Without immigration the USA’s natural birth rate is about 1.5 children per mother. This means that without immigration the US population would actually be in decline.

To maintain population levels the ideal number is about 2.1, which is what the US official statistics show.

How do they perform this magic trick? Armies of clones? Robots with synthetic skin? Lizard people in human suits ?

No (except maybe for that last one – it seems the most logical explanation for US politicians).

The US controls how many people can enter the country legally through various mechanisms such as strict quotas and things like the green card lottery (the number of “winners” changes every year).

Of course the USA is becoming a lot more hostile to immigration, and as a result it is no longer attractive to a lot of people. For the first time in a long time net migration across the US-Mexican border has been negative, by which I mean that more people are leaving the USA to go live in Mexico than are leaving Mexico to go live in the USA.

The reasons here are complex. Mexico has been experiencing an economic boom, the US has been in an economic slump, and the US government has been doing some pretty horrific things to people (especially kids) trying to immigrate to the USA.

What does this mean for the USA? Well the reality that the USA is going to have to face if it continues down this path is that population decline really, really sucks. It brings with it a mass of problems.

Of course the US situation is a bit different from the situation in parts Europe and Japan which are experiencing population decline. One of the big factors in these countries is that medical care is so good that old people are dying much, much later.

In the USA medical care sucks horribly for most people, and they simply can’t afford life-extending treatments unless they’re extremely rich, so old people will die much younger. This will create a different dynamic in the USA, but will also accelerate population decline, so the results will become apparent much more quickly.

The bottom line here is that the USA needs active and continual immigration to survive – without immigration the US’s population will shrink rapidly in a way that is unprecedented, creating economic problems like the USA has never seen before.

Basically there are three main ways to lawfully move to the USA:

  1. Diversity Visa lottery (a.k.a. Green card lottery). There are millions of applicants every year and only 60000 winners. So you need to be rather lucky to succeed this way. I myself have been applying together with my wife for the last 8 years and still no luck.
  2. H1B Visa. This works if you can find an employer in the US, who agrees to go through all the bureaucratic hassle to declare that he would prefer to hire you instead of any US resident. Plus it can be a rather lengthy process and many employers simply don’t bother with it, because when they need an employee, they usually need them as soon as possible, not in a year or two. And there’s one more drawbacks – this Visa allows you to stay in the US only as long as you work for this particular employer. So if you decide to move forward with your carreer, you’ll have to go through all the hassle again.
  3. Investment. If you declare (and back it up with the proper bank statements etc.) that you intend to start a business in the USA, investing a minimum of (not completely certain of the amount, never bothered to actually remember it, since it’s out of my reach anyway) $500000, creating a minimum of two jobs, you can get an investor visa.
  4. Didn’t mention above, since I haven’t actually considered it as an option, but marrying an US citizen is also a way.