While political jockeying continued over the path the Senate will take to produce immigration legislation, a prominent group opposing illegal immigration released a study that said the U.S. population could balloon to as many as 500 million people by 2050 if current illegal and legal immigration continues unchecked.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he would push his own enforcement-focused version of an immigration bill if the Senate Judiciary Committee didn't produce a comprehensive bill by March 27.

Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would filibuster any immigration bill that did not come from the Judiciary Committee and did not include a guest worker program. Reid also said any immigration bill should have a "path to citizenship" for the estimated 11 million undocumented workers already in the U.S.

Study raises alarm

The Washington, D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform released a report March 20 that said the U.S. population could approach 500 million by 2050 and 1 billion by the end of the century. The group said the influx would create income inequality, strain the environment and pave over farmland with residential and commercial development. The current population of the U.S. is 300 million.

Illegal immigration alone adds 500,000 to the population each year, the report said.

Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations for the American Nursery & Landscape Association, Washington, D.C., said the report from FAIR reflects the group's historic roots as a population control movement.

Regelbrugge said U.S. youth have not been raised to enter vocational trades such as construction, much less work the fields.

"Is somebody going to work the fields, or are we going to let China feed us?" he said.

SOURCE: The Packer.