The Last Amnesty In Graphical Form
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The Last Amnesty In Graphical Form (Click To Enlarge)

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Federal reports on the Total Fertility Rate of expected babies per woman's lifetime seldom bother to break out Hispanics before 1989, so the impact of the 1986 amnesty on Hispanic immigrant fertility, one of the key events of recent California history (e.g., the overwhelming of public schools), is almost utterly unknown. Indeed, the linkage of unskilled immigration with fertility is barely understood. 

However, the numbers have been calculated.

This graph is from p. 26 of the Public Policy Institute of California's 2002 book, Understanding the Future of Californians’ Fertility: The Role of Immigrants by PPIC demographers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson. They calculated the TFR rates by ethnicity in California from 1982 onward, demonstrating the huge pig-in-a-python bulge among foreign-born Hispanics that followed the 1986 amnesty legislation. Hill and Johnson write on pp. 27-28:

Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics increased from 3.2 to 4.4.

And they go on to explain how the amnesty caused this.

The important 2010 paper How High is Hispanic/Mexican Fertility in the U.S.? Immigration and Tempo Considerations by Emilio A. Parrado of the University of Pennsylvania came to a similar conclusion: illegal immigration boosts Hispanic fertility. (Interestingly, Parrado was most interested to hear from me about the PPIC work of 2002 — in other words, even an expert in the field wasn't aware of it.)

Illegal immigrant women have lots of babies soon after arriving in America. Thus, the sharp drop in Hispanic fertility since its recent peak in 2007 is largely due to the sharp drop in illegal immigration after Bush's Housing Bubble burst. Conversely, giving amnesty to illegal immigrants today, will encourage them to invite in women and have lots of children, just as in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

No doubt, in the current mindset, we will be informed that The Economy desperately needs this boost of another baby boom among amnestied unskilled illegal immigrants (think of the increased disposable diaper sales!). But the more prudent might wish to consider what exactly the Schumer-Rubio bill portends.

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