Updated Roy Beck's New Immigration Gumballs Video

NEW GUMBALLS VIDEO: Immigration won’t help world’s poor — tends to hurt them


By Roy Beck, Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT – posted on NumbersUSA  

Please take a look at the 6-minute YouTube video right now.  


Your NumbersUSA team has gone to great effort to produce an updated video that matches the professionalism, the integrity and the persuasiveness of the original.  

gumballs 2010

We have always found that Americans are hungry for information that helps them make decisions on an ethical basis. We believe this is a major reason for the wild popularity of this presentation about the international humanitarian perspectives of immigration.  

We’re getting some great comments about the video:  

“Brilliant video. Succinct and good use of visuals to illustrate the point. The point is really that simple – the USA can’t solve all of the world’s problems. When the USA becomes bankrupt, through poorly thought-out immigration and fiscal policies, the USA won’t be able to solve ANY country’s problems.”   

— Margaret1238 of CA   

“What an amazing visual aid. It is quite overwhelming. Your oration comes across as humble as well as sincere and helps us to transcend the huge picture of the global economy. Thank you, Roy, for this presentation.”  

— Roger1203 of IN  

Well, I broke any claim to humility by posting that comment in this email!  

“Roy’s colorful gumball presentation of the immigration situation is the most succint and easily understood demonstration of the immigration dilemma. Our senators and congressmen need to see it.”   

— Florence2769 of PA  

Not surprising that it is simple to understand: I developed the presentation after being invited to talk to my son’s 7th grade class about immigration. I looked for a way to easily communicate proportionality in a visual way. I have found that when most people watched our original video of this presentation that the scales fell from their eyes and they saw the moral balance so much more clearly. That seems to have happened for Terry:  

“Wow, when you put it that way how can anyone not understand what needs to be done.”   

— Terry 7619 of WA   

“Just 1 word: EXCELLENT. This is as great as the original Gumballs. Can we get the link to this video to send out?”   

— Gene1925 of IL  

Here’s the link, Gene:  


Please forward the link to the Gumballs Video to everybody you know who is concerned about and interested in the ethical issues involved in immigration policy.  

Polls have shown that most Americans tend to agree that U.S. immigration should be lower in order to take pressure off our most vulnerable fellow citizens and off U.S. natural resources and habitat. But . . .  

. . . but large numbers of these Americans are insecure about whether it is right to protect America’s poor in light of claims that high immigration is necessary to combat world poverty.  

“Wow, never realized the extent of poverty in our world! Nor how ineffective immigration is in relieving the suffering. Thank you for such an effective illustration.”   

— Julia 5785 of FL  



We certainly got lucky and struck a special chord with our original 1996 video. People have been so enthusiastic about it all these years. But the numbers are out of date. Many of you have been pressing us for years to do a new version.  

So, we taped the new demonstration before a audience at prestigious Centre College, one of the oldest in the country. (Thanks to the students there and to many of our Kentucky activists who took the trouble to fill our audience.)  

I had to go out and buy an extra 1,000 gumballs to illustrate the new reality: In 1996, there were about 4.6 BILLION people living in countries with average incomes below Mexico’s. Today, the number is 5.6 BILLION — an extra ONE BILLION!  

This is pretty much what I predicted in our 1996 video. Sadly. Tragically.  


When you watch, be sure to be aware that you can easily pick up all the facts by clicking on the closed caption function (the red “CC” button).  


Roy & Gumballs

“It brilliantly demonstrates how migration never will be a solution to a poor country’s problems, and with the enormous current numbers of legal and illegal immigrants our government allows to enter, we will clearly be destroyed, since we do not have unlimited resources.” — Comment left on YouTube about the original Gumballs Video  

Have you ever felt intimidated by somebody who tried to claim moral superiority over you because you argued for limiting total immigration and they claimed they were on the side of the world’s poor?  

Thousands of people have told us that they have felt morally confident and equipped after watching the ‘gumballs’ video.  

“Some people say that mass immigration into the United States can help reduce world poverty. Is that true? Well, no it’s not and let me show you why.”   

— Opening lines of “Gumballs Video”  

Are you frustrated with the bishops of the Episcopal, Lutheran, Catholic and United Methodist Churches, and with the National Association of Evangelicals and myriad Jewish groups, who suggest that you are not behaving in a Judeo-Christian manner if you want to reduce immigration numbers?  

All of the national religious leaders who are pushing for more and more immigration do so based heavily on the idea that U.S. immigration is an effective way to combat world suffering.  

This video, however, provides the numbers to put those arguments into practical perspective.  


The first argument of the video is that it makes no sense to harm America’s own poor, unemployed and vulnerable — as well as America’s own natural resources — by having high immigration. The key reason is that even if we were to double our immigration levels, it can’t make even a tiny dent in reducing world poverty.  

But the second argument may be even more striking:  

“We may be really hurting the impoverished people of the world because the million that we do take are among the most energetic — often the better educated, certainly the most dissatisfied — people who if they did not immigrate would be the agents for change to improve the lot of all the people in these (impoverished) countries.”   

— From the new Gumballs Video  



I started using gumballs to help people visualize gigantic numbers after guest teaching my son’s 7th grade class.  

We made the original video of this presentation in 1996. A few years ago, several people put the video on Google Videos and then edited versions on You Tube. It went viral, and millions of people have seen it.  

The original video made me a bit of a mini-celebrity as The Gumball Man.  

It not uncommon for me to be walking through an airport, a conference or other public places and have strangers approach me and say, “Hey, aren’t you the Gumball Man?”  

I almost feel a little cheapened at times, wanting to point out that I HAVE written four public policy books and a number of other things that perhaps take a little more intellect than counting gumballs. Then I realize how lucky I am to have happened on to a simple demonstration that has seemed to have such a profound effect on so many people.  

When you click to see the video on our website, you can be the most help if you click on the lower right-hand corner of the video which will bring you a bigger picture and allow you to leave a comment for the public to see.  

ROY BECK is The Gumball Man (but his day job is CEO of NumbersUSA  

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Posted Thu 09/30 7:04pm



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