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Jonathan Last says that fears over immigration are overblown. As fertility rates drop in developing countries around the world, they’re going to send fewer immigrants our way no matter what policies we adopt:

When it comes to immigration, demographers have a general rule of thumb: Countries with fertility rates below the replacement level tend to attract immigrants, not send them. And so, when a country’s fertility rate collapses, it often ceases to be a source of immigration

….Many Latin American countries have already fallen below the replacement level. It’s not a coincidence that sub-replacement countries — such as Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica — send the U.S. barely any immigrants at all. The vast majority of our immigrants come from above-replacement countries, such as Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.

But even though they’re still above-replacement, those countries are witnessing epic fertility declines too. Consider Mexico, which over the last 30 years has sent roughly two-thirds of all the immigrants — legal and illegal — who came to the United States. In 1970, the Mexican fertility rate was 6.72. Today, it’s hovering at the 2.1 mark — a drop of nearly 70% in just two generations. And it’s still falling.

The result is that from 2005 to 2010, the U.S. received a net of zero immigrants from Mexico.

I had a funny feeling as I was reading this: I felt like I should have heard about this before. Or that I should have already known this. And yet, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve seen anyone make this point.

It’s a seductive one. I have an enormous fondness for explanations that rely on big, broad trends: demographics, money flows, growth of computing power, etc. That naturally means I’m a sucker for Last’s argument here, despite the fact that I don’t really buy his whole “demographic doom” schtick about America’s falling birth rate (which he’s on a book tour promoting at the moment).

Still, the fact that Last has successfully pushed one of my buttons doesn’t mean he’s right. It just means I’m intrigued by his argument. I think I need to read more about this.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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