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Immigration Is Down, but the Latino Population Is Still Surging

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Not so long ago, life was easy for xenophobes. They could slander Latinos and immigrants simultaneously, because they were thought of as one and the same. Also, there weren't that many Hispanics around, so one could spew within the comfort of an imposing majority.

Well, the Pew Research Center just made everything more difficult for the narrow-minded among us. The organization recently announced that the U.S.-born Latino population is growing at a faster rate than the immigrant population. This means that Hispanics are now more likely to be born and raised in America, as full-blooded American citizens.

This also means bigots will have to supplement their rants about undocumented immigrants with plain old racist tirades, thus doubling their effort.

At the very least, when told to "go back where you came from," Latinos are likely to deflate the assertion with something like, "You mean, go back to Wisconsin?"

Yes, a majority of Latino adults (50.2 percent) were born in America, and "rapid growth in the number of Latino births means the Latino population will continue to grow at a steady clip. Latinos are the nation's largest minority, and one of its fastest growing," according to the report.

As for immigration, that fabled boogeyman of the right wing, it peaked back in 2010, and "the foreign-born share of Latinos is now in decline." In fact, "today, about as many people from Mexico are leaving the U.S. as entering."

As an American, it's difficult not to take that personally.

In any case, the Latino "share of the U.S. population, currently at 17 percent, is expected to reach 31 percent by 2060," the report says. So nearly one-third of Americans will be at least part Latino within the next half-century.

As for the here and now, "the number of U.S.-born Hispanics entering adulthood is beginning to accelerate. Today, some 800,000 young U.S.-born Hispanics enter adulthood each year, but in the coming decades, that number will rise to more than a million annually."

That can't be good news for people who hate Hispanics. A million new Latino adults each year? And with no way to deport them because they had the audacity to be born here? Yikes!

Numbers like these are particularly vexing to those white Americans who may "feel threatened by the prospect of becoming a racial minority." Indeed, "research suggests that these shifting demographics may cause fear or a tendency to become more conservative on the part of white Americans."

And speaking of being conservative, the five states with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations are all traditional red states (Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota). As such, it might be in the GOP's best interest to rethink that troubled outreach program.

After all, Latinos are the future.