April 11, 2014

Magic immigrants who live on dew and innovation

The New York Times explains that the Great Plains is running out of water so it needs more immigrants.
How to Heal the Heartland
APRIL 10, 2014

Timothy Egan

... But the most depopulated area is right down the midsection of the United States. ... But there are other ways to a livable (and that overused word “sustainable”) tomorrow. This future is just below ground level, and at the border’s edge: water and immigration. 
The water is the Ogallala Aquifer, a great lake beneath parts of eight states, with enough volume to flood the entire United States in a foot of ancient liquid. And while that sounds like a lot of fresh water, it’s disappearing, because of heavy irrigation. At the current rate, 70 percent of the aquifer will be depleted by 2060, according to a study released last year by Kansas State University. 
We can’t make water. But we can slow down the rate at which we use it. The solution would involve sacrifice, and resting croplands that are now saturated with water drawn through straws in the Ogallala. The mess of state and local laws makes a single remedy — say, from Congress — all but impossible. It will take the people who live in the area now and use its water — applying piecemeal conservation but on a broad scale, similar to what is now done with soil conservation districts — to make sure there is life for their grandchildren. 
The other resource is people. Without immigrants, many of them illegal, huge parts of the prairie would be left with nothing but the old and dying. “Please come here,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, after the census report on depopulation was released last year. “Immigrants are innovators, entrepreneurs, they’re making things happen.” 

Not Nebraska
Like Elon Musk!

Oh, wait, Musk lives in a mansion in Bel-Air. Perhaps rocket scientists from South Africa don't want to live in tiny towns in the Great Plains?

Perhaps other immigrants can be lured in to work in agriculture? Except, there needs to be less water consumed to save the Ogallala Aquifer, so that means less agriculture, so fewer jobs.

As immigration increasingly becomes the go-to solution for all conceivable problems -- Running out of water? Get more immigrants! -- I've noticed an increasing tendency on the part of pundits and politicians to believe that America must have mechanisms in place for forcing immigrants to live in godforsaken places like Detroit and western Nebraska. GPS ankle bracelets? Armed guards? Ball-and-chain?

Canada's experience is surely relevant. Canadian politicians justify massive legal immigration on the grounds that most of Canada is an unpopulated frozen wasteland that could use a few more souls sprinkled hither and yon. And yet, the overwhelming fraction of immigrants crowd into existing metropolitan areas.
   

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since the region produces the cheapest calorie on the planet, whoever controls the American Midwest controls the future. Let's just hand it to a bunch of illegal Mexicans and see what happens.

5371 said...

"People are using too much water, so we need to import vast numbers of new people", brought to you by the makers of "teknologee will take all our jobs, so we need to import vast numbers of new people to do our jobs."

DJF said...

A big reason why Great Plain has dropped in population is that technology allows massive farms with few people. Unless we return farming in the area back to 1900 and earlier technology there are not going to be jobs for these immigrants nor customers for any retail businesses that depend on farm workers

There is a model for large numbers of low tech/low wage farming, that was in Mexico before NAFTA destroyed it by making available low price corn and wheat from the Great Plaines. Who was in favor of NAFTA, the NYT and the other open borders types.

Also a big user of water in the Great Plains is corn since corn is more picky about having a steady water supply then wheat, corn being grown to turn into fuel to stop the global warming that the NYT keeps pushing.

High tech industrial farming combined with low wage illegal immigrants means high profits for the corporations and Wall Street (and NYT) but little money in the local farm economy to support towns, schools, doctors etc.

Anonymous said...

Michigan is part of the Great Plains? Who knew?

Anonymous said...

At least NPR is finally coming around to the troubles of massive immigration...

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/10/301467156/as-refugees-stream-in-lebanon-copes-with-human-flood-tide

"...many work as laborers, fruit pickers, waiters. It's driven wages down and unemployment up. Those refugees with the means to live in apartments have inflated rents."

!!!

So prodding American interventionism in the Levant is evidently more important than sticking to the dogma of all immigrants are all good all the time. Good to know.

Anonymous said...


"godforsaken places like Detroit".

But, but, we have a big fist!

The truth hurts, epitomized by a man named Steve Utash.

Steve from Detroit

Anonymous said...

Canadian politicians justify massive legal immigration on the grounds that most of Canada is an unpopulated frozen wasteland that could use a few more souls sprinkled hither and yon.

Looks like they don't believe in global warming.

peterike said...

Of course, if America had had a sensible immigration policy all these years, the population would be around 150 million rather than over 300 million. That's a whole lot of saved water.

airtommy said...

The highest-rated reader comments at that NYT article hate Egan's idea of promoting more immigration.

countenance said...

As long as Carlos Slim owns a big chunk of the NYT, more immigration will be its solution for every problem.

Michigander said...

Rick Snyder is running for reelection this year, and he wants the farm vote. In my section of rural western Michigan, the farmers are finally putting in their crops after the last brutally cold winter (where's global warming when you need it?). The fields are full of immigrants doing stoop labor. Legal? Illegal? Nobody ever checks.

Snyder has a background in finance and was formerly the CEO of Gateway. He has this weird idea that immigrants are going to "save" Michigan, especially Detroit. He's a very smart man, but I don't know if he really believes this or if he's just trying to curry favor with the farmers and his H-1B cheap labor computer industry friends.

By the way, the current unemployment rate in Michigan is 7.7%, so there's hardly a labor shortage here.

HillaryDodge said...

Yeah, when my great great grandfathers (7 out of 8 of them) migrated to Western Canada from various places in the British Isles and Europe, they came to turn bare prairie into productive farms. If you didn't build a house and barn and cultivate x%, you ceased to own your land and it reverted to the Crown.

Contrast that to current migrants who are still imported on the idea that we need to settle this vast land, yet all they do is push born here Ontarians out of Brampton.

The former grows the Canadian pie, the latter dices it up into thinner slices.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read stuff like this, I'm reminded of that line from the Godfather (Part I: "We have newspaper people on the payroll, don't we Tom?"

Anonymous said...

If you are going to talk about immigrants in Nebraska, I feel like you somehow should find a way to mention my favorite American novel, the great "My Antonia."

Anonymous said...

"There is a model for large numbers of low tech/low wage farming, that was in Mexico before NAFTA destroyed it by making available low price corn and wheat from the Great Plaines. Who was in favor of NAFTA, the NYT and the other open borders types. " - there was also the massive devaluation of the peso immediately after NAFTA that probably had more to do with wiping them out.

Just saying said...

Who cares what he says. Large #s of people will never move to the Great Plains.

But I have to say I'm surprised at Egan. He wrote a great book about the Dust Bowl so he should know that the Great Plains can't support a large human pop'n.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the time-honored battle - as featured in Heaven's Gate - between pastoralists and agriculturalists in the prairie states?

Perhaps this is nature's way of telling us that the stock raisres should have won.
Up with the bovines and down with the immigrants! - at least bullshit - the genuine article mind you is useful, a whole host of uses ranging from a useful bio-fuel, (half of India cooks dinner by it), to a good 'soil conditioner'. I'm afraid the NYT's and The Economist's particular brand of bullshit produces a lot of smell, but not much in the way of utility to mankind.

i'm only in 7th grade said...

You know this guy's a dummy or a liar when he says that the "mess of state and local laws" makes a federal solution impossible. Rendering such messes immaterial is just what the Supremacy Clause is used for.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wait, Musk lives in a mansion in Bel-Air. Perhaps rocket scientists from South Africa don't want to live in tiny towns in the Great Plains?

How safe are those wealthy homes in the hills of LA and Socal? That huge mansion in the pic you posted looks quite oversized for the piece of hill it's on. It looks like it would topple over in a big quake. Do the hills not get shaken up much during quakes there?

Anonymous said...

Steve you are a bit off here Michigan is not in the great plains and we have plenty of water. If we could get some IA enterprise zone legislation to make them live in Detroit for ten years to get citizenship we could help you in S.CA. By taking about 5-7 hundred K off your hands.

Anonymous said...

So according to mainstream liberal outlets, we are headed towards man-made global warming/climate change induced environmental disaster in the near future; cities are awesome and everyone should live in them and if the rent is too damn high we should build densely packed skyscrapers and cram everyone into them; we should pack more people into bleak rural areas with dwindling water resources.

Anonymous said...

I'm an immigrant who is vacationing in the USA and I'm also currently situated in a big urban city area.

I don't know why they want to put me near the USA heartland, nor the small towns.

Big cities like NYC are attractive.

Anonymous said...

It's always struck me as absurd that we(Canada) have a federal minister of immigration even though the so many of our immigrants crowd into relatively few cities. Since Harper became PM, our Ministers of Immigration have been:

1) Diane Finley (represents >95% white Haldimand-Norfolk)
2) Monte Solberg (represents >92% Medicine Hat)
3) Jason Kenney (represents Calgary Southeast, which is ~67% white, but they attract the educated, hardworking and law abiding immigrants
4) Chris Alexander (represents legitimately multicultural (60% white) Pickering-Ajax, a suburb on the eastern end of Toronto.

If the majority of immigrants wind up in a select few locations why not give hand control of immigration over to the mayors/premiers (Canada's equivalent to state governors) that have to deal with them. After all, the services that these immigrants place under strain (public transit, healthcare, education) are all administered at either the municipal or provincial level. So why does some idiot in Ottawa get a say over how many get in?

Whiskey said...

Robots are cheaper than people. They don't get sick, work 24/7, have the same attention span all the time. Robotic farming equipment will destroy cheap farm labor. Which is the story of the West, a scarce labor, low population society using technology to out-compete slave labor societies.

Until now.

Anonymous said...

You know this guy's a dummy or a liar when he says that the "mess of state and local laws" makes a federal solution impossible. Rendering such messes immaterial is just what the Supremacy Clause is used for.

Plus he seems to think that Michigan is a Great Plains state. We know he knows better than that, so maybe he's sending a coded message about the unreasonable pressure he's under to push immigration. Kind of like the Vietnam POW who, when put on camera to denounce the USG, blinked his eyes repeatedly to spell T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code.

jody said...

i do chuckle thinking about canada. how it has 'lots of space' yet 95% of the vibrant immigrants just move directly to the city and never leave, even after generations.

apparently they also give them distinct license plates so you can tell they are new immigrants not used to driving, and it comes it handy when spotting them from a distance and trying to avoid them.

Narque said...

We urgently need more hate in politics.

ben tillman said...

Of course, if America had had a sensible immigration policy all these years, the population would be around 150 million rather than over 300 million. That's a whole lot of saved water.

The limits on watering our lawn in Dallas (two days a week) is the only thing that got my wife interested in opposing

Anonymous said...


It's isn't immigrants who are going to populate these rural areas it's the white natives who are fleeing the overcrowded, overpriced cities.

Hence, the immigration pushers want to drive all working class white people out of the cities, so that only upper class whites and their coloured servants get to live in the cities.

Anonymous said...

TV needs lots of poor visible minority people who can nobly stare mistily off into the future, makes for a much better and more memorable shot...

Mr. Anon said...

"Narque said...

We urgently need more hate in politics."

Damned straight.

Anonymous said...

It will take the people who live in the area now and use its water — applying piecemeal conservation but on a broad scale, similar to what is now done with soil conservation districts — to make sure there is life for their grandchildren.

No word on what it would take to make sure there is a nation for their grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Canada's immigration has been an incalcuable disaster since the late 1960's. Canada's ecumene is very small. All the third world immigrants do is move to Toronto, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Toronto, a few other places, (& Toronto too) and lower the quality of life for the long established population living there.

Anonymous said...

If your running out of water, wouldn't bringing in MORE PEOPLE, just make you run out of water even sooner?

And since when is Michigan a Plains state?