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THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Expect more immigrants unless the nation acts

With Congress, several states and the president trying to figure a political way out of the illegal immigration mess, it helps to understand why there is a crisis.

It's because the number of illegal immigrants, who are mostly Hispanics, increases exponentially.

Consider this:

In 1990, almost half of these illegal immigrants lived in California. By 2004, the Golden State's share dropped to about one fourth, even though the illegal population there grew during that time from 1.48 million to nearly 2 million.

North Carolina, with nearly 400,000, has nearly 16 times the number of illegal immigrants it had in 1990.

Statistics in most states show the same pattern. Illegal immigrants now make up about 5 percent of the nation's work force. They make up 36 percent of all insulation workers, 29 percent of agricultural workers and 29 percent of roofers.

In all, illegal immigrants total between 11 million and 12 million. Thus, their bold demonstrations in American streets over the weekend come with political and economic muscle.

And they will continue to come in increasing numbers and radically alter demographics if the nation doesn't take action.

They are good workers, many are family oriented and good residents. But their entry into the country is uncontrolled. And they are illegal.

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