Thomas Jefferson On The Problem of Rapid and Excessive Immigration
Thomas Jefferson, a primary author of the Declaration of Independence, a Framer of the Constitution, and our third president, was very generous on the issue of immigration, but he also cautioned us about the problems that resulted from too much, too fast:
"[Is] rapid population [growth] by as great importations of foreigners as possible... founded in good policy?... They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their number, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass... If they come of themselves, they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship: but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements."
Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782. ME 2:118