Yes, it’s Pat Buchanan‘s nightmare. He calls it the Third World Invasion and a State of Emergency. So do a lot of white supremacists who fear change and competition.

The fact is that America’s historical waves of immigration have mostly enriched our cultural diversity and dynamic energy as a nation. Except for the whole Indian-killing part of that, but ok — putting that aside, immigration in the past 150 years has made America a stronger, more competitive country as we attract the best talent and most courageous, hopeful, adventurous and determined people to our shores and borders. From CBS Evening News:

Census figures reveal a new reality in America’s classrooms, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes. Minority populations are climbing everywhere.

“The white population, I wouldn’t say is fading into the background, but it is becoming the older, less fertile part of the population,” says demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institute.

Frey crunched the census data and found huge jumps in the Hispanic population far from the traditional melting pots – up 21 percent in St. Joseph, Missouri; up 17 percent in Scranton, Pennsylvania; and 15 percent in Pascagoula, Mississippi – all in just one year’s time.

“You’re seeing it everywhere. People are going for jobs,” Frey says. “They’re going because they want the American Dream.”

Whites still make up 66 percent of the population. But their numbers have grown only two percent since 2000, compared to eight percent for blacks, 29 percent for Hispanics and 26 percent for Asians.

“It’s tough because we are seen as being either inconsequential or that we’re not even really Americans,” says Chinese-American writer Helen Zia.

You can see immigration as a threat — or as an incredible opportunity to create an even greater nation than ever before. It’s up to us.

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