did lots of manual labor jobs no one else wanted. Yes, that’s where I’m from—French and Italian immigrants who came here and made a better life for themselves.

But, I also know how to do math. And, this isn’t the complicated stuff—it’s simple math. The USA is running out of money. Actually, we’re 20 Trillion dollars in the hole right now, and most of that is owed to China. In the very near future, just the interest on that deficit will become an unmanageable number.

I want to take the emotion out of this subject. Besides focusing on numbers—I need to point out that the definition of welfare in this country has changed dramatically since my relatives stepped off the boat at Ellis Island. When they arrived, there wasn’t any welfare. Churches provided a meager bit of help for the poor, but many went without medical care and starvation was a real part of daily life.

Exactly how much does America spend on welfare programs? According to the Cato Institute, the USA spends 668 billion dollars a year on 126 different welfare programs (spending by state and local governments push that figure up to $1 trillion per year).

Not only does America dole out 1 trillion dollars—welfare has become a huge industry unto itself. In other words, the administration of welfare provides many jobs. There are 126 different programs provided by state and federal government. And, fifty years ago—this behemoth of administration didn’t exist. There were actual food stamps, handed out to people standing in a line. There were basic foods provided to needy families—cheese, powdered milk, canned meats—it wasn’t glamorous to live on welfare. In fact, there was a huge incentive to get off these programs—they didn’t make life easy. They were designed to provide the most basic necessities.

Anyone who’s been in a food market today standing behind someone with an EBT card knows how things have changed. Suffice to say, living in poverty in America today is vastly different than it was a hundred years ago. However, I do not think the USA can sustain this much longer. Why? There are those pesky numbers to deal with.

I’m inserting a few graphs here, because it’s easier to look at something that paints a picture—at least it is for me.

The numbers are staggering. This is just the reality:  unrestrained immigration is pulling down the economy—51% of immigrants take welfare which includes a wide array of benefits, including housing, Medicaid, and are eligible for other programs that provide food. And, notice here—the information is from 2012—five years ago. This chart doesn’t even include the last five years of the Obama Administration, which expanded illegal and legal immigration exponentially.

Of course, illegal immigrants are most dependent upon welfare programs.

My question is:  why are we providing welfare for people here in this country illegally?

To make matters worse, Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare recipients.

The bottom line is:  a job is the only way to get folks off welfare.

Back to immigration:  more than half of that 1 trillion dollars is being utilized by immigrants, both legal and illegal—the reason being, many do not speak English and have low level employment skills.

This brings us to the overall picture of immigration in America since the mid-1800’s. As an American History major, I figured there’d be a huge spike of immigration during the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, due to the industrial revolution taking place in America at that time. But, if you look at the last few years—we’re approaching that number and exceeding it very soon.

So, what does the future hold?

*The important thing is, under the current system, some 20 to 25 million new legal immigrants will settle in the country in the next two decades – under the current system. That’s a lot of folks. The overwhelming majority will be allowed into the country regardless of their skills, mainly because they have a relative here. If we want to avoid high immigrant welfare use in the future, we will have to move to an immigration system that’s more selective – selecting highly-educated immigrants who are unlikely to use these programs. If we choose not to make those changes, we must accept without complaint the welfare costs created by the current system.

President Trump made immigration reform part of his platform as a presidential candidate and is one of the main reasons he got elected president. Since his first day in office, President Trump has been trying valiantly to throttle back immigration. He started by an attempt to eliminate immigration from countries who are openly hostile to America—i.e. they harbor terrorists. (My next article will focus on this.) President Trump is also trying to set some simple standards for those who do immigrate to America (The Raise Act).  What he is trying to do makes complete sense, however he’s being called a racist and a bigot and many other names. President Trump is being thwarted at every turn either by Progressive federal judges and by Chuck Schumer and liberal democrats in the house and senate.

Meanwhile, I highly recommend we, as citizens, educate ourselves on the subject of immigration in America. Here are some interesting points from The Center for Immigration Studies:

U.S. Immigrant Population Hit Record 43.7 Million in 2016. Overall growth slowed, but Middle Eastern, non-Mexico Latin American, Asian, and sub-Saharan African populations grew substantially.

As a share of the U.S. population, immigrants (legal and illegal) comprised 13.5 percent, or one out of eight U.S. residents in 2016, the highest percentage in 106 years. As recently as 1980, just one out of 16 residents was foreign-born.

Immigration reform is badly needed in America, because if we don’t change the trajectory we are on—we cannot sustain it—that’s plain simple truth. If we, as citizens, do not face facts—America will be crushed with the burden of this economic reality.

Let the name-calling begin.

*Panel Transcript: Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants, By Mark Krikorian, Reihan Salam, Robert Rector, and Steven A. Camarota on September 13, 2015

Independent author, Ava Armstrong, writes thrillers and romance – yes, she dares to combine the two; such a renegade! After more than a decade in corporate America with a four-billion dollar company, Armstrong decided to focus on her true love: writing literature that could be read by the average human being.

Ava describes herself as a Constitutional Conservative, and sleeps with a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver. She has one child, whom she loves, and her collection of firearms, which she loves slightly less, and a special affinity for Glocks and tactical shotguns. Her favorite things are the smell of molten metal at the shooting range, motor oil that drips from vintage 1940’s Indian motorcycles, and the scent of sandalwood soap. You’d have to read her novels to understand that more deeply.

Who are the heroes in Ava’s novels? Everyday men and women who do extraordinary things. Veterans, policemen, farmers, hard-working middle-class folks, all striving and struggling to make the world a better place. From homeless vets to women living quiet lives of desperation, Armstrong transports readers to a small town, writing complex characters and stories that often stir strong emotion.