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Arranged in order of publication date with the most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. Selection does not necessarily imply endorsement of findings or research methodology by Diversity Dynamics and its partner organizations. We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.

We have assembed in this collection research on the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration on local communities, including studies of immigrant entrepreneurship and banking activity, the role of immigrants in specific industries, and the economc impact of various proposals for immigration reform.

The Fiscal Impact of Refugees and Asylees Over 15 Years: Over $123 Billion in Net Benefit from 2005 to 2019,
Office of Human Services Policy, Dept. of Health and Human Services, February 2024, 7 pp.
Authors:  Robin Ghertner et al

This brief summarizes findings from the first federal study to estimate the fiscal impact of refugees and asylees on federal, state, and local governments, from 2005 to 2019. The study focuses on the roughly three million refugees and asylees who arrived in the United States since 1980 -- close to one percent of the total U.S. population. The study found that the net fiscal impact of refugees and asylees was positive over the 15-year period, at $123.8 billion. Governmental expenditures on refugees and asylees totaled an estimated $457.2 billion over the 15-year period; refugees and asylees contributed an estimated $581 billion in revenue to federal, state and local governments. The net benefit to the federal government was estimated at $31.5 billion, and the net benefit to state and local governments at $92.3 billion. Refugees and asylees had a comparable net fiscal impact to the total U.S. population, on a per capita basis. On average, the study found, newer refugee and asylee arrivals had lower levels of income and employment, but those in the U.S. for at least 10 years were similar to the total U.S. population in employment and household income. The primary data source for this analysis was the Transfer Income Model, version 3 (TRIM3), a microsimulation model that draws eligibility rules for government benefit programs, based on data reported in the Current Population Survey. The study results, the report notes, indicate that resettlement efforts are effective in supporting economic integration. More research is needed though to understand which services are most effective for different refugee and asylee populations. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)


Facts, Not Fear:  How Welcoming Immigrants Benefits New York City

New York City Comptroller, January 2024, 12 pp.
This report from the New York City Comptroller focuses on the positive impact of immigrants on the economy and workforce of New York City. The author cites research showing that immigrants contribute to the economy as workers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers; they also create jobs, pay taxes, and boost spending power. According to the author, even undocumented immigrants play a vital role in sustaining essential programs and industries. Immigrants drive workforce growth, compensate for declining birth rates, and do not take jobs away from native-born workers. Despite the recent surge in asylum seekers in New York City, the overall number of immigrants in New York City has remained rather static. The period from 2012 to 2022 saw slower growth in the immigrant share of the city’s population than the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s. The undocumented population in New York City has also declined over the last decade. In just one day in 1907, over 11,000 immigrants entered New York City through Ellis Island. Today with twice as many people as in 1907, New York City welcomes up to 600 migrants a day seeking shelter. The author, however, does encourage the federal government to take steps to ease the financial burden placed on New York City by the large number of asylum seekers, many of whom are barred from working by federal regulation. The report also mentions the more than 100 million people in the world displaced by conflict, instability, and violence, the majority of whom (76%) are residing in low and middle-income countries. The author is proud that New York remains “the greatest immigrant city the world has ever seen.”


Despite Barriers, DACA Entrepreneurs Contribute To Their Communities,

Center for American Progress, January 25, 2024, 8 pp.
Authors: Rosa Barrientos-Ferrer et al

This issue brief highlights the stories of three DACA-recipient entrepreneurs, detailing their successes, challenges, and contributions to their communities. According to an earlier CAP survey, more than 12,000 DACA recipients own their own businesses. Tobore Oweh, a Nigerian immigrant who came to the United States at age 7, faced challenges in pursuing her dream of obtaining an interior design degree due to her undocumented status. However, after receiving DACA in 2012, she was able to explore various job opportunities in design and eventually became the owner of The Petal Effect, a successful floral and design boutique in California. Christian Serrano, another DACA recipient, credits DACA for enabling him to start his construction company and create jobs for his community. Similarly, Alejandro Flores-Muñoz, a DACA recipient and owner of Combi Cafe, has used his business ventures to give back to his community and mentor aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs.  DACA has been crucial in providing these recipients and over 835,000 others with temporary protection from deportation and work authorization, allowing them to contribute to their communities and the economy. Despite their success, however, they face barriers such as uncertainty over their legal status and limited access to resources. The authors argue that a pathway to citizenship is essential to give them stability, security, and the opportunity to fully realize their dreams. For this reason, they favor legislation like the American Dream and Promise Act which would extend permanent status and protections to millions of Dreamers, benefiting the U.S. economy and society as a whole.


Green Light to Growth: The Economic Benefits of Clearing Green Card Backlogs,
Bipartisan Policy Center, November 2023, 30 pp.
Authors: Jack Malde et al

Using federal data, this study estimates that a total of 7.6 million individuals sit in employment- and family-based green card backlogs. Going back decades, such backlogs have grown in recent years, due to factors ranging from restrictive Trump era policies to agency understaffing to demand outstripping supply (in the case of family-based petitions). These backlogs restrict those both inside and outside the U.S. from joining a labor force in dire need of more workers, including in essential fields such as health care and national security. Looking at the productivity benefits associated with new entrants and adjustment of status, the researchers estimate that clearing these backlogs would increase gross domestic product by $3.9 trillion over 10 years. 71% of the gain would come from clearing the cap-based backlog (approved applications waiting for green card availability) and 29% from processing backlogs (pending applications). The vast majority of cases would relate to new entrants to the country. The economic benefits of clearing backlogs, the study finds, would be distributed across states, with wealthier states with larger immigrant populations receiving more benefits on average. Decentralized state-based visa programs could help redistribute these benefits across the country. Increasing green card limits, as proposed by some recent legislation, would further reduce both current and future backlogs and likely have even greater economic benefit. Without prompt action by policymakers, the authors conclude, U.S. visa backlogs will continue to grow as they have for decades, with considerable human and economic costs for both foreign and native-born populations. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

Surname Diversity, Social Ties and Innovation,
Social Science Research Network, September 21, 2023, 92 pp.

Authors: Max Posch et al

The results of this study support the theory that social interactions between diverse individuals were key drivers of innovation in U.S. counties from 1850 to 1940. The authors relied on surname diversity to quantify the level of diversity within specific counties and measured innovation through the number and quality of patents produced by people in that location.  While counties might not reflect the full range of interactions occurring in American society, they provide, according to the authors, “a reasonable approximation in the pre-1950 context.” The authors use two different patent measures to test the quantity and quality of innovation occurring in each county: the total number of patents per capita over a 5 or 10-year period and the number of “breakthrough patents” produced in that location. Although migration is a key driver of surname diversity, it doesn’t always produce this outcome, especially if there is a movement of people who are culturally and genealogically related to the dominant groups within a particular county. The authors believe that their research confirms a host of other studies that demonstrate how forms of diversity contribute to economic prosperity. They are also keen on the use of surname diversity as an effective way of measuring diversity within local communities.


New American Fortune 500 in 2023: The Largest American Companies and Their Immigrant Roots,
American Immigration Council, August 29, 2023, 10 pp.

The Fortune 500 is a list of the largest and most recognizable American companies, including familiar names like Apple and Costco. In their special report titled “New American Fortune 500 in 2023,” a follow-up to a similar report published in 2011, the American Immigration Council stresses the important role that immigrants and their children play in establishing these large companies.. A staggering 44.8% of Fortune 500 companies have been founded by “New Americans” (defined as immigrants or their children). Not only do these companies employ 14.8 million people cumulatively and bring in trillions of dollars in revenue ($8 trillion in 2023), but they also spur enormous innovation and growth across industries. The report also makes it clear that several states (New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Virginia) have emerged as hubs for New American Fortune 500 firms – each state having at least 10 such companies within their borders. The information contained in this report is extensive, and points to the positive global, national, and state level impacts of New Americans.


The Economics of Nurse Migration,
CGFNS International, August 2023
Authors: Mukul Bakhshi et al

This report is based on a survey of more than 1,500 foreign-educated nurses who have used the credentials verification services of CGFNS International to facilitate their migration to the U.S. CGFNS International is the world’s largest credentials evaluation organization for the nursing and allied health professions. The results of this survey offer a window into the economic experiences and impact of nurse immigrants working in the U.S., as well as the driving reasons for their migration. Today, roughly one in eight nurses globally lives and works outside of their country of birth or education.  The percentage of foreign-educated nurses in the U.S. is 15%, but much higher in the UK (20%), Canada (21%), New Zealand (26%) and Australia (30%). In the Middle East and North Africa region, upwards of 80% of the nursing workforce is foreign-born. The report endeavors to quantify the financial costs and sacrifices associated with nurse migration, while highlighting the substantial contributions that immigrant nurses make to host countries and the economies of both the host and sending nations.


Starting Anew: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America
American Immigration Council, June 2023, 35 pp.

This study looks at a pool of 2.4 million likely refugees identified in American Community Survey data, a significant subset of the 3.5 million refugees who have arrived in the U.S. since 1975. In the face of concerns about the costs of refugee resettlement, the evidence shows that the U.S. refugee population has a positive economic and social impact, especially over time. Even though many receive public assistance on arrival, the median household income of those who have been in the U.S. at least 20 years exceeds that of U.S. households overall. In 2019, this population had $93.6 billion in household income and paid $25 billion in taxes. Refugees also have higher rates of business creation than native-born Americans and even higher rates than the relatively entrepreneurial general immigrant population. They also become naturalized citizens and homeowners at higher rates than immigrants in general. Surveys also find that refugee employees have lower turnover rates across industries and regions. In cities and towns across the country, refugees help fill workforce gaps in healthcare and manufacturing, service jobs and transportation. Refugee homeowners and entrepreneurs have also helped revive blighted downtowns. While political debates around refugees have typically focused on humanitarian and security concerns, the economic argument for admitting refugees, the study concludes, deserves consideration by policymakers as well
. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)


AI and Immigrants

National Foundation for American Policy, June 2023, 15 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson

Immigrants have founded or cofounded nearly two-thirds of the top AI companies in the United States, according to a new National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) analysis entitled AI and Immigrants. The author Stuart Anderson used the Forbes list of the top 50 AI companies as the main source of his analysis.  The NFAP report gives the names of these immigrant founders, their countries of origin, and the number of employees in their companies. Many of these founders began their careers as international students at American universities. Forty-two percent (18 of 43) of the top U.S.-based AI companies had a founder who started out as an international student.  Remarkably, 70 percent of full-time U.S. graduate students in fields related to artificial intelligence are international students, In light of these findings, the author emphasizes how important the retention of international students in this field will be for the future of America’s leadership in artificial intelligence. The report ends by reaffirming the policy recommendations in the 2021 final report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. These include: providing a separate pathway to permanent residence for immigrants with Ph.D.’s from U.S. universities in STEM fields and doubling the annual limit on employment-based immigrant visas. The countries with the highest number of immigrant entrepreneurs in top AI firms are India (10 founders), Israel (3), the U.K. (3), Canada (2), China (2) and France (2), but founders also come from 15 other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Taiwan, Syria, and Poland.  According to the author, this small, but burgeoning technology will be transformative across society, and “the nations that best develop and integrate AI will likely be the most productive and do the most to improve their citizens’ living standards.” (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Which Immigrants Succeed? Simple Facts to Guide Better Policy,
Manhattan Institute, April 27, 2023, 23 pp.
Author: Robert VerBruggen

A new report by the Manhattan Institute entitled “Which Immigrants Succeed? Simple Facts to Guide Better Policy” argues for a reorientation of the American immigration system to admit more high-skilled immigrants. Using Census data, the author tracks immigrants in their prime earning years who moved here as adults. The report looks at immigrants born between 1968 and 1972 who entered the country in 2001 or earlier. The author’s findings indicate that high-skilled immigrants perform significantly better in nearly every metric. Educational attainment, for example, translated into a maximum difference of $104,000 in mean annual earnings between immigrants with no high school diploma and those with post-graduate education. Additionally, the author found that high-skilled immigrants pay more taxes, use fewer government benefits, and spur more innovation. The author recommends a series of immigration policy reforms that would allow more high-skilled immigrants into the U.S., including limiting family-based immigration to spouses and minor children, abolishing the diversity visa program, and establishing a point-based system that will “select immigrants who (A) will likely do well given their employment prospects, degrees, and English proficiency and (B) fall into that precious young-adult age range where they can establish connections and careers early and then live their full prime earning years in the U.S. before retiring.”
(The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The Fiscal Impact of Immigration in the United States,
Cato Institute, March 21, 2023
Authors: Alex Nowrasteh et al

How has immigration impacted government tax revenues and costs throughout the U.S., and how will it continue to do so in the future? In answering these questions, Cato researchers updated a pioneering 2017 study done by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS report only analyzed data up until 2013.  Cato updated the data but presented it in two ways: first, following the NAS model; and second, making certain revisions to the NAS model to capture information missing from the NAS report. Their findings indicate that immigrants have a more positive net fiscal impact than native-born Americans, with those arriving at the age of 25 and who are high school dropouts having a net fiscal impact of +$216,000. This is striking when compared to the associated native-born cohort, which sees a net fiscal impact of -$32,000. Even when the fiscal impact of immigrants is negative, as is the case in some state and local governments, it is still generally more positive than their native-born counterparts. On the federal level, revenues consistently rise above expenditures in response to immigration. The authors can say with confidence that immigrants are a net fiscal benefit to the United States.


The Contribution of High-Skilled Immigrants to Innovation in the United States,
National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2022, 71 pp.
Authors: Shai Bernstein et al

Immigration can serve as a powerful force in stimulating economic innovation, as shown in a 2022 working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, entitled The Contribution of High-Skilled Immigrants to Innovation in the United States. By comparing U.S. patent records with a database containing 230 million Social Security Numbers (SSNs), the researchers were able to identify immigrants based on the age they acquired their SSN. The researchers found that immigrants, while encompassing only 16 percent of all US inventors, accounted for 23 percent of innovation output as measured by number of patents, patent citations, and the economic value of the patents. Immigrant inventors are also more likely to rely on foreign technologies, to collaborate with foreign inventors, and to be cited in foreign markets, thus contributing to the importation and diffusion of ideas across borders. The paper also highlights the influence of immigrant inventors on their native peers. The paper’s findings indicate that, on the whole, immigrants were responsible for 36% of total innovation when considering both their individual and collaborative efforts. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


A More Equitable Distribution of the Positive Fiscal Benefits of Immigration,
Brookings Institution (Hamilton Project), December 2022, 20 pp.
Authors: Wendy Edelberg & Tara Watson

In this paper, the authors propose federal impact aid to localities with a high concentration of recently-arrived immigrants with low levels of education. The authors note that, while the overall fiscal impact of immigration is positive, the bulk of benefits accrue to the federal government while the bulk of costs—particularly related to education and health—are incurred at the state and local level. Impacts vary significantly by education level of arriving immigrants, with net negative impacts greatest in localities with high concentrations of newly-arrived, less-educated immigrants. The authors use Census data to determine these areas and propose federal subsidies in an amount based on a report by the National Academies of Sciences on the fiscal impact of immigrants. Aid would flow through existing federal programs, with 70 percent allocated to education through the Impact Aid program and the remainder allocated to health care through Federally Qualified Health Centers. After outlining their proposal, the authors address a number of concerns and questions relating to their specific assumptions and recommendations. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)


Who represents the Country? A Short History of Foreign-Born Athletes in the World Cup,
Migration Policy Institute, November 17, 2022, 8 pp.
Author: Gijsbert Oonk

This essay traces the history of foreign-born athletes in the World Cup. Data was derived from an analysis conducted by the Sport and Nation project at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Of the 10,137 soccer players who competed in the world cup between 1930 and 2018, 996 (or almost 10%) were born in another country other than the one they represented.  There is no clear historic pattern in these percentages.  The two highest percentages of 13.8% and 12.6% occurred in 1990 and 1982. The two lowest of 2.3% and 5.7% occurred in 1978 and 1966.  Historically, the U.S. has selected the most players from abroad (48 in 2018) whereas Brazil has never had an athlete born abroad on its national team. The essay discusses the various ways that players acquire citizenship in, or the right to represent, countries where they weren’t born, as well as the rules governing such representation. The presence of large numbers of players of African background on the French World Cup-winning teams of 1998 and 2018 has sparked some controversy, which is discussed in the essay.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and U.S. Billion-Dollar Companies,
National Foundation for American Policy, July 2022, 41 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
(Update of 2018 report)

This study examines the pivotal role played by immigrants in founding “unicorn” companies, defined as privately-held, start-up companies valued at $1 billion or more. Immigrants founded more than half (319 of 582, or 55%) of these companies. The number rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) when adding companies founded by the children of immigrants. Interestingly, there are 143 of these billion-dollar companies with a founder who attended a U.S. university as an international student. The report finds that these privately held U.S. billion-dollar startup companies with immigrant founders have created an average of 859 jobs per company. The top three immigrant companies for employment are REEF Technology (15,000 employees), Gopuff (15,000) and SpaceX (12,000). Many of these companies are developing cutting-edge technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and health care. The value of immigrant-founded U.S. billion-dollar companies would rise astronomically if one were to include the value of companies that became publicly traded or were acquired by other companies. The author observes that the U.S. suffers from the lack of a direct pathway for aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs to qualify for permanent residence, although bills have been introduced in Congress to address this problem. The appendix of the report includes a complete listing of the more than 300 unicorn companies with immigrant founders, including country of origin, number of employees, and company valuation.


Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States,
American Immigration Council, June 14, 2022, 17 pp.
(Update of 2017 report)

In the context of reports of worker shortages in economically critical STEM fields, this fact sheet provides a detailed analysis of the characteristics and contributions of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. Using American Community Survey data, the fact sheet notes that as of 2019, immigrants made up almost a quarter (23.1%), of all STEM workers in the entire country, up from 16.4% in 2000—a 44.5% increase, from 7.5 million to more than 10.8 million. The importance of immigrant STEM workers has grown in all states and across different STEM fields, with immigrants from India and China representing the largest share of workers. Foreign-born STEM workers also have higher rates of educational attainment than their U.S.-born counterparts. While gender disparity among immigrant STEM workers has decreased since 2000, immigrant women remain vastly underrepresented. As immigrant STEM workers tend to possess skills complementing those of U.S.-born STEM workers, their presence, according to cited research, increases the productivity and earnings of all workers. The share of foreign-born workers with advanced degrees working in STEM occupations, from either U.S. or foreign institutions, is also associated with higher levels of employment for U.S.-born workers. As the U.S. demand for STEM workers continues to increase, the share of foreign-born STEM workers will likely grow and continue to play a key role in U.S. productivity and innovation. At the same time, an annual cap on the number of available green cards, H-1B visas, and other skilled talent visas has hindered efforts to hire immigrant STEM professionals and fill critical workforce shortages. If employers are unable to fill vacancies for skilled STEM workers, the authors conclude, the competitiveness of American companies and their ability to innovate may be in danger, with significant negative long-term effects on the U.S. economy. (Jeffrey Vega, Ph.D.)


Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter
Bioneers, Book Digest, Fall 2021, 4 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor & Chris Benner

Traditional economics is built on the assumption of self-interested individuals seeking to maximize personal gain. According to the authors of this study, there is much more to the story: sharing, caring and a desire to uphold the collective good are also powerful individual motives that can buttress the entire system. In a world wracked by inequality, social divisions, and ecological destruction, the authors seek to describe an alternative economics based on our mutual co-operation. They argue that our current economy is already deeply dependent on mutuality, but that the inequality and fragmentation created by the status quo undermines this mutuality and with it our economic wellbeing. They outline the theoretical framing, policy agenda, and social movements necessary to achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy. One objective should be “the construction of a larger ‘we’ that recognizes both differences and similarities, building compassion and care through a recognition of common humanity."

Immigrants and Nobel Prizes: 1901-2021
National Foundation for American Policy, 2021, 17 pp.

(This research updates a report published one year ago)
Through this study of immigrant Nobel Prize recipients, the author tries to show how immigrants have played a crucial role in ensuring American leadership in the sciences. Since 2000, for example, immigrants have won 38 percent of all Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans in medicine, chemistry and physics. In “Immigrants and Nobel Prizes: 1901-2021,” the author suggests that greater openness to immigration has enhanced America’s status as a global destination for research, elevating the reputation of its academic and scientific institutions, and attracting talent from abroad.  The article points out how the introduction of key pieces of legislation played an integral role in attracting international students and foreign talent to the U.S. Prior to the 1960s, for example, the number of immigrants winning Nobel Prizes was significantly elevated by the admission of Jewish scientists, who came to the U.S. fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe. The elimination of national origin quotas in 1965 created unprecedented opportunities for Asian immigrants, while the Immigration Act of 1990 increased employment immigration through the increased issuance of green cards. The article provides detailed information about the achievements of Nobel prize recipients in the fields of medicine, chemistry and physics and concludes that “being open to immigration allows America to reap the most benefits of scientific and technological innovation.” (Flora Meng for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Are Immigrant-Heavy Metro Areas More Economically Resilient? Lessons from the Great Recession,
New American Economy, November 2021, 22 pp.

This report finds evidence that the greater the size of the immigrant population in a metropolitan area, the higher the overall employment rate. However, past research shows that despite their complementary labor force characteristics, immigrant laborers are disproportionately affected by economic decline. Given that the immigrant workforce plays a significant role in numerous key industries, e.g. technology, food services, construction, and agriculture, the ability of immigrants to recover from financial crisis is deeply tied to the broader condition of the American economy. To assess how immigrant density contributes to the economic resilience of cities following the Great Recession, researchers from New American Economy analyzed data from the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The findings revealed that immigrant dense areas were generally able to recover more quickly from the recession than areas with fewer immigrants. Furthermore, while metro areas with the fewest immigrants saw the least amount of job losses, surprisingly, metro areas with the most immigrants did not see the most job losses. Instead, those metro areas in the middle, with average sized immigrant populations saw larger job losses. The study suggests that metropolitan areas with a larger immigrant population tended to better preserve their growth paths during the Great Recession and to experience greater levels of employment and per capita income growth following the recession. (Flora Meng for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Can Drive Economic Growth in the Pandemic Recovery,
National Venture Capital Association, March 2021, 7 pp.

This paper from the National Venture Capital Association presents arguments for the creation of a “start-up visa” for immigrant entrepreneurs (Bipartisan legislation to create such a visa was introduced into the Senate in 2021 by Senators Moran, Warner, Klobuchar, and Blunt).  The paper points out that more than 25 countries, including Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany, have already introduced some version of such a visa.  Our inaction in this area, according to the Association, has led to a drop in the U.S. share of global venture capital from 84% in 2004 to 52% in 2010. The paper points out that startups are critical to U.S. job creation (“responsible for virtually all net new jobs in the last couple of decades”) and that immigrants founded one-third of U.S. venture capital-companies that went public between 2006 and 2012. The authors also cite research showing that startups create more than four times as many jobs as mature firms operating for 11 or more years. Although the authors call for an increase in the number of H-1B visas, as this type of visa does enable aspiring entrepreneurs to gain job experience in the U.S. before launching their own firms, they also point out its primary limitation:  not giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to start their own firms right away.


Revisiting America’s Demographic Challenge: How Increasing Immigration Can Bring the United States Out of the Covid-19 Economic Slump and Maintain Its Global Competitive Edge,
Bipartisan Policy Center, May 6, 2021, 12 pp.
Author: Rachel Iacono

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a less restrictive approach to immigration policymaking will be the key to ensuring long-term economic growth in the U.S., especially to overcome the COVID-19 economic recession. In fact, without effective immigration reform, the U.S. will sacrifice its position as the world’s largest economy by 2030 and leave the reserves of vital programs like Social Security depleted by 2034. In this report, the author analyzes a variety of economic and demographic data showing the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy and discusses the economic consequences of future immigration policy scenarios. Research indicates that economic growth and population growth are closely linked. However, because of the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, decreasing birth rates among the U.S.-born, and low immigration rates in the past several years, the author posits that to regrow the country’s population and the economy once again, well-crafted immigration policies are the federal government’s most effective tool. She cites data from, which projects that if the United States were to double its immigration levels, its gross domestic product would also double by 2050 (reaching as much as $47 trillion). However, current immigration levels are not sufficient to mitigate the impending consequences of an aging population or to facilitate a robust post-pandemic recovery. Thus, the author concludes, it is vital that Congress enact long-lasting immigration reform that recognizes the economic and demographic benefits that immigrants have to offer. (Kyla Schmitt for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Projections Show Increasing Future Immigration Grows the U.S. Competitive Advantage,, April 2021, (Research Summary 12 pp.)
Author: Justin Gest et al

The competition for first place in the global economy is heating up. According to researchers at George Mason University in a study commissioned by, immigration policy can be used as a tool to maintain the position of the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. Without the boost provided by immigration, the study projects that the U.S. economy will fall behind China’s by 2030 and will shrink to 75 percent of China’s economy by 2050. The authors argue that if the U.S. doubled its immigration levels now, GDP could reach $47 trillion by 2050, $10 trillion more than if current immigration trends are maintained and $18 trillion more than if immigration were stopped.  Using five different immigration scenarios to test their impact on the economy as a whole, the authors conclude that doubling current levels of immigration would lead to the best economic outcome. Achieving such a goal is important not only for maintaining global economic dominance, but also for bolstering critical domestic programs like Social Security and maintaining a healthy senior-to-working-age population ratio. This research suggests there may be practical and effective ways to harness immigration to ensure U.S. interests both globally and at home. (Katelin Reger for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

Examining the Economic Contributions of Undocumented Immigrants by Country of Origin,
New American Economy, March 8, 2021, 7 pp.

Over the past decade, undocumented immigration has become an increasingly contentious issue in the U.S., with many right-wing politicians decrying weaknesses in border security. Despite the political controversy, however, research suggests that undocumented immigrants play a vital role in sustaining the U.S. economy. In a report titled “Examining the Economic Contributions of Undocumented Immigrants by Country of Origin,” the authors analyze data from the 2019 American Community Survey, focusing specifically on the contributions of undocumented immigrants from Mexico (who constitute 40.8 percent of the total undocumented population in the U.S.). The report finds that 96.7 percent of undocumented workers from Mexico were employed in 2019, comprising 11.5 percent of the agriculture sector, 6.7 percent of the construction sector, and 3.4 percent of the tourism and hospitality sector. In 2019 alone, this group of workers brought in nearly $92 billion in household income and paid about $9.8 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. While the debate over the future of the U.S.’s undocumented population rages on, the data suggests that these individuals play a valuable economic role and are essential contributors to the communities where they work, spend, and raise their families. (Kyla Schmitt for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Room to Grow: Setting Immigration Levels in a Changing America
National Immigration Forum, February 3, 2021
Authors: Ali Noorani & Danilo Zak

The U.S. population is aging at a high rate, and immigration policy can be used more strategically to offset the harmful socioeconomic consequences of this “societal restructuring.” This is the argument behind Room to Grow: Setting Immigration Levels in a Changing America published by the National Immigration Forum. Using Census and other data, the report finds that nearly one in four Americans is projected to be 65 years or older by 2060, amounting to nearly twice today’s senior population. Additionally, whereas there were 6.4 working-age adults per adult of retirement age in 1965, that number today is just 3.5. Apart from the impact this imbalance has on the need for greater healthcare and human services, the report states that demographic aging is also likely to significantly reduce consumption, savings, public social expenditure, human capital and overall economic dynamism, driving a reduction in per-capita income for the country as a whole. The authors advocate for an immigration system that can respond to these changing trends, build a robust economy, and ensure a bright future for all Americans. They calculate that a 37 percent increase in net immigration  (approximately 370,000 additional immigrants a year) will help prevent the U.S. from falling into demographic deficit and socioeconomic decline. To bolster their argument and counter possible objections, the authors point to the U.S.’s long history of successfully integrating immigrants and, in a subsection entitled “Engaging Potential Criticisms,” note that recent polling shows that a majority of Americans believe immigration is “good for the country.” In order to address the demographic deficit, the authors recommend that Congress should pass legislation to increase immigration levels by at least one-third and should utilize demographic impact analyses in crafting immigration reform proposals. They also believe that both the public and private sectors should actively promote immigrant integration. (Denzil Mohammed for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 

Immigration’s Contribution to Population Growth and Economic Vitality
National Foundation for American Policy, February 2021, 17 pp.
Author: Madeline Zavodny

Immigration has been a major contributor to U.S. population growth and economic growth for most of the last 50 years. However, this study calls attention to the fact that international migration – the number of people moving to the United States minus the number moving abroad – declined precipitously between 2016 and 2019.The drop in international migration, combined with falling birth rates, resulted in what may have been the slowest decade of population growth in U.S. history – and does not include the additional decline between 2019 and 2020 connected to Covid-19. Although international migration added to the rural U.S. population during the 2010s, it was not enough to prevent most rural counties from shrinking during the 2010s. Almost three-quarters of rural counties had fewer residents in 2019 than in 2010. Without immigration, the losses might have been even more devastating. Migration is also strongly related to employment growth in both rural and metro counties. Each additional international migrant is associated with an additional 1.2 jobs in rural counties over the period from 2010 to 2018, and an additional 0.9 jobs in metro counties. Immigrants seem to stimulate domestic job creation because they tend to work in jobs dissimilar to those held by native-born people, especially in rural areas. The author concludes by stating that immigration is “paramount to population growth in rural areas…while supporting population growth and economic vitality across the United States.”

Why U.S. Immigration Barriers Matter for the Global Advancement of Science,
IZA Institute of Labor Economics, January 2021, 34 pp.
Authors:  Ruchir Agarwal et al

Migrants to the U.S. and other countries are at the forefront of global knowledge production, comprising 33 percent of Nobel prize winners and 63 percent of Fields medalists for mathematics. Why U.S. Immigration Barriers Matter for the Global Advancement of Science, published by IZA Institute of Labor Economics, explores the impact of U.S. immigration policies on global scientific output. The report suggests that policy reforms designed to lower immigration-related costs for top foreign talent would result in an estimated 42 percent increase of scientific output worldwide. Some of the reforms include expanding the number of visas available for work-based immigration; offering more scholarships to ease the financial burdens on aspiring international students; developing new international talent hubs in other countries, creating campuses of western universities in developing countries, and improving preparatory schools in sending countries. In a survey of 610 International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists, the authors confirmed that financial constraints are the foremost obstacle to studying in the U.S., more significant even than a hostile or unwelcoming immigration climate. They urge the scientific community as well as global policymakers to evaluate the far-reaching consequences of immigration barriers on promising foreign students, and to make changes that will maximize educational opportunity and knowledge output. (Lara Carbine for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Protecting Undocumented Workers on the Pandemic’s Front Lines,
Center for American Progress, December 2, 2020, 51 pp.
Author: Nicole Prchal Svajlenka

There are five million undocumented immigrants, or nearly three in four, working in sectors crucial to the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Protecting Undocumented Workers on the Pandemic’s Front Lines: A Look at Certain Sectors,” published by the Center for American Progress, introduces 
four fact sheets, each of which outlines the importance of these millions of undocumented immigrant essential workers to a sector of the economy classified as “essential critical infrastructure” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. These sectors are: construction, the food supply chain, the care economy, and health care. The fact sheets outline the largest occupations or industries of each sector and provide a detailed picture of the diverse ways undocumented immigrants contribute to these essential sectors. Underscoring that “these workers and sectors are vitally important to both the U.S. response to the pandemic and its recovery from the resulting economy devastation,” the author urges the Biden administration and Congress to put protections in place for undocumented essential workers, including by creating a pathway to citizenship for these immigrants and their families. (Jillian DiPersio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)    

Presidential Executive Actions Halting High Skilled Immigration Hurt the US Economy,
UC Davis Global Migration Center, Policy Brief, July 2020, 4 pp.
Authors: Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber

Though the Trump administration has justified restrictions on H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers as a job saving measure in response to the COVID-19-induced recession, economic research  demonstrates that these policies will not increase employment of Americans and will in fact reduce long term growth. “Presidential Executive Actions Halting High Skilled Immigration Hurt the US Economy,” published by the University of California, Davis Global Migration Center, examines Trump’s June 22, 2020 proclamation suspending the processing of new H-1B visas through the lens of recent studies in labor economics. The authors find that the flow of high-skilled labor facilitated by the H-1B visa program is a critical component of U.S. economic growth, allowing American firms to take advantage of an especially talented and entrepreneurial demographic. Further, claims of job displacement and wage decline due to high-skilled labor inflows are unsupported by evidence, as H-1B recipients largely complement, rather than compete with, U.S.-born workers in the labor market. The authors criticize the proclamation, arguing the Trump administration’s series of executive orders restricting opportunities for legal immigration “will likely have no positive short-run effects but will risk dire long run implications.”  (Jason Boyle for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

An executive order worth $100 billion: The impact of an immigration ban’s announcement on Fortune 500 firms evaluation,
Brookings, October 2020, 19 pp.
Authors: Dany Bahar et al

How do restrictions on the movement of skilled workers affect American companies? An executive order worth $100 billion, published by the Global Economy and Development program at The Brookings Institution, examines the impact on Fortune 500 firms of an executive order issued by President Trump on June 22, 2020, which banned the issuance of new H-1B and L-1 high-skilled work visas. The authors show that restrictions on these non-immigrant visas issued to highly skilled immigrant workers, most of whom possess college, if not advanced graduate degrees, negatively impacted the financial position of large American companies. By examining the cumulative average abnormal stock returns (CAARs) for Fortune 500 companies, the authors found that the abrupt constraint on the ability of these companies to access skilled labor from abroad eroded their market valuation by around $100 billion. While companies can hypothetically respond in the long run through adjustments like offshoring, the authors show that the executive order significantly damaged firms in the short run by eroding their market valuation by 0.45%. By analyzing the immediate aftermath of this new policy, the study contributes to current debates surrounding immigration restrictions on skilled temporary workers by demonstrating the value that visas issued to skilled employees bring to U.S. firms. (Sonali Ravi for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Toolkit: Supporting Immigrant & Refugee Entrepreneurs,
Bloomberg Associates, Bloomberg Philanthropies, & New American Economy,
August 2020, 38 pp.

Immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs were vital to the recovery of regional economies in past recessions, especially after the Great Recession. In Toolkit: Supporting Immigrant & Refugee Entrepreneurs, a report by Bloomberg Associates and the New American Economy, the authors argue that promoting immigrant entrepreneurship will be crucial to helping local economies recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though immigrants have outsized rates of entrepreneurship, they face many barriers to entry, growth and recovery in the business world, often lacking adequate access to capital and facing cultural and language barriers. COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges, as federal relief programs have largely excluded immigrants, and immigrants often own businesses in the general services industry, which has been severely impacted by the recession. The toolkit uses examples from cities across the country to set out a range of specific measures local leaders can take to support immigrant entrepreneurs in their communities, such as creating a local task force to support new Americans, leveraging community-based organizations, guiding entrepreneurs through the start-up process and increasing access to capital. The authors offer case studies, a self-assessment checklist and resources so local leaders can better identify areas for action and improvement. (Jillian DiPersio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Immigration and Entrepreneurship in the United States,
National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2020, 23 pp.
Authors: Pierre Azoulay et al

In assessing the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy, this paper seeks to explore and quantify the often overlooked process of immigrant job creation Too often, according to the authors, economists only examine the extent to which immigrant workers displace native-born workers. Researchers often reach conclusions that fail to take into consideration the broader benefits of immigration. Even with this narrow view, traditional economic theory is often thrown on its head by puzzling realities, as when the influx of Cubans during the Mariel boatlift did not lead to negative effects on local wages, or when areas with large concentrations of immigrants seem to outperform less immigrant dense parts of the country. Using a variety of records to study firms founded in the U.S. between 2005 and 2010, these researchers find that immigrants appear to “create jobs” (expand labor demand) more than they “take jobs” (expand labor supply). The authors contend that it is crucial to study immigrants as both workers and entrepreneurs to get the full picture of immigrant contributions to the economy. Moreover, contrary to stereotype, immigrants do not just start small firms. “Rather, they tend to start more firms at every size, compared to U.S. born individuals.” Moreover, wages in immigrant-founded firms tend to be comparable, if not slightly higher, than in other firms. A non-technical 
summary of this paper may be found on the MIT Sloan website.

Immigrant IT Staff Help People Work Remotely During Covid-19,
New American Economy, May 28, 2020, 7 pp.

As more Americans work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant IT workers play an essential role in developing and maintaining the digital infrastructure needed for the American economy to continue to function. For the IT sector as a whole, roughly 25 percent, or 1.2 million people, are immigrants. This percentage rises to 47 percent and 44 percent for immigrant-rich states like New Jersey and California. This report from New American Economy not only gives data for the sector as a whole, but also for specific IT sub-sectors, such as healthcare (15.5 percent immigrant), retail trade (28 percent), Education (15 percent), and Finance (33 percent).  The authors also point out that 42 percent of the IT workforce providing Internet services are foreign-born. Some of these individuals, such as Sergey Brin (founder of Google), and Michel Krieger (founder of Instagram) have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs. Perhaps, the most famous immigrant entrepreneur with an IT background these days is Eric Yuan, founder of Zoom.

US Foreign-Born Essential Workers by Status and State, and the Global Pandemic,
Center for Migration Studies, May 1, 2020, 14 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin et al

Immigrants in the United States, particularly undocumented immigrants, are more likely to work in essential occupations that keep Americans safe and healthy, and therefore are critical assets during and when recovering from economic crises. They fill gaps in the U.S. economy, help improve labor market efficiency and contribute to the nation’s food security. In “U.S. Foreign-Born Essential Workers by Status and State,” the authors estimate that 19.8 million immigrants work in “essential critical infrastructure.” Around 69 percent of the immigrant labor force and 74 percent of undocumented workers are essential infrastructure workers, compared to 65 percent of U.S.-born workers. Of all immigrant essential workers, around 9.6 million are naturalized citizens, 4.6 million are legal noncitizens, and 5.5 million are undocumented. The authors calculated the number of workers in each essential industry using American Community Survey data from 2018. These industries include health, infrastructure, manufacturing, service, food and safety. Many of these workers will be vital in aiding the economy to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. The report finds that, nationally, foreign-born workers make up 18 percent of workers in essential categories, including more than 30 percent in California, New York and New Jersey. The authors conclude that their findings are at odds with the policies of the current administration, which has sought to decrease legal immigration despite the economic contributions of foreign-born workers. 

Immigrant Workers Vital to the U.S. COVID-19 Response, Disproportionately Vulnerable,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2020, 13 pp.
Author: Julia Gelatt

This fact sheet highlights the great impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant workers in the U.S. Drawing on 2018 American Community Survey Data, the study estimates that 6 million foreign-born workers are employed in vital, frontline industries, at all levels of skill and education; another 6 million work in industries facing the sharpest economic and workforce contractions as a result of the pandemic. Many of these immigrant workers and their families, along with millions of other immigrants, also face the challenge of limited access to healthcare and safety-net services. Though immigrants are 17% of the U.S. workforce, in healthcare the foreign born represent 29% of doctors, 22% of nursing assistants, and 38% of home health aides. In manufacturing and food processing, some 26% of workers in food, medicine and cleaning supply manufacturing are foreign born, as are 50% of packers and packagers and 39% of “other” food processing workers. Some 27% of agricultural sector workers are immigrants, including 73% of hand packers, 62% of graders and sorters, and 48% of otherwise unclassified workers. The closure or contraction of so many “nonessential” businesses due to the pandemic has also brought hardships to industries where immigrants represent a substantial share of workers, including accommodation and food services (52% of cleaners, 38% of chefs, and 30 percent of cooks), personal services (30% of workers, including 63% of maids and housekeepers and 52% of laundry services workers), and building services (38% of workers, including 59% of maids and housekeepers and 41% of janitors). Alongside these challenges, many immigrants and their families face heightened vulnerability due to low incomes, lack of health insurance coverage, and limited English proficiency. Many noncitizen workers—which includes more than half of those in the hardest hit industries—lack access to federal safety net programs such as Medicaid, TANF, and SNAP. Unauthorized immigrants or those who file taxes jointly with them are also ineligible for cash relief from the CARES act. The need to prevent illness and viral transmission for all residents during pandemic, the fact sheet concludes, presents serious questions about restricting access to safety-net programs for vulnerable immigrants and their families, including not just unauthorized immigrants but millions of their U.S citizen or permanent resident spouses and children. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

The 2019 Foreign-Born Nobel Laureates,
George Mason University, Institute for Immigration Research, December 2019, 19 pp.
Authors: Kevin Nazar et al

In 2019, half of U.S. Nobel laureates were immigrants. Since the founding of the Nobel Prize in 1901, 34 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates have been immigrants or foreign-born people working at U.S. institution of higher education at the time the award was conferred. During the past 19 years, the percentage of foreign-born winners has shown a steady increase.  In The 2019 Foreign-Born U.S. Nobel Laureates, the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University explores the relationship between immigration and prize-winning achievement. Analyzing Nobel Prize data from 1901 to 2019, it finds that Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada where the top sending countries for U.S. immigrant winners, and that the largest share of foreign-born U.S. Nobel Prize winners was in the Physics category. The report uses tables and visuals to show prize categories and academic affiliations of immigrant award winners, as well as offering profiles of some of the winners. Similarly, the report shows a significant share of the winners of the MacArthur Fellowship (21.7 percent overall) and Rhodes Scholarships (in 2019, nearly half of recipients were immigrants or the children of immigrants) have been foreign-born. The authors also emphasize the important role of U.S. institutions of higher education, as many of them serve as both the entry point for these scholars as well as the host for international collaboration. Finally, the report reflects on recent policy changes under the Trump administration that may negatively impact foreign scholars’ ability to conduct their research in the U.S. and to engage in cross-border academic collaboration. (Stephanie Depauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

COVID-19: Immigrant Workers Are Essential in Securing U.S. Food Supply Chain,
New American Economy, April 16, 2020, 10 pp.

In the United States, immigrants comprise more than one in five food sector workers. These essential workers help to feed millions of Americans in economically stable times, but take on added importance in a national emergency like a pandemic. The food sector consists of hundreds of different jobs, each drawing larger or smaller numbers of immigrants. In the agriculture industry, for example, nearly 50 percent of field workers are immigrants. They are also almost half of meat processing workers, 37 percent of bakers, and 31 percent of janitors and building cleaners in supermarkets. The report provides detailed breakdowns of immigrant percentages by job category, as well as charts showing immigrant occupational data by states. The article features data visualization showing the risk for exposure to the COVID-19 virus among immigrants in an array of frontline and other essential services. The article argues for greater recognition of the vital role played by immigrants, now more at risk because of the pandemic. (Olivia Pickard for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

The Character Skills of Immigrants,
Social Science Research Network, February 26, 2020, 38 pp.
Authors: Moiz Bhai & Pavel Dramskihu

This study uses novel data on a representative sample of the U.S. population to examine how first and second generation immigrants compare to natives on non-cognitive character skills as measured by a common taxonomy of personality. Moiz Bhai of University of Arkansas and Pavel Dramski of New American Economy analyzed data from the National Survey of Midlife Development, which interviewed a nationally representative sample of Americans in 1996, 2006 and 2014.The findings reveal that immigrants and second-generation immigrants tend to have higher levels of openness to experience and “agency” than natives. Additionally, second-generation immigrants have higher levels of “conscientiousness” than natives. The findings are especially salient since character skills have been shown to influence labor market outcomes. Next, the authors examine the role of character skills differences on earnings by immigrant generation. Their earnings estimates reveal that non-cognitive skills have approximately as much explanatory power as schooling, yet non-cognitive skills have a modest impact on the earnings differences of immigrants and second-generation immigrants vis-a-vis natives. A key conclusion of this study is that  “the continued success of second-generation immigrants indicates that in order to conduct economic evaluations of immigration policy, it is important to understand the outcomes for subsequent generations.” (Crystal Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute).

Migrants and the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Remittances,
Inter-American Dialogue, March 18, 2020, 7 pp.
Author: Manuel Orozco

This analysis by the Migration, Remittances and Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue offers a glimpse of the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on US immigrants and family remittances. The pandemic will be especially hard on those who are financially vulnerable and have underlying health risks. Even though the pandemic tends to be more dangerous for older adults, migrants (who are typically far younger than this high-risk age-group) will likely still be disproportionally affected. With continued business closures, diminished economic activity, and a forecast recession, migrants, who predominantly work in the construction and services industries, may be the first ones to lose income—either by working fewer hours, days, or losing their jobs. Past events involving worldwide crises can offer insight as to how this pandemic will likely affect remittance transfers. A conservative estimate shows that remittances will register a negative seven percent (-7 percent) decline in 2020 relative to 2019, from $76 billion to $70 billion. As the virus continues to spread, countries that will likely suffer the most will be Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Honduras. The loss of remittances may likely trigger humanitarian crises in these countries.

The Labor Market Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930s,
Stanford University, Immigration Policy Lab, November 2019, 64 pp.
Authors: Vasil Yasenov et al

At the onset of the Great Depression (1929-1934), when millions of Americans were thrown out of work, some local politicians argued that Mexican workers in the U.S. should be “repatriated” in order to create employment opportunities for U.S.-born workers. Using census data from 1930 and 1940, this paper tests whether these removals actually improved the lot of U.S.-born, non-Mexican workers.  Approximately one-third of the entire Mexican population in the U.S. (at least 400,000 individuals) -- both first and second generation, both citizen and non-citizen -- were forced out of the country. As these removals were often organized locally, there was some variation in the appetite for removals on the part of local officials, allowing for an analysis of the impact of removals on local economies. Part of the variation also had to do with proximity to railroad lines, which reduced the cost of repatriation. Controlling for many possible variables, the researchers found “robust” evidence that the repatriation program reduced employment opportunities and wages for incumbent natives, in part because of the “complementarity” of Mexican and native workers.  Although economists have examined the labor market effects of sudden influxes of immigrants and refugees into the United States, this is one of the few papers that have looked at the labor market effects of a large outflow of immigrant workers. According to the authors, this study has special significance because it raises doubts as to whether the deportation campaigns of the Obama and Trump administrations will produce beneficial economic outcomes. (Nicholas V. Montalto, Ph.D.)

Overcoming the Odds: The Contributions of DACA-Eligible Immigrants and TPS Holders to the U.S. Economy,
New American Economy, May 2019, 11 pp.

In the face of a pending Supreme Court decision on the DACA program and imperiled protections for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders, this report explores the contributions of these two groups of immigrants to the U.S. economy and the economic cost of losing those contributions. Based on American Community Survey data and other sources and buttressed with individual anecdotes, the report estimates the DACA-eligible population of the U.S. at 1.3 million and TPS holders (from 10 countries) at 318,000. These two groups had more than $25.2 billion in spending power and contributed more than $5.5 billion in taxes in 2017, with almost $2.5 billion going to state and local governments (an especially significant amount considering these groups are ineligible for most taxpayer-funded public assistance programs). A striking 93.3 percent of the DACA eligible are in the labor force as are 94.1 percent of TPS recipients. The report also finds that both groups have higher rates of small business creation than comparable U.S-born workers, helping revive downtown business districts in economically distressed towns and cities. Studies cited estimate that ending DACA could slow U.S. economic growth by $280 to $430 billion in just one decade, and terminating TPS for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti alone could lower gross domestic product by $45.2 billion. Noting strong public support for Dreamers in recent polling, the report closes with potential policy solutions. Alongside bipartisan versions of the DREAM Act, these include a recent Senate Democratic measure offering a path to legal status for TPS holders and the House’s Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which creates a path to legal status for both groups. Given research showing an income boost from naturalization, a pathway to citizenship would only increase the economic impact of these populations.
(Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

Immigration Policy and the U.S. AI Sector,
Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University, September 2019, 39 pp.
Authors: Zachary Arnold et al

<A report published by the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology discusses the challenges faced by immigrants with skills in artificial intelligence and related fields seeking to find work in the U.S.  They must contend with limited, costly, and uncertain pathways to temporary or permanent residence, as well as an inhospitable regulatory environment. Unsurprisingly, and despite shortages of AI talent here, many are beginning to find other countries, such as Canada, France, and China, more attractive destinations, especially as those countries roll out the red carpet for AI talent. The report discusses the nature and limitations of current visa programs, such as the OPT, H-1B, and employment-based green card programs, and provides a series of policy recommendations to restore American competitiveness in attracting talent from abroad. Among the most important reforms would be eliminating or indexing the current caps on H-1B visas and employment-based green cards, and eliminating the current annual 7 percent per-country caps on green cards, which severely disadvantage Asian Indian and Chinese talent. The latter reform is consistent with recent bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress. (Nicholas V. Montalto, Ph.D.)

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your High-Skilled Labor: H-1B Lottery Outcomes and Entrepreneurial Success,
National Bureau of Economic Research, October 11, 2019, 46 pp.
Authors: Stephen G. Dimmock et al

Proponents of increased high-skilled immigration in the U.S. often argue these workers help meet a shortage of skilled labor and promote innovation and productivity. Those opposed claim that high-skilled immigrant workers merely displace native-born workers. Despite much debate there is only limited evidence, however, of the impact of high-skilled immigration on companies’ bottom lines. In this study, the authors attempt to address this controversy by looking at data on the impact of H-1B workers on the economic outcomes of startup firms. They choose four years (2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015) where the number of H-1B applications during the filing period exceeded the yearly quota. Such an eventuality triggers the allocation of visas to firms through a random government lottery, creating the environment for a natural experiment. Based on these data, the authors demonstrate that a firm’s rate of success in obtaining visas through the lottery is significantly correlated with improved economic performance across a range of measures, independent of other variables including the nature of the firm or its application characteristics. These measures include a stronger likelihood of receiving venture funding and being funded by a more reputable venture capital firm; of either going public or being acquired; and of demonstrating higher levels of innovation as measured by the number of patents and patent citations. The results of this analysis, the authors argue, demonstrate that foreign high-skilled workers provide these firms with otherwise hard-to-obtain human capital, and that increasing the number of visas for high-skilled workers could have significant economic benefits, for startup firms at least. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)

New American Fortune 500 in 2019: Top American Companies and Their Immigrant Roots,
New American Economy, July 22, 2019, Report and Interactive Tool

Since 2011, New American Economy (NAE) has been analyzing the list of Fortune 500 companies to identify those companies founded by immigrants or their children. In its 2018 analysis, NAE finds that the percentage of such companies with immigrant founders has risen to 45 percent from 40 percent. Among the new immigrant companies to make the list are Broadcom, Intuit, and Tapestry. Together the 223 companies with new American founders brought in $6.1 trillion in revenue and employed 13.5 million people.  If these companies were a separate economy, they would be third largest in the world. The report features a data interactive permitting the user to analyze the role of New American Fortune 500 companies in each of the 50 states.

Immigrants Contribute Greatly to U.S. Economy, Despite Administration’s “Public Charge” Rule Rationale,
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 15, 2019, 8 pp.
Authors:  Arloc Sherman et al

The DHS has finalized a rule barring applications for permanent residency from immigrants who have received or may receive public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid. According to the authors of this paper, this new rule will grossly harm a key segment of the US workforce: both disincentivizing immigrants currently in the US from using these services, leading to potentially severe health consequences, and also limiting new arrivals of lower educated immigrants whose labor is vital to the US economy. Lower educated immigrants are more geographically mobile, and have proven essential to fill employment gaps in many industries. Immigrants without a college degree, for example, make up over 1/3 of the farming, fishing, building, cleaning and maintenance occupations in the US. The rule also assumes that immigrants receiving these benefits are not working or contributing economically, but over 75 percent of immigrants receiving benefits either worked during the year or were married to a worker in a low-wage job. Cutting off this population from the US workforce would result in steep declines in net workforce growth in coming years, with negative effects on overall economic growth and stability. The authors contend that the new “public charge” rule is not evidence-based or economically sound and should be abandoned to ensure a stable, healthy workforce in the US.
(Julianne Weis, Ph.D)

Immigration and the Stock Market: How Immigration Policy Affects the Stock Prices of Firms that Employ Low-Skilled Workers,
The Center for Growth and Opportunity, Utah State University, August 2019, 26 pp.
Authors: Jesse Baker & Benjamin M. Blau

Labor-intensive industries such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing rely heavily on immigrant labor, yet there has been little research on how the stock prices of companies in these industries are affected by immigration policy changes. Researchers from the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University tried to fill this research gap in “Immigration and the Stock Market: How Immigration Policy Affects the Stock Prices of Firms that Employ Low-Skilled Workers.” The authors found that average stock prices for companies in all three industries they examined rose after the passage of pro-immigration legislation. For example, after the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) order of 1999 gave legal status to Hondurans and Nicaraguans, labor-intensive firms outperformed the market for six months. Companies in immigrant labor-dependent industries also saw significant increases in stock prices following the Immigration Act of 1990, which gave legal status to undocumented Latin American Immigrants. The authors conclude that federal programs designed to increase immigration also have positive consequences for companies in industries that rely on immigrant labor. 

Immigrants in Creative Industries,
New American Economy, August 1, 2019, 6 pp.

More than 400,000 immigrants work in creative or artistic occupations in the United States. “Immigrants in Creative Industries” by New American Economy highlights the important contributions that immigrants make in enriching the nation’s culture. Using 2017 American Community Survey data, the report suggests that immigrant workers sustain a range of industries from movies to music, performing arts to design. Immigrants make up 12.5 percent of workers in the motion picture and video industries and 12.1 percent of workers in the broadcast industry. Within these industries, foreign-born workers are most likely to be employed as media and communications writers or as designers.  These findings highlight the important economic contributions immigrants make. The creative industries add close to $1 trillion to the United States’ Gross Domestic Product while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. (Stephanie DePauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Promising Returns: How Embracing Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status can Contribute to Family Stability, Economic Growth, and Fiscal Health,
USC Dornsife (Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration) and Center for American Progress, April 2019, 33 pp.
Authors:  Dalia Gonzalez et al

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end temporary protected status (TPS) for certain nationalities has left millions in legal status limbo, as challenges to the decision play out in the courts. This situation has prompted researchers at the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at the University of Southern California to examine the economic consequences of this policy change.  Using the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 as a standard (The Act seeks to give a pathway to permanent residency for TPS recipients), the researchers calculated the impact of the Act on the overall economy.  They point out that the government’s decision to rescind TPS affects not only TPS recipients themselves, but also an estimated 1 million other individuals living in households with TPS recipients; almost half of these individuals are U.S. citizens. This widening of the TPS circle occurred because most TPS recipients have been living and working legally in the U.S. for many years. The three largest nationalities benefitting from TPS are Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Haitians. The researchers estimated that Promise Act households contribute more than $35.2 billion to the country’s GDP. These individuals also help to prop up the housing market, providing annual mortgage payments of $1.5 billion and rental payments in excess of $$2.8 billion. Forcing these individuals to leave the country, especially when conditions are still precarious in their home countries, would result in a serious economic loss, as well as a threat to their well-being. The report concludes with insights from in-depth interviews with TPS recipients.

Workers with Temporary Protected Status in Key Industries and States,
American Immigration Council, January 9, 2019, 9 pp.
No author listed

In November 2018, the Trump administration terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti -- putting them at risk of being deported and separated from their U.S.-born family members. Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is provided to nationals of countries facing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions. It provides recipients with a work permit and a “stay of deportation” for the duration of the home country crisis. The American Immigration Council’s fact sheet “Workers with Temporary Protected Status in Key Industries and States” draws its data from a study recently completed by the Center for Migration Studies. Using Public Use Microdata from the American Community Survey from 2012 to 2016, the study estimated that there were 223,000 TPS workers from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti who work in a variety of key industries particularly construction, food services and landscaping. They reside primarily in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Their removal from the U.S. would be a major blow to many local economies and communities. Losing those workers would represent a loss of $4.5 billion in Gross Domestic Product per year. Over the course of a decade, Social Security and Medicare would lose $6.9 billion in contributions, and deporting TPS workers would cost approximately $3.1 billion. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

From Managing Decline to Building the Future: Could a Heartland Visa Help Struggling Regions?
Economic Innovation Group, April 2019, 48 pp.
Authors: Adam Ozimek et al

This report begins by providing demographic and geographic data on population changes in the U.S., noting that half of U.S. counties are losing population, and 80 percent of counties have seen a decline in the population of prime working age adults between 2007 and 2017. The report then examines the consequences of shrinking population on housing markets, local government finances, and overall economic conditions. Low- or negative-growth counties find themselves in a negative feedback loop, as high-skilled residents relocate to counties offering greater opportunity and more dynamic economies, further depressing the local economy. The authors suggest that skilled immigrants could help struggling localities stem and even reverse their losses, and argue for the creation of Place-Based Visas (PBVs) to attract skilled immigrants willing to settle in these areas. The authors do not offer a specific prescription, but instead lay out a set of key principles that should anchor the architecture of a new PBV, and discuss some parameters that policy makers will have to consider, such as how many such visas should be made available, and their period of validity. The authors review past legislative attempts to create PBVs, and they point to the success of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, and Australia’s multiple regional immigration visas in attracting immigrants willing to settle outside of the most populous regions. The authors conclude the PBVs could provide a powerful new tool for communities not content to simply manage their decline, but instead determined to stop the downward spiral and achieve economic revitalization through immigration. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the U.S. High-Tech Sector,
IZA Institute of Labor Economics, February 2019, 34 pp.
Authors: J. David Brown et al

Much of the economic literature on immigration assumes that immigrants and native-born people are similar “factors of production” -- theoretically interchangeable with one another. This study suggests that immigrants, at least in their entrepreneurial activity, have advantages over natives, rather than being similar to them or disadvantaged in any way.  Using the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE), a new database from the U.S. Census Bureau analyzing 7,400 high-tech firms, the authors find “uniformly higher rates of innovation in immigrant-owned firms for 15 of 16 different innovation measures.” In most cases, the differences survive detailed controls for other demographic and human capital characteristics.  Roughly 20 percent of the owners in the studied firms were immigrants, a percentage higher than the 16 percent of immigrants in the general population. The ASE covers six different product innovations, four different process innovations, and seven different R&D activities.

The Economic Benefits of Immigration: How the Migrant Hispanic Population’s Demographic Characteristics Contribute to US Growth,
Peterson Institute for International Economics, February 2019, 50 pp.
Authors:  Gonzalo Huertas & Jacob Funk Kirkegaard 
The US economy is growing—and the Hispanic community has been contributing significantly to this growth in recent years. According to this report, this trend is expected to continue throughout the next 10 to 20 years. The authors note that because Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group, their “demographic vitality” will see their share of the U.S. workforce grow beyond its current 16 percent. The paper stresses that perceptions of the Hispanic labor force as mainly low-skilled are inaccurate due to recent demographic changes. Using data from the 2017 Census Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Congressional Budget Office, the authors show that Hispanic educational attainment has increased dramatically since the 1990s, with Hispanics graduating high school at about the same rate as the national average (approximately 89 percent in 2016). Moreover, rates of earning post-secondary degrees are also rising, with Hispanics now equaling the non-Hispanic population in the number of associate degrees earned, but still lagging with college degrees. Members of the Hispanic community are also showing higher levels of entrepreneurship than the general population. The authors close by recommending that policies should be adopted to encourage these trends within the Hispanic community in order to promote future economic growth. They also suggest that growing Hispanic “convergence” with the broader U.S. population, combined with high Hispanic intermarriage rates and with many partly-Hispanic people claiming “more than one” racial or ethnic category on the U.S. census, may make studies of this type “less methodologically valid” in the future. (Deb D'Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

Power of the Purse: Middle-Easterners and North Africans in America,
New American Economy, January 2019, 27 pp.

A small but growing segment of the U.S. immigrant population consists of people from the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA). Between 2000 and 2015, the size of this community grew from almost 922,000 people to almost 1.45 million, an increase of 62.6 percent. This paper documents their outsized contribution to the U.S. economy. In part due to their educational levels (48.2 percent hold a bachelor’s degree compared to 30.7 percent of the U.S. population as a whole), and their tendency to gravitate into STEM fields, MENA immigrants are filling key roles in the U.S. economy -- roles which would likely go unfilled were it not for their presence. In 2015, for example, almost 30,000 MENA immigrants were working as physicians and surgeons (7.4 percent of college-educated MENA immigrants compared to only 1.6 percent of U.S.-born college educated individuals). Compared to overall U.S. workers, MENA immigrants were almost twice as likely to be working in a STEM-related field. MENA immigrants also comprised a substantial share of post-secondary teachers in the U.S. (5.7 percent compared to 2.4 percent of the native-born population). As might be expected, their median household income exceeds that of other immigrants, and their tax contributions to federal, state, and local governments are substantial. The report points out that MENA immigrants tend to congregate in certain states and localities, which derive economic advantages through their presence.

Immigrants are Indispensable to U.S. Workforce(Infographics on Immigrants in Particular Industries),
National Immigration Forum, 2018

In 2017 and 2018, the National Immigration Forum published a series of fact sheets on the role of immigrants in the following nine U.S. industries: agriculture, construction, education, finance and insurance, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, and transportation. Each one-page fact sheet gives the percentage of immigrants employed in that industry compared to the U.S.-born population. Although immigrants constitute 13 percent of the overall population, their industry percentages range from a high of 73 percent in agriculture to a low of 12 percent in education. Within each industry cluster, however, immigrants often stand out in particular jobs, such as the 43 percent of small hotel and motel owners who are immigrants, or the 47 percent of taxi drivers and chauffeurs who are immigrants. Some of the fact sheets include data on projected shortages of workers in specific industries, such as a shortage of 100,000 teachers by 2021 and the need to fill almost 900,000 new construction jobs by 2026, suggesting a continuing need for immigrant workers to fill these jobs.

The Impacts of Permanent Residency Delays for STEM PHDs: Who Leaves and Why,
National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 25175, October 2018, 53 pp.
(Link to non-technical summary of paper)
Authors: Shulamit Kahn & Mega MacGarvie

Although China and India are the two most populous nations on earth, they are subject to the same per-country cap (25,620 visas per year) on annual immigration as other countries of the world. As a result, there are apt to be backlogs and long waiting periods for immigrant visas for those otherwise qualified to emigrate to the U.S. by virtue of their family connections or desirable skill sets. This paper looks at Chinese and Indian STEM PhDs trained at American universities who apply for EB-2 employment-based permanent residency visas. Most are working already in the U.S. on temporary visas.  Of the more than 16,000 temporary residents who earned PhDs in 2001 or later and who were part of the study, two-thirds are still in the United States. However, for Indian PhDs, the stay rate is almost 9 percentage points lower for those experiencing delays of at least 5.5 years. Chinese graduates show a similar attrition rate. Although the authors attach importance to visa delays in determining stay rates, they also don’t rule out the possibility that the Chinese and Indian governments may be encouraging their citizens to return home upon completion of their studies.

<Revival and Opportunity: Immigrants in Rural America,
Center for American Progress, September 2, 2018, 56 pp.
Authors: Silva Mathema et al

This report details the pivotal role immigrants play in reviving rural communities across the United States. The report utilizes U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to reveal demographic trends in rural areas, specifically population loss, and how immigrants fill the need for taxpayers and workers to spark much-needed economic revival. The report also examines the local policies that facilitate economic and social integration of newcomers – an outcome deemed to be beneficial to the entire community. Immigrants not only stave off population decline but also fill critical roles in various sectors of the economy, both niche and general. Immigrants, for example, supply an indispensable workforce for industries such as meat processing, dairy, and fruit and vegetable farming. Moreover, foreign-trained health professionals are among some of the only people providing care in these areas. The report finds that communities that focus on English language learning, educational access and social inclusion help immigrants to better integrate and thrive in their new communities, and help these communities adapt to new cultural norms and traditions. Understanding how rural America is adapting to sudden demographic changes can help inform wider immigration policy throughout the U.S. (Sam Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

When Facts Don’t Matter: How to Communicate More Effectively about Immigration’s Costs and Benefits,
Migration Policy Institute, Transatlantic Council on Migration, November 2018, 25 pp.
Author: Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan

In this paper, the author provides a thorough overview of the psychological and political underpinnings of the process of evaluating and absorbing information and suggests alternate strategies for giving people information about immigration. The human mind is predisposed to accept information that already comports with our beliefs, and rejects information that does not fit those beliefs. This phenomenon is exaggerated when opposing positions in a policy debate are highly polarized, as they are in the immigration debate. The task of persuading people with facts is made more difficult in a media environment where there are countless unvetted sources of information (for example, on the web) making it easier for people to cherry-pick facts supporting their beliefs, and where there are deliberate campaigns to spread misinformation (“fake news”). Advocates and researchers can make matters worse by repeating false information in their effort to dispel myths. (For example, saying that immigrants are not more prone to commit crimes helps to reinforce the myth by dwelling on the supposed connection between immigration and crime.) Among other recommendations, the author suggests that information about immigration is more likely to be absorbed if it makes an emotional appeal or aligns with the audience’s personal experiences. Policy-makers and advocates rely too heavily on cost/benefit analyses, which may contradict personal experience or belief. If nothing else, the author reminds us that getting back to a sensible policy debate on immigration, and enacting needed reforms, will be very challenging in these politically polarized times. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

A Dozen Facts about Immigration,
The Hamilton Project, October 2018, 18 pp.
Authors: Ryan Nunn et al

This report updates and expands a 2010 publication on the same topic by the Hamilton Project -- a research arm of the Brookings Institution. The Project believes in putting forward  “innovative proposals from leading economic thinkers – based on credible evidence and experience, not ideology or doctrine…” The report groups its “dozen facts” into three broad categories:  first, how immigration has changed over time; second, the education, occupations, and employment of U.S. immigrants; and finally, the effects of immigrants on the U.S. economy. One key fact in the first category is that the rising foreign-born share of the U.S. population is driven both by immigration and by falling fertility rates of native-born individuals. A key fact in the second category is that immigrants are much more likely than others to work in construction or service occupations, but that the children of immigrants have a similar occupational distribution as the children of natives. And a key fact in the last category is that economic output in the economy seems to be higher and grows faster with more immigrants.

Migration and the Economy: Economic Realities, Social Impacts and Political Choices,
University of Oxford & Citi GPS, September 2018, 170 pp.
Authors: Ian Goldin et al

The purpose of this study is to analyze research findings on the impact of migration on the world economy, with particular attention to Europe and North America. The authors find that there is a growing body of evidence that diversity, and immigration, drive economic prosperity as well as reflecting it.” They also report that the stock of migrants, although growing in absolute numbers, still stands at only 3 percent of the overall world population, although publics in Europe and America tend to overestimate the number of migrants in their respective countries.  According to the authors, migration benefits economies in three ways: first, by inserting workers in their most productive years into the economy to take the place of those who are retiring, and to fill job openings caused by falling native birth rates; second, by improving the human capital of the work force through the specialized skill sets that migrants bring; and third, by increasing rates of innovation and “total factor productivity growth.”  The report includes an analysis of the fiscal impacts of migration and finds that “in most cases…migrants consume fewer benefits and receive less from the public purse in comparison to natives in similar circumstances.”  The authors hope that their report, by highlighting the economic case for migration, will help steer the public debate to more evidence-based immigration policy-making.

The Economics of Immigration Reform,
University of Pennsylvania, Institute for Law and Economic Research Paper No. 18-17, 41 pp.
Author:  Howard F. Chang

This paper compares two different legislative proposals on immigration: the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, introduced in the House of Representatives in 2017 and endorsed by President Trump, and the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in 2013. The former bill, which would slash levels of legal immigration by about 50 percent, is designed to promote skills-based immigration, rather than immigration based on family ties.  The 2013 legislation, passed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate but never brought up for a vote in the House, would also place stronger emphasis on "merit-based" immigration, but without scrapping the family-based system, except for siblings of U.S. citizens over the age of 31. At the same time, overall numbers would be maintained, backlogs in existing preference categories would be eliminated over time, and the undocumented would be granted a pathway to legal status, and eventual citizenship. "Although basic economic theory raises a presumption in favor of the free movement of workers," providing gains for the world economy as a whole, the author's litmus test for evaluating the two proposals is the extent to which they advance the economic interest of native-born Americans. His analysis suggests that liberalizing immigration rather than restricting it would produce economic and fiscal benefits for the U.S.-born population. He further suggests that these benefits would be amplified if backlogs were eliminated and people were able to immigrate at a younger age. He also faults proponents of the RAISE Act for not providing any empirical evidence that cuts to family immigration would benefit the economy as a whole.

The Missing Pieces of the Economic Debate Over Immigration Reform,
Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, Issue Brief 6:7, August 2018, 7 pp.
Author: Exequiel Hernandez

To gain a complete understanding of the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy, one must examine other issues beyond labor force participation. In Missing Pieces of the Economic Debate over Immigration Reform, the author discusses the interrelation between three core components of immigration economics: labor, capital and innovation – the latter two often overlooked in immigration studies. Based on his examination of nearly 300 foreign direct investments in the United States, and research on entrepreneurship rates by Harvard Business School and Kauffman Foundation scholars, the author argues that immigration benefits the economy in multiple ways. He finds, for example, that for every 1 percent increase in the local immigration population, the likelihood of a foreign firm choosing that locality for investment increased by nearly 50 percent. Moreover, the survival rate of the firm seems to increase with the size of the immigrant population.  These investments are not limited to products and services targeting niche ethnic communities, but are often more general in nature, relying on immigrants to “bridge the cultural, economic, and institutional distances that make new market entry so challenging” for foreign firms. Likewise, immigrants make up an outsized share of job-creators and innovators in the U.S. (about a quarter of entrepreneurs and 31 percent of venture capital-backed founders), which spurs innovation and creates more jobs for native-born Americans. As a result, the author suggests a shift in discourse among policymakers to reflect immigrants’ multiple benefits on the economy, particularly as the drivers of substantial capital investments and the sources of innovation. (Ayse Alkilic for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Immigrants as Economic Contributors: Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
National Immigration Forum, July 11, 2018, 11 pp.
Author: Dan Kosten

Immigrants are vital economic contributors to the United States. The National Immigration Forum looks at the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy in a seven-part series of fact sheets. This fourth fact sheet compiles data from the U.S. Census, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, the National Foundation for American Policy and other sources indicating high entrepreneurialism among immigrants of all backgrounds and its positive local impact. Although immigrants make up 13 percent of the U. S. population, almost 30 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2016 were foreign-born. In the same year, the entrepreneurial rate for immigrants was twice that of the U.S.-born, meaning immigrants showed a higher propensity to start a business. Refugees and immigrants without college degrees were more entrepreneurial, with 13 percent of refugees and 11.5 percent of immigrants owning a business compared to just nine percent of the U.S.-born. According to the fact sheet, immigrants’ higher rates of entrepreneurship result in job creation and increased revenues for localities, which serves to stimulate the economic growth of the entire community. In fact, cities like Detroit have capitalized on this entrepreneurial spirit by creating initiatives designed to attract, retain and advance immigrant entrepreneurs in an attempt to revitalize local economies.
(Elizabeth Portaluppi for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Immigrant Entrepreneurship in America: Evidence from the Survey of Business Owners 2007 & 2012,
National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2018
Authors:  Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr

Immigrant entrepreneurs play an important role in the United States.  They founded about 25 percent of all U.S. firms, but the proportion varies widely by state and locality, e.g. exceeding 40 percent in California and New York. As publicly owned firms cannot be easily labeled as having immigrant or native owners, the authors of this study exclude these firms from their analysis, as well as firms with self-employed owners without employees. Of the remaining 300,000 firms examined, using the Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, about 18 percent are owned by immigrants. These immigrant-owned firms pay lower wages on average, have more female owners, have relatively younger owners, and are less likely to provide health insurance or retirement benefits to employees than native-owned firms. Of new firms, i.e., those less than five years old, immigrants own some 26 percent nationally.  When controlling analysis by industries and states, however, these differences tend to disappear. Immigrant firms, for example, pay wages similar to native firms in specific industries. The immigrant firms are found to be smaller than native-owned firms on average, but with more start-up capital than native firms.  Immigrant companies are more likely to engage in international operations, and they are more likely to survive for at least five years. Second-generation firms, i.e., firms with owners born in the U.S. of an immigrant parent, occupy a middle ground between immigrant and native firms.  As one example, they are more likely than immigrant firms but less likely than native firms to offer health insurance to workers. The situation of the second-generation owners suggests a transition toward mainstream American business practices. (Rob Paral, Rob Paral Associates)

Immigrant Lives, American Future:  Linking Asset Building and Immigrant Integration,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California,
May, 2018, 49 pp.
Authors:  Manuel Pastor et al
This report seeks to create common cause and greater alignment among funders interested in immigrant integration and those interested in asset-building. Often, the horizon for action is different for both, i.e. more short-term and crisis oriented for integration funders, and more long-term and life cycle focused among asset-building funders. To bridge this difference will require a change in perspective on the part of both types of funders. The report also takes a broad view of asset-building, calling attention to those assets often overlooked by traditional funders, including language skills, immigration status, and cultural capital.  The paper includes a useful chart showing how immigration status interacts with specific asset-building tools, products, and opportunities, and urges asset-building funders to expand their grant portfolios to target the growing immigrant population in the U.S. Successful grant-making in this area will require funders to be more culturally sensitive and to recognize that building assets and wealth is not a ╥culturally neutral endeavor.╙ Drawing on both the literature in the field, as well as interviews with funders and experts, the report describes promising practices at the intersection of immigrant integration and asset-building. Finally, the report offers a series of recommendations for funders interested in bridging the two fields, including ways to build knowledge of emerging communities and grant-making strategies of proven effectiveness, such as investments in immigrant entrepreneurship and policy advocacy leading to systemic change. This report was commissioned by The Asset Funders Network and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.

Alternatives for an Outdated Immigration System:  Immigration Reform is Crucial for Maintaining Talent and Innovation in the U.S. Fashion Industry, & the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), 2018, 32 pp. + appendices
In addition to employing more than 1.9 million workers nation-wide, the U.S. fashion industry bolsters the profits of numerous ancillary industries, such as photography, graphic design, publishing, set design, public relations, and hospitality. The industry has long been dependent on the infusion of talent and manpower from immigrants. This report documents the role that immigrants play in the industry, laments short-sighted policies that are cutting off the flow of talent from abroad, and makes specific recommendations to address these concerns, including increasing the number of H-1B visas available to trained fashion professionals and reforming the O-1 visa to meet the specialized needs of the fashion industry.  Building on an earlier work that focused solely on the fashion industry in New York, this report highlights the role that immigrants play in regional fashion hubs, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Nashville, St. Louis, and Miami. The report’s findings are based on detailed interviews with over 30 industry professionals, a literature review, and a 25-question survey distributed to CFDA members.

The Contributions of the Children of Immigrants to Science in America,
National Foundation for American Policy, March 2017, 13 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson

This policy brief argues that “an important, underappreciated benefit” of high-skilled immigrants is the contributions made by their children. Analyzing the backgrounds of the finalists in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search -- often referred to as the “Junior Nobel Prize” -- the author discovered that 33 out of 40 finalists (83 percent) were children of immigrants. The second-generation proportion of each year’s group of finalists has been increasing over the years, rising from 60 percent in 2004, to 70 percent in 2011, and to 83 percent in 2016. Through interviews with the finalists, the author attempts to explain the success of these children. Many students felt a debt to their parents for the sacrifices they made in coming to the United States.  Students often followed in their parents’ footsteps, seeking careers in technical fields like their parents. For those interested in health research, often a health or disability-related challenge in the family provided the motivation for the child. The author also explores a range of other factors related to family dynamics and cultural background. The author concludes that “the children of immigrants represent the next generation of America’s scientists and engineers and we should applaud and welcome their achievements.”

Foot Voting, Decentralization, and Development,
George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 18-12, April 25, 2018, 23 pp.
Author: Ilya Somin
In this paper, legal scholar Ilya Somin reconceptualizes migration as a form of voting - a way for people to realize their potential in places more conducive to economic development. Such places may be states or regions within countries, or other countries.  "Foot voting," according to the author, even has major advantages over regular ballot box voting. Foot voters have strong incentives to acquire relevant information to guide their actions - incentives which may be missing in ballot box elections where a single vote may appear inconsequential.  Moreover, in many parts of the world, elections are rigged or rarely held. According to Somin, the benefits of foot voting are not simply economic. For a large part of the world's population, foot voting may be the only way to exercise political choice.  Somin describes various steps that can be taken to improve institutional frameworks to achieve a "foot voting world." Domestic foot-voting can be promoted by eliminating impediments to move freely within subnational jurisidictions, such as China's restrictions on the movement of rural populations to cities. Another strategy is to devolve power and budgeting authority to local jurisidictions so that they have the capacity to design policies attractive to foot voters.  As far as international migration is concerned, "understandable objections to expanded migration should be addressed by a combination of assessing whether the objection is overblown, implementing keyhole solutions, and - where necessary - tapping the wealth created by immigration to mitigate negative side effects and compensate adversely affected natives."  While foot voting is not a panacea, the author argues "it is difficult to think of any other development initiative that can bring such vast benefits to so many people."

U.S. Colleges are Losing International Students: Why It's Happening and Why It's a Problem,
Bipartisan Policy Center, March 1, 2018, 4 pp.
Author: Jake Varn
The United States has long drawn students from all over the world to attend its world-class colleges and universities. However, in 2016, international enrollment dropped for the first time since 2005. In this report, policy analyst Jake Varn argues that this decline should be cause for alarm. He points out that international students are vital to the higher education ecosystem and the larger economy: they create a diverse student body and are a significant source of revenue for universities as they pay full tuition and often do not receive financial aid. If enrollment continues to drop, institutional budgets will suffer, and the U.S. will lose the $37 billion that international students pump into the U.S. economy every year. Based on research from the National Science Foundation and Institute of International Education, Varn identifies some likely causes for the decline both on a national and global level. In the U.S., changes in immigration policy, like requiring international students to reapply for visas every year and the increasingly hostile rhetoric surrounding immigration, are some possible contributing factors. Restrictions and cancellations of scholarship programs and the rise of international competition in higher education may also contribute to lower international student enrollment in the U.S. Varn believes that universities and the federal government should develop policies to reverse these ominous trends. (Sakura Tomizawa for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

Foreign-Trained Doctors are Critical to Serving Many U.S. Communities,
American Immigration Council, January 2018, 23 pp.
Foreign-trained doctors in the United States play an indispensable role in providing health care to undeserved communities and fill health care shortages that impact millions of Americans. One-quarter of all practicing physicians in the U.S., around 247,000 doctors, are foreign-trained and therefore likely to be foreign-born. This report examines foreign-trained doctors and the socio-demographic characteristics of the Primary Care Service Areas (PCSAs) where they serve. Data was obtained from the American Medical Association (AMA), the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey and the U.S. Healthcare Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) using zip codes of practice, medical specialty and location where medical degrees were earned. The report finds that foreign-trained doctors were more likely to work in primary-care positions like family medicine, therefore caring for a large swath of the U.S. population, while US-trained doctors pursued specializations such as dermatology and orthopedics. Furthermore, between 30 to 42.5 percent of all doctors in areas that are low income, less educated and have more ethnic minorities were foreign-trained. The projected shortfall of doctors by 2025 (estimated at 46,100 to 90,400 positions) will increase demand for foreign-trained doctors. However, immigration policies related to residency and visa requirements limit the ability of doctors to immigrate and practice medicine in the U.S. The authors urge policymakers to consider the important role foreign-trained doctors play in providing health care to underprivileged communities and to adjust immigration policy accordingly (The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute).

Delivering through Diversity
McKinsey & Company, January, 2018, 39 pp.
Authors: Vivian Hunt et al
Companies with diverse members in leadership positions are more than 20 percent likely to outperform on profitability and have superior value creation. Delivering through Diversity from McKinsey & Company discusses the relationship between diversity and business success and describes the inclusion and diversity (I&D) initiatives that seem to accelerate business performance. This report draws on public annual reports and websites of more than 1,000 companies worldwide and financial data from the Corporate Performance Analytics database of McKinsey and S&P Global. The authors also highlight the I&D efforts of 17 companies across multiple industries. Results show that companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity and ethnic/cultural diversity in their executive teams have better than predicted return on investments, outperform on profitability and are more likely to have superior value creation. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity in their executive teams, for example, were 33 percent more likely to lead industry profitability. Additionally, the report reveals that bottom-quartile companies are lagging in comparison to their competitors. The authors suggest that all levels of leadership commit to I&D goals, that managers connect I&D initiatives to growth strategies and company culture, and that I&D strategies should be tailored to local conditions to maximize their impact (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute).

How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances,
Urban Institute, December 2017, 11 pp.
Authors: Damir Cosic & Richard W. Johnson
Most economists agree that immigration boosts productivity, raises the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and prevents labor shortages. In 2016, one in six workers in the United States was an immigrant. These immigrant workers finance a major share of Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) payroll taxes that fund Social Security. The restrictionist Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act proposed in 2017 would halve the number of green cards granted yearly and change the criteria for awarding them, moving from a largely family-based system to an employment-based one. The bill aims to raise wages for American workers and promote economic growth. In How Might Restricting Immigration Affect Social Security's Finances, the Urban Institute analyzes the proposed bill and concludes that the RAISE Act would shrink the number of workers by two million workers by 2030 and 8 million by 2070. As a result, it would weaken Social Security finances by reducing OASDI payroll tax revenues. Over a 75-year period, the RAISE Act would increase Social Security's unfunded obligations from $11.6 trillion to $13.1 trillion. Additional analysis finds that restricting immigration would reduce GDP and have only marginal impact on American wages (no more than 0.16 to 0.23 percent). The authors warn that policymakers should reconsider supporting legislation such as the RAISE Act as it would exacerbate Social Security's financial problems and do little to improve the wages of the U.S.-born. (Samah Rizvi for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Power of the Purse: How Sub-Saharan Africans Contribute to the U.S. Economy,
New American Economy, January, 2018, 21 pp.
This brief provides timely information on the economic contributions of sub-Saharan African Immigrants, a group that has been given relatively little attention in immigration research. A major theme is that African immigrants are making contributions larger than their numbers would suggest. The authors calculate that, in 2015, African immigrants had approximately $40.3 billion in spending power and paid $14.8 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. African immigrants tend to be in their prime working age and have a much higher labor force participation rate than U.S. natives (75 percent vs. 63 percent). Almost three in ten work in the healthcare and social services sectors. African immigrants compare favorably to natives in educational attainment, with 40 percent having a bachelor's degree or higher (compared to 31 percent for natives) and 16 percent having a graduate degree (compared to 11 percent for natives). This paper makes the point that, in part, higher levels of educational attainment can be expected due to the large share of African immigrants who come through the diversity visa lottery program, which requires applicants to have a minimum of a high-school education or two years of work experience in a field that requires a minimum of two years of training. The paper also notes that 70 percent of Africans arrive with full fluency in English. Texas is the state with the largest population of African immigrants, followed by New York, Maryland, and California. More than a third of the African immigrants in the U.S. live in these four states. The Metropolitan area with the largest population of African immigrants is Washington, DC, with more than 190,000. The paper is sprinkled with stories of individual African entrepreneurs (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
America's Demographic Challenge: Understanding the Role of Immigration,
Bipartisan Policy Center, August 2017, 25 pp.
Authors:  Kenneth Megan & Theresa Cardinal Brown
With numerous charts and graphs, this paper outlines the projected growth of various age segments of the U.S. population, showing that the native-born, working-age population will grow much more slowly than the foreign-born working-age population. The relative growth of the 65-and-over population will present economic challenges. In particular, the Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted by 2034, assuming that current levels of immigration remain relatively constant. Policy changes will ultimately be needed to save the fund from depletion, including expanding the labor force by increasing immigration. In an aging population, there is a decline in workforce participation, which depresses economic growth. The arrival of working-age immigrants can counter, to some extent, the slowdown in economic activity as older workers retire. The relative demographic structure of immigrants vs. natives-with immigrants being more likely to be of working-age and to participate in the workforce-also impacts the federal budget. Modeling of a 2013 immigration reform bill found that the bill's legalization program and increase in legal immigration would reduce the federal deficit by $180 billion over 10 years. In general, though, current levels of immigration cannot entirely offset the economic and fiscal drag of our aging population. Liberalizing immigration will help, but other policy changes will be needed to reduce the federal deficit and stave off Social Security insolvency. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Population diversity as a crucial source of long-term prosperity in the US,
VOX, Centre for Economic Policy Research, November 10, 2017
Authors: Andrés Rodriguez-Pose & Viola von Berlespsch
Despite the fear and misunderstanding surrounding the issue of immigration, little research has explored the long-term economic impact of immigration--especially in places that have historically experienced high immigration levels. "Population diversity as a crucial source for long-term prosperity in the U.S." examines whether a more diverse population encourages or hinders economic growth compared to a more homogeneous population. Relying on birthplace data at the county level, the study analyzes U.S. Census population samples in 1880, 1900 and 1910 to determine the number of groups of different origin ("fractionalism") and compares the data against their 2010 equivalent among the 48 continental states. The results suggest that counties with large numbers of immigrant groups of different origin who are able to communicate with one another (low "polarization") had short- and long-term economic gains at a markedly higher level than counties that experienced low immigration levels. The study asserts that counties with higher levels of immigration were able to benefit from the perspectives and skill-sets of migrants, which brought about greater economic growth. The authors warn that wealthy countries that limit migration to protect cultural homogeneity will forego these immediate and long-term economic benefits from greater diversity. However, dialogue and integration are necessary to realize these benefits. (Jonathan Eizyk for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute).

Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500,
Center for American Entrepreneurship, December 2017, unpaginated
Since 1955, Fortune Magazine has annually ranked the top 500 publically listed and private companies in the U.S. by revenue. In 2011, 40 percent of the "Fortune 500" companies had at least one founder who was a first generation immigrant or child of an immigrant. By 2017, according to this study from the Center for American Entrepreneurship, the number of firms founded or co-founded by first or second generation immigrants had increased to 43 percent. The analysis also found that 52 percent of the top 25 firms and 57 percent of the top 35 firms were founded or co-founded by first or second-generation immigrants. Interactive infographics provide details about the Fortune 500 companies including headquarter locations, comparisons of U.S. born to immigrant founded or cofounded companies by industry, and brief profiles of well-known immigrant entrepreneurs. The authors suggest that policymakers should consider the job-creating potential of immigrant entrepreneurs in crafting immigration policies for the 21st century. (Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, September 2017, 16 pp.
Author: Rob Paral 
Midwestern cities have long relied on immigrants to energize local economies and grow their populations. In a report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Rob Paral links the economic history and prospects of these cities to immigration policies enacted from the 1920s to 1990s. Using Census data and existing research, the analysis points to restrictive immigration policies as a restraint on population growth and economic vitality in 13 large Midwestern cities, including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. In the early 1900s, 11 to 35 percent of residents in Midwestern cities were foreign-born, but the foreign-born population dropped precipitously by 1970. From 1950 to 1970 -- after laws aimed at limiting immigration, such as the Immigration Act of 1924, were enacted -- the cities in this analysis experienced an average general population decline of 7.5 percent (A steeper population decline was averted in part due to the Great Migration northward of African-Americans from the South). Fortunately, Congress passed legislation from 1965 to 1990 that allowed more than three times as many immigrants per year to enter into the country. While some Midwestern cities are still in decline, other cities’ populations have stabilized largely because of the arrival of new foreign-born residents. For example, from 1970 to 2015, the foreign-born population in Chicago grew by 53 percent, in Minneapolis by 196 percent, and in Kansas City by 249 percent. Immigration has thus proven crucial to the economic survival and prosperity of the American Midwest (Yuki Wiland for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute).

Michigan: We Are All Migrants Here, Immigrant Engine of Economic Growth Threatened by Trump Administration Policy,
Michigan Economic Center & Global Detroit, 2017, 19 pp.
Authors:  John Austin, Akaash Kolluri, Steve Tobocman
This report is a clarion call from two Michigan economic development organizations to recognize and support the significant contributions that immigrants are making to the revival of the Michigan economy. The authors are concerned that the gains that the state has made in creating an immigrant-friendly environment are being undermined by policies of the Trump Administration. Although immigrants constitute only 6 percent of the state's population, they punch above their weight on many indices of economic activity, including being 25 percent of the state's high-tech start-ups and running firms that employ over 150,000 other people. Immigrants have also brought an infusion of talent and labor to offset the decline in the native-born population over the last 15 years. The authors summarize the many initiatives the state has taken with the support of state, municipal, and industry leaders to promote the state as an immigrant-friendly destination, including the creation of the Michigan Office of New Americans by Republican Governor Rick Snyder. However, policies of the Trump Administration, such as the scaling back of H-1B visas, the travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries, and reductions in refugee admissions, threaten to reverse these gains.

Immigrant Health-Care Workers in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, June 28, 2017, 10 pp.
Authors: Szilvia Altorjal & Jeanne Batalova

Despite making up only 13 percent of the total U.S. population, immigrants represent a vital portion of the growing health-care industry comprising 17 percent, or 2.1 million, of the 12.4 million medical professionals in the United States. This report uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide a demographic and socioeconomic overview of immigrants working in health-care occupations with particular attention to their proficiency in English, educational background, nationality, gender, and access to health insurance. The paper finds that three-quarters of immigrants in the field display a high level of English proficiency. Moreover, foreign-born medical professionals are more likely to possess a bachelor's degree compared to the U.S.-born in the same field. There are also a disproportionately high number of foreign-born medical professionals in both high- and low-skilled positions: 28 percent of physicians and surgeons and 24 percent of nurses and home health aides are foreign-born. The report suggests that there is a growing need for foreign-born professionals in the health-care workforce, which is projected to add 2.3 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. However, numerous obstacles exist for foreign-born doctors and others to obtain permanent resident status, as the U.S. immigration system does not prioritize the admission of immigrant health-care professionals. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

The Economic and Social Outcomes of Refugees in the United States: Evidence from the ACS,
National Bureau of Economic Research, June 2017
Authors: William N. Evans & Daniel Fitzgerald (Free access to full study limited to journalists and government employees)
Using an innovative technique to create "the largest sample of refugees analyzed to date" (ca. 20,000 refugees resettled in the United States between 1990 and 2014), this report attempts to determine the long-term fiscal and other impacts of refugee resettlement. The results suggest that, for the first eight years in the U.S., refugees receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. After the eighth year, however, taxes paid tend to be greater than benefits received.  Over a 20-year period, refugees entering between the ages of 18 and 45 pay on average $21,000 more in taxes to all levels of government than they receive in benefits, although they have not attained the earnings level of native-born Americans.  The study also looks at educational outcomes for refugee children. Those who enter the U.S. before age 14 graduate high school and enter college at the same rate as native-born young people. Refugees who enter as older teenagers have lower educational attainment, probably because of difficulties with English language acquisition and the fact that many entered as unaccompanied minors. The authors contend that their findings call into question the argument of some commentators that the refugee program is too expensive because of its up-front costs.

From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America,
New American Economy, June, 2017, 32 pp.
Refugees living in the United States show a strong upward economic trajectory over time and make significant contributions to their new communities. This report uses data from the 2015 American Community Survey to examine 2.3 million likely refugees based on year of arrival in the U.S. and country of origin. The report finds that, although refugees in the U.S. for five years or less have a median household income of $22,000, that figure more than triples in subsequent decades, exceeding the median income of U.S. households overall. In addition, while only nine percent of the U.S.-born population and 11.5 percent of the non-refugee immigrant population were self-employed in 2015, 13 percent of refugees were entrepreneurs. Refugees are also willing to put down roots in the U.S., with 84 percent of refugees who have been in the U.S. for 16 to 25 years becoming citizens compared to half of the overall foreign-born population in the country for that length of time. As refugees are demonstrating a willingness to make long-term investments in the U.S., the authors recommend that more work be done to track and publicize the successes of the refugee population, in part to justify the short-term assistance provided to refugees during the resettlement process. (Sarah Purdy for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Foreign-born STEM Workers in the United States,
American Immigration Council, June 14, 2017, 20 pp.
Foreign-born workers in the United States represent a growing share of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce in all occupational categories. This fact sheet from the American Immigration Council analyzes data from the American Community Survey to give an overview of the occupational, gender, educational and geographic distribution of foreign-born STEM workers in the United States. It offers a side-by-side comparison of two sets of STEM occupations based on two different STEM definitions. The total number of STEM workers in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1990, with one-fifth to one-quarter of the STEM workforce being foreign-born in 2015. Foreign-born STEM workers have made significant contributions to innovation and productivity, e.g. 25 percent of high-tech companies founded between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder. The foreign-born also dominate among those with advanced degrees -- immigrants make up the majority of STEM workers with doctoral degrees. With STEM occupations projected to grow 13 percent to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. will need about one million more STEM professionals than it will produce over the next decade. The authors suggest that, though increasing U.S.-born STEM workers is essential, foreign-born STEM workers, who tend to be slightly younger than the overall STEM workforce, may still be required in the U.S. to meet future labor needs. (Sarah Purdy for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

New Brain Gain: Rising Human Capital among Recent Immigrants to the United States
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2017, 16 pp.
Authors:  Jeanne Batalova & Michael Fix
This fact sheet reports that recent immigrants in the United States are more educated than in the past. Data from the American Community Survey and U.S. Census Bureau show that from 1986 to 1990, 27 percent of new arrivals had a college degree. Between 2011 and 2015, 48 percent of recent immigrants were college graduates. In 26 states, recent immigrants were more likely to be college educated than those born in the U.S. The authors suggest this shift, along with an increase in English proficiency and bilingualism among new arrivals, may be due to increased immigration from Asia. Currently, half of the college-educated immigrants in the U.S. come from Asia. Educational attainment is rising among other immigrant groups as well; nearly one-quarter of recent immigrants from Latin America have college degrees. The authors also note the increased educational attainment and English education around the world and the rise of English as a global lingua franca. In 2015, the largest share of highly skilled immigrants came from India, followed by China/Hong Kong, the Philippines, Mexico and South Korea. The findings suggest some important policy measures, including addressing skill underutilization among college-educated immigrants (the so-called "brain waste" problem), avoiding immigration policies and rhetoric that deter highly skilled newcomers, and making temporary visas available for certain skilled immigrants. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Immigration a Demographic Lifeline in Midwestern Metros,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March, 2017, 14 pp.
Author:  Rob Paral
This paper, updating a 2014 report published by the Chicago Council, examines changing demographics in 46 metro areas in 12 Midwest states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In these metro areas, population growth between 2000 and 2017 has been approximately half the national average. Immigration has played a crucial role in the continued growth of these areas-in some cases reversing actual declines in the native-born population. Immigration has been especially important in adding to the prime working age cohorts as the large aging baby-boom population moves into retirement. With charts that include all 46 metro areas, the author demonstrates that immigrants are supporting the continued vitality of Midwest metro areas and are playing "a critical role in offsetting regional workforce gaps created by an aging native-born population." With outright population decline occurring in parts of the Midwest, immigration is a demographic lifeline, stemming the loss of consumers and workers that Midwest businesses need to survive and thrive. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Mass Deportations would Impoverish US Families and Create Immense Social Costs,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, Center for Migration Studies, 5:1 (2017), 8 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
This paper assesses the impact of large-scale deportations on mixed-status families, i.e. families comprised of both documented and undocumented members.  In 2014, there were 6.6 million US-born citizens sharing 3 million households with undocumented residents (usually parents). Of these U.S.-born citizens, 5.7 million were children under the age of 18.  Removing undocumented family members would reduce median household income by 47 percent (from $41,300 to $22,000). If just one-third of these children remained in the United States, the cost of raising these children through their minority would total $118 billion. Gross domestic product would be reduced by 1.4 percent in the first year, and by $4.7 trillion over 10 years. In addition, the housing market would suffer a serious blow, as many households would default on home mortgage loans.

To Stay or Not To Stay: The Calculus for International STEM Students in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, January 4, 2017, 6 pp.
Author: Luka Klimaviciute
As the global competition for graduates in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) increases, international students in the United States must decide to leave or remain in the U.S. after graduation. The report To Stay or Not To Stay from the Migration Policy Institute gives an overview of the international STEM student population in the U.S. and examines the domestic need for graduates in these fields. Census and Department of Homeland Security data reveal that 41.6 percent of the more than one million international students in the U.S. during the 2015-2016 school year were enrolled in STEM fields. Two-thirds of international STEM students choose to stay in the U.S. after graduation, but the decision is dependent on a variety of factors including financial resources, job security, family pressures, occupational specialization, and the willingness to undertake the arduous process of obtaining a permanent resident visa.  Also, countries such as China and New Zealand are competing for these students and providing easier paths to permanent residence to help fill labor shortages in high-skill jobs. Accordingly, the authors consider whether the U.S. should incentivize more international STEM graduates to remain in the country. There is contradictory evidence as to the need for foreign-born STEM workers, but an 11.8 percent increase in patent grants for every 10 percent increase in international STEM workers suggests that they help to accelerate innovation in the economy. There are also projected labor shortages in specific STEM fields that will persist until more specialists are either trained in the U.S. or brought in internationally. The authors suggest that recognizing highly skilled immigrants as catalysts for economic growth could help advance policy changes for the benefit of U.S. employers and international students. (Sarah Purdy, for the ILC Public Education Institute)

The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis
National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, November, 2016
Authors: Ryan Edwards & Francesc Ortega
This study attempts to measure the contributions of unauthorized workers in various sectors of the United States economy with a goal of understanding the impact of removing those workers from the labor force (e.g., by mass deportation). Using census information and statistical analysis, the authors examine worker productivity across a variety of dimensions with a specific focus on outcomes for native born, authorized foreign born, and unauthorized foreign-born workers.  The study attends to demographic variety within the workforce (e.g., individuals' levels of education) and across sectors of the economy (e.g., what percentage of workers within a particular industry are unauthorized). For example, 18 percent of workers within agriculture are unauthorized, compared to 10 percent within leisure and hospitality. The authors calculate that overall, undocumented workers account for 3 percent of the GDP of the US, with key differences seen across sectors and states. Based on the authors' analysis, legalization of unauthorized workers would increase their share of the GDP to 3.6 percent.  They also cite studies that suggest the workers themselves could see their earnings increase between 10 - 25 percent if their status changed. With regards to their main research question, the authors conclude that removing unauthorized workers from the workforce would cost certain sectors in both the short and the long term. For example, the leisure and hospitality sector could expect to lose $30-40 billion in the short term. The authors suggest that such potential loses should be considered before implementing a mass deportation strategy. (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University)

Immigrants Play a Disproportionate Role in American Entrepreneurship
Harvard Business Review, October 3, 2016, 8 pp.
Authors:  Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr
A new data platform may dramatically increase the amount of information available about immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. Dr. Sari Pekkala Kerr of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Dr. William R. Kerr of Harvard Business School are utilizing the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database for a more comprehensive statistical understanding of immigrant entrepreneurship in the United States. Currently covering 31 states, the database stores information from restricted-access Census Bureau datasets from 1995-2008. Their preliminary research provides insight into growth and closure trends as well as the survival rates of immigrant-founded startups, from neighborhood businesses to burgeoning firms backed by venture capital financing. While immigrant-founded firms close faster than their native-founded counterparts, the ones that survive experience faster growth rates. This "up or out" phenomenon is characteristic of immigrant-founded firms and may influence where immigrant entrepreneurs choose to settle. New information regarding immigrant-founded firms including investment, performance and general behavior may lay the groundwork for a more nuanced understanding of immigrant entrepreneurship.  The authors expect that these initial findings will serve as a catalyst for further studies of immigrant entrepreneurship and will help inform public policy concerning immigration. (Sarah Purdy for the Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Why are Immigrants More Entrepreneurial,
Harvard Business Review, October 27, 2016, 7 pp.
Authors:  Peter Vandor & Nikolaus Franke
In this article, the authors report on the results of their study recently published in the Journal of Business Venturing. They begin by noting that immigrants in the U.S. are nearly twice as likely to become entrepreneurs as the native born, and that this proclivity towards entrepreneurship also holds outside the U.S. Prior research has suggested that one factor at work may be a greater tendency for entrepreneurial individuals to migrate. In addition, labor market barrier and discrimination may compel immigrants to go into business on their own. The authors looked at another angle: cross-cultural experiences may enable immigrants to identify promising business ideas. The authors performed two experiments on groups of students and found that those with cross-cultural experiences received better marks for their business ideas from a panel of venture capitalists and industry experts. The implication for business is to encourage cross-cultural experiences, and to recognize and nurture the business ideas of those in the company who have these cross-cultural experiences. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)

Reason for Reform: Entrepreneurship
New American Economy, October, 2016, 21 pp.
What role do immigrants play as entrepreneurs in the U.S. economy?  An "outsized" one, according to this report from New American Economy, based on data from the American Community Survey, the Survey of Small Business Owners and other sources.  The authors describe immigrants as "a critical piece of the U.S. entrepreneurship landscape" -- almost twice as likely as the native-born population in 2015 to start a business. Businesses owned by immigrants (excluding publicly-owned firms) employed more than 5.9 million workers in 2007, the last year for which figures are available. The report gives the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in each state and the amount of business income they produce for the top 25 states. The report also updates an earlier 2011 NAE study by looking at immigrant founders of Fortune 500 companies in 2016. The "massive role" played by first and second generation immigrants remained essentially unchanged over the 5-year period. In 2016, 40.1 percent of these firms, or 201 companies in total, had at least one founder who was either a first or second-generation immigrant.  These firms employed almost 19 million people. The report gives the number of such firms in each state, along with the number of people employed by these firms in 2016. The authors conclude with an explanation of the frustrations faced by would-be immigrant entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses in the U.S. and urge the passage of legislation that would create a startup visa program for entrepreneurs conditional on their raising sufficient start-up capital.

The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration,
Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, September, 2016, 508 pp.
Editors: Francine D. Blau & Christopher Mackle
In an effort to understand the economic and fiscal impacts of immigration on the United States, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine convened a distinguished panel of 22 economists, sociologists, and demographers, chaired by Francine D. Blau, of the Department of Economics at Cornell University. In a study process lasting three years, the panel pored over the existing scholarly literature and secured input from experts around the United States. The actual report, more than 500 pages in length, is filled with technical jargon that may prove intimidating to the lay reader. Repeatedly, the authors caution readers that immigration cannot easily be isolated as a single causal factor for any economic outcome.  Nonetheless, the panel tried to find areas of consensus. One point of agreement is that high-skilled immigrants have had a significant "positive impact" on the overall economy, stimulating innovation and helping to create jobs.  Without their energy and talent, "patenting per capita" in the U.S. would not be so high.  The authors also review the literature on the "dynamic immigration surplus," which posits that knowledge formation, spurred on by the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of immigrants, can act as "an engine of economic growth."  The authors conclude that "the prospect of long-run economic growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants." With regard to low-skilled immigrants, many of whom help to sustain entire industries in the U.S., some adverse effects may have been felt by immigrants who arrived earlier and teenagers who never finished high school. "While pre-existing workers most similar to immigrants may experience lower wages or a lower employment rate, pre-existing workers who are complementary to immigrants are likely to benefit, as are native-born owners of capital."

Some analysts have highlighted findings in the report that are supportive of their policy orientation on immigration. Harvard economist George Borjas, for example, a member of the panel of experts that produced the report, but a favorite of the restrictionist right, has published a User's Guide to the report that echoes his long-standing critique of immigration. Coverage, however, in both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times emphasized findings suggesting the benefits of immigration to the overall economy. The report also assesses the role of immigration in helping to mitigate some of the anticipated fiscal effects of an aging population. The report concludes with a number of recommendations designed to overcome the limitations of existing data sources, including adding a question on the birthplace of parents to the American Community Survey and adding a question on parental educational attainment to the Current Population Survey.

Who Will Care for Our Seniors? Comparing the Gap between Available Healthcare Workers and Open Healthcare Jobs
New American Economy, September, 2016, 12 pp.
There are striking healthcare labor shortages in some areas of the country that result in limited access to crucial services for Americans. Meanwhile, the number of senior citizens is projected to more than double by the year 2030. A large share of healthcare workers is already foreign-born and so, given their demonstrated interest in this field, immigrants could play an important role in addressing these workforce challenges. These are the major findings of Who Will Care for Our Seniors? which utilizes data from the 2013 American Community Survey and a labor market analysis firm to show that healthcare, one of the fastest growing sectors, is facing worker shortages all across the nation particularly in rural states. For example, in North Dakota, where about 75 percent of counties are rural, there were 53.8 open jobs for every one unemployed healthcare worker (In the broader economy, the average is 1.3 open jobs for every unemployed worker). Immigrants, who are more likely to be of working age and willing to relocate, could help alleviate gaps like this. The authors recommend reforms that would make it easier to procure foreign healthcare workers including a visa system that would allow cities or states to sponsor immigrant workers to fill critical vacancies in healthcare. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

Culprit or Scapegoat?  Immigration's Effect on Employment and Wages,
Bipartisan Policy Center, June, 2016, 19 pp.
Authors: Kenneth Megan & Theresa Cardinal Brown
This paper sets out to investigate the claim that a recent decrease in labor force participation by native-born Americans is the result of immigrants taking jobs and driving down wages. Between 2000 and 2012, the labor force participation rate of the native born dropped from 67 to 62 percent. According to the authors, this decline can be explained almost entirely by increases in retirement, disability, and school enrollment. Next, the authors explain that a large percentage of immigrants are concentrated in certain industries where there are fewer native-born workers. As the economy recovers from the Great Recession, the authors point out that "foreign-born industries" (industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated) have shown robust growth and are experiencing labor shortages. The industries in which immigrants tend to be concentrated have lower median pay not because immigrants drive down wages, but because they require lesser skills and have lower educational requirements. In the absence of immigrants, it is unlikely that natives-who are more highly educated and thus can command higher pay-would take the place of immigrants. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

Immigrants in Health Care: Keeping Americans Healthy Through Care and Innovation
Immigrant Learning Center & Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, June, 2016, 23 pp.
Authors: Marcia D. Hohn, Justin P. Lowry, James C. Witte, José Ramón Fernández-Pena
Immigrants play an outsized and critical role in the U.S. health care industry, and greater integration of foreign-born and foreign-trained health care workers is crucial to sustaining this fast-growing industry. Combining existing data and profiles of immigrants across the health care spectrum, this report discusses the impact of the foreign-born in health care as a whole and particularly in three subfields: medicine and medical science, long-term care, and nursing. The report finds that although immigrants comprise only 13 percent of the general population, they constitute 22 percent of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, 28 percent of physicians and surgeons, and 40 percent of medical scientists in pharmaceutical manufacturing research and development. Foreign-born health care workers are critical in meeting the demands of the current health care market, which includes shortages of physicians in rural and inner-city areas, a need for cutting-edge medical technology and a growing senior population rapidly diversifying in race and ethnicity. Given the necessary innovation and cultural and linguistic skills immigrants bring to health care, as well as the aging U.S. population and other drivers of the industry, the authors recommend creating provisional visas for home care workers, supporting the Professional Access to Health Workforce Integration Act, and investing in and further developing workforce development programs that support and help integrate immigrant health care professionals. (Crystal Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
The Labor And Output Declines From Removing All Undocumented Immigrants
American Action Forum, May 5, 2016, 21 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Jacqueline Varas
This paper examines how major industries would be impacted if all undocumented immigrant workers were removed from the U.S. The authors use estimates of undocumented workers in each industry developed by the Pew Research Center. They then calculate the number of lawful workers potentially available in each industry to take the place of undocumented workers should they be removed. The authors conclude that, overall, there would be a shortfall of, at a minimum, four million workers in the private sector should all undocumented immigrants be removed. The resulting labor decline would result in a loss of between $381 billion and $623 billion in private sector output, or 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent annually (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).

Undocumented Immigrants' State & Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Updated February 24, 2016, 22 pp.
Authors: Lisa Christensen Gee, Matthews Gardner, & Meg Wiehe
Undocumented immigrants in the United States pay a significant share of their income in state and local taxes and could potentially pay more through implementation of the Obama administration's executive actions or passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Using each state's effective tax rate combined with state population estimates, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy 2016 report Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current and potential tax contributions of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The authors find that undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64 billion in state and local taxes per year, or an average of 8 percent of their income compared to the average nationwide tax rate of only 5.4 percent paid by the top one percent of taxpayers. The authors estimate that full implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs would increase the state and local tax contributions of undocumented immigrants by $805 million annually. Moreover, granting legal status to all undocumented immigrants and allowing them to work legally would boost their tax contributions by $2.1 billion per year (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute).

Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups,
National Foundation for American Policy, March, 2016, 33 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
Immigrants have founded 44 of the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more. Moreover, according to the National Foundation for American Policy brief Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups, at least one immigrant fills a key management or product development position in 71 percent of the startups, particularly chief technology officer, CEO or vice president of engineering. The immigrant-founded startups are collectively worth 168 billion dollars and have created an average of 760 jobs each. The report features profiles of some of the leading entrepreneurs, including Noubar Afeyan of Moderna Therapeutics (Lebanon), Elon Musk of SpaceX (South Africa), and Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics (India). The author emphasizes that the impressive contributions of these entrepreneurs would not have been possible with more restrictive immigration policies, such as those being proposed by certain members of Congress. With current policies such as the low quota on H-1B temporary visas continuing to make immigration and business difficult for potential immigrant entrepreneurs, the author recommends the creation of a startup visa category to encourage future entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the U.S. (Crystal Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform,
Bipartisan Policy Center, May, 2015, 55 pp.
Authors: Matt Graham, Joel Prakken, Theresa Cardinal Brown, & Lazaro Zamora

The Bipartisan Policy Center report Assembling the Pieces: The Economics of Step-by-Step Immigration Reform projects the effects of staggered immigration reform on economic growth and the federal budget by analyzing five reform scenarios. Utilizing publicly available data, estimates by demographic characteristics and assumptions based on U.S. Census methodologies to project changes to economic variables, the study finds that a step-by-step approach can have a positive impact on the economy, but only if the negative effects of over-enforcement are balanced with other policies such as legalization and expanded programs for temporary and high-skilled workers. For instance, over 20 years, an enforcement-only approach would lead to a 1.5 percent decrease in GDP and a $110 billion increase in the federal deficit. A combination of enforcement, legalization, lesser-skilled temporary worker programs and high-skill reform, on the other hand, would increase GDP by 0.5 percent and reduce the deficit by $570 billion. The models run by the Bipartisan Policy Center further show only modest wage effects on existing workers under any reform scenario and suggest that regularly adjusted rather than fixed numerical caps on immigration categories are more likely to meet the economy's changing needs. (Jasmina Popaja for The ILC Public Education Institute)

2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 2015, 47 pp.
Authors:  Robert W. Fairlie, Arnobio Morelix, E.J. Reedy, & Joshua Russell

Immigrants now account for 28.5 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the United States and are almost twice as likely than the native-born to become entrepreneurs (0.52 percent for the foreign-born vs. 0.27 percent for the native-born). The 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity: National Trends presents trends in startup activity over the past two decades at the national level. The authors define and discuss the three components of their Startup Activity Index: the Rate of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of adults becoming entrepreneurs in a given month; the Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs, defined as the percentage of new entrepreneurs driven primarily by "opportunity" vs. "necessity" (and loosely measured by the number of entrepreneurs unemployed prior to business formation); and the Startup Density, measured as the number of startups per 100,000 people. According to the report, startup activity rose in 2014, reversing a five-year downward trend in the United States, although the index remains below historical trends. Driving this growth were increases in the rate of new entrepreneurs for men (0.41 percent in 2014 vs. 0.34 percent in 2013), Latinos (0.46 percent in 2014 vs. 0.38 percent in 2013) and immigrants (0.52 percent in 2014 vs. 0.43 percent in 2013). There was also a small rise in the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs across all demographic groups, especially among men, and a modest increase in the startup density after several years of declining rates. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)

Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, April 16, 2015, 20 pp.
Authors: Matthew Gardner, Sebastian Johnson, & Meg Wiehe

New data on unauthorized immigrants as taxpayers demonstrate how some immigration reform policies will affect tax revenue for state and local governments. Drawing data from the Migration Policy Institute and the Pew Research Center, this report discusses the consequences of two policy reforms: President Obama's executive action to grant work authorization and relief from deportation to almost half of the unauthorized population, up to 5.2 million people, and the effects of implementing a path to legalization for all 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants. The authors report that unauthorized immigrants already make impressive tax contributions: their estimated nationwide average state and local tax rate, which is the share of total income paid in taxes, is 8 percent which is higher than the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers, whose effective tax rate is 5.4 percent. Paying an estimated $11.84 billion in state and local taxes, unauthorized immigrants contribute their share mostly through payroll and income taxes, property tax and sales tax. According to Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions, if all of the undocumented immigrants were granted lawful permanent residence and allowed to work legally, their state and local tax contributions would increase by more than $2.2 billion per year.  The report includes tables showing current and projected state and local tax contributions by undocumented immigrants for all 50 states. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Does Immigration Impact Institutions?
Cato Institute, May 6, 2014, 29 pp.
Authors: J.R. Clark et al

While the economic benefits of immigration are well documented, little research has focused on the impact of immigration on the institutions of host countries. Does Immigration Impact Institutions? examines the hypothesis that immigrants, particularly those from Third World countries, tend to undermine the consensus in support of "economic freedom."  Defining economic freedom as a combination of strong private property rights, a stable economy, and minimal government regulation, and considering other factors such as GDP and the extent of immigrant dependence on government benefits, the study finds that immigrants have a small but beneficial effect on economic freedom regardless of the source country or volume of immigration. The study compares data from the Economic Freedom of World (EFW) report against percentages of countries' immigrant populations, provided by the UN's The International Migrant Stock by Destination and Origin. Between 1990 and 2011, the authors found no evidence that immigrants from either poor or authoritarian countries have a negative effect on economic freedom.  The report does show, however, a small increase in per capita GDP that correlates with a higher flow of immigrants. (Priscilla Moreno for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Ideas that Innovate: State and Local Policies,
WE Global Network, n.d., 35 pp.

An increasing number of Rust Belt communities are introducing initiatives to attract immigrants and maximize their contribution to local economic growth and prosperity.  Ideas that Innovate is a compendium of state and local public policies designed to achieve these goals. Compiled by WE Global Network (formerly Global Great Lakes Network), the paper offers policymakers and economic development specialists an assortment of innovative ideas and models to achieve more welcoming, inclusive and prosperous communities. Separate chapters discuss efforts to enhance the contributions of international students, integrate highly skilled immigrants, establish resident leadership academies, introduce the seal of biliteracy, open state-funded opportunity centers, and establish EB-5 investor visa centers. The paper provides details about each initiative, identifies key stakeholders, and explains where it has worked and why it is important. It also provides resources for action, additional readings and key contacts. (Chiara Magini, The ILC Public Education Institute)

Midwest Diagnosis: Immigration Reform and the Healthcare Sector,
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March, 2016, 22pp.
Author: Nicole Fisher
The supply of native-born health care professionals is not keeping pace with the rising demand for health care workers in the Midwest, especially to serve the rapidly growing elderly population. In a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Nicole Fisher argues that immigrants are the key to the future sustainability and vitality of this sector, but the current immigration system makes it difficult and burdensome for foreign-trained health care professionals to work in the U.S. The problem is especially acute in rural areas. The author recommends a number of reforms, including: issuing visas according to labor force demands, removing quotas and caps on doctors and surgeons, and addressing credentialing challenges for foreign-born professionals. The report also notes that shortages exist among lower-skilled, lower-paid healthcare jobs, such as home health aides. Fisher also recommends allowing uninsured immigrants to access some forms of insurance so that the burden on hospital emergency rooms is eased. She also urges a stepped-up effort to train healthcare professionals to provide linguistically and culturally competent care to the increasingly diverse populations of the Midwest (Karly Foland for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute).

The Budgetary and Economic Costs of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration: Alternative Strategies,
American Action Forum, March 6, 2015, 14 pp.
Authors: Ben Gitis & Laura Collins
Unauthorized immigrants play a significant economic role in the U.S. making up 6.4 percent of the work force. The Budgetary and Economic Cost of Addressing Unauthorized Immigration examines the impact that strict immigration law enforcement would have on the economy. It analyzes the expense of fully enforcing current immigration law, that is, apprehending, detaining, processing and deporting the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. as well as preventing future migrants from unlawfully entering the country. The analysis shows that such enforcement would be costly: the U.S. government and taxpayers would spend up to $600 billion and it would take 20 years to complete. Additionally, deportation of all undocumented immigrants would reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.6 trillion due to of the loss of workers. According to the report, since undocumented immigrants rarely receive governmental assistance, the deportation of 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants would add to, not lessen, the federal budget deficit through loss of tax revenue and relatively unchanged spending. The report concludes that deportation costs for all the undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. are burdensome to taxpayers and harmful to the health of the overall economy. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Hispanic Immigration and US Economic Growth,
IHS Economics, February 2015, 21 pp.

The growth rate of the U.S. economy's labor force will decrease to around 0.6 percent per year from 2020 to 2034 as Baby Boomers continue to retire in large numbers. The purpose of this report is to analyze the future of the U.S. work force, its characteristics and the effect of the Hispanic population on the labor market. The authors suggest that the Hispanic working population, demographically younger and growing more rapidly than other groups, will partially offset the projected dwindling of the non-Hispanic labor force. Drawing on data from IHS Economics, an economics analysis and forecasting firm, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the authors find that only 2.2 percent of the Hispanic work force is aged 65 and over (compared to 5.8 percent of the non-Hispanic workforce) and only 9.8 percent are in the 55 to 64 age group approaching retirement (compared to 17.4 percent of the non-Hispanic). "The Hispanic population will play an increasingly significant role in U.S. labor force growth" as it will account for almost half of the work force expansion over next five years, according to the authors. This study also includes an analysis of economic and social conditions in major Latin American sending countries and the extent to which these countries will continue to supply immigrants to revitalize the U.S. labor market. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes,
The Institute for the Study of Labor, December, 2014, 21 pp.
Authors: Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
This study seeks to measure the labor market effects of granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to foreign-born residents of the U.S.  There are currently about 300,000 foreigners in the U.S. with TPS, which provides a reprieve from deportation and authorization to work in the U.S for the duration of a major crisis in their home country. The authors see the TPS program as a possible predictor of what might happen with the deferred action programs of the Obama Administration. As the largest group of current TPS holders are Salvadoran, and as the current grant of TPS dates back to the Salvadoran earthquakes of 2001, the authors examine the labor market outcomes of two cohorts of Salvadorans, ones who arrived just prior to the earthquake (eligible for TPS), and ones who arrived just after (ineligible and presumably largely undocumented). Men eligible for TPS earn about 13 percent more than those who are not, even if their unemployment rate is somewhat higher (presumably they now have the freedom to shop around for a better-paying job rather than being locked into one form of employment). TPS also drives up the labor force participation rate for lesser-educated Salvadoran women by about 17 percentage points. The authors suggest that "the 2001 TPS for Salvadoran migrants is a potential indicator of how a legalization program that is temporary and does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship would affect beneficiaries."

How Changes in Immigration Policy Might Affect the Federal Budget,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), January, 2015, 38 pp.
This report discusses how changes in immigration legislation might affect portions of the federal budget, including immigrant eligibility for public benefits and the share of  tax revenues derived from immigrants. The report also assesses the budgetary effects of changing the skill and educational profile of the immigrant population, creating more temporary worker programs, and strengthening border security. The report notes that in the future CBO will likely be required by Congress to estimate the macroeconomic effects of immigration reform, e.g. changes in GDP and employment -- something that CBO has traditionally not done. The report doesn't arrive at any conclusions; rather it discusses the complex array of factors that need to be considered in determining the fiscal impact of any piece of immigration-related legislation.

Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow,
Fiscal Policy Institute & Americas Society/Council of the Americas, January, 2015, 38 pp.
Author: David Dyssegaard Kallick
Immigrants were responsible for all of the net growth in Main Street business nationally and in 31 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2013. This is the main finding of a "first-of-its-kind" report that demonstrates the high value of immigrants to local economies, particularly as Main Street business owners, and their importance in building healthy, safe and economically viable neighborhoods. Bringing Vitality to Main Street: How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow uses data from the American Community Survey and Survey of Business Owners to determine that immigrants make up about 13 percent of the general population, 16 percent of the labor force, 18 percent of business owners and 28 percent of Main Street business owners. On Main Street, immigrants are overrepresented in certain types of business; for example, immigrants make up 61 percent of all gas station owners, 58 percent of dry cleaners, 53 percent of grocery store owners, and 38 percent of restaurant owners. The data also show that, between 2000 and 2013, immigrants accounted for 48 percent of overall growth of business ownership in the U.S. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that cities take proactive steps to welcome immigrants and to support their business ventures. The author also conducted in-depth case studies of three metro areas - Philadelphia, Nashville and Minneapolis-St. Paul - and examined their policies and programs aimed at helping immigrants and their businesses. To fully maximize the potential value of immigrants and Main Street businesses, the author recommend establishing a local governmental office to provide overall leadership, creating culturally competent business training, promoting community-based financial assistance, and ensuring that resources and programs are available to all (Jamie Cross for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute). 

Who's Behind the Wheel?  Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry,
Institute fort Immigration Research, George Mason University, December, 2014, 10 pp.
Author: Zahra Sohail Khan
The second in a series of papers entitled, "Immigrants Working for US," this paper examines the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. trucking industry. In 2012, immigrants represented 13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 15.7 percent of the total truck driver workforce. The proportion of immigrant truck drivers was especially high in certain states such as California (46.7 percent), New Jersey (40.4 percent), Florida (32.2 percent), and New York (25.7 percent). Using data from the American Trucking Association and the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the research brief Immigrants Working for US: The Trucking Industry by Zahra Sohail Khan, finds that the trucking industry is the backbone of the U.S. economy, with 70 percent of all the freight tonnage within the country transported via trucks. However the industry experiences chronic worker shortages due to a high turnover rate and an aging native-born workforce. The author suggests that immigrant truck drivers can play a critical role in filling these shortages, but they will need access to English language training to pass commercial licensing exams and an increase in the quota of H-2B visas to allow more immigrants to fill vacancies in the industry (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute).

Immigrants Working for U.S. Pharmaceuticals,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University,  August, 2014, 6 pp.
Authors: Shaun Michel & James Witte
This paper analyzes the role of immigrants in the pharmaceutical industry and is the first in a series about the economic contributions of immigrants in key industries in the United States. In 2011, immigrants represented 13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 17 percent of the workforce in the pharmaceutical industry. The role of immigrants was even more pronounced in pharmaceutical production and distribution, with 26 percent of all positions held by the foreign-born, and in high-skilled occupations, with immigrants representing 33 percent of the research and development workforce and more than 40 percent of the scientists. Among the key findings in the report are: the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is considerably dependent on immigrant labor, especially in key occupations like research and development, production and distribution;  among the 10 top countries of origin for workers in the industry are many emerging pharmaceutical markets; and the U.S. pharmaceutical industry benefits from immigration since it profits from skills and talents which would otherwise be available to its competitors in other countries. (Chiara Magini for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)

Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth?
Manhattan Institute, December, 2014, 18 pp.
Author: Diana Furchtgott-Roth
The author reviews the evidence on whether immigration helps or harms American workers.  The consensus among economists, she reports, is that increased immigration leads to higher economic growth and that immigrants complement rather than displace native-born workers. The publication includes tables showing the concentrations of immigrants and native-born in various industries. The availability of immigrant labor in a particular occupation often opens up job opportunities for native-born Americans in related occupations. The author critiques a recent report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies, which examined New Hampshire's labor market since 2000 and concluded that immigration reduced work opportunities for native-born Americans. Among the errors and conceptual flaws in this study were: not taking into account New Hampshire residents working in neighboring states, counting Massachusetts workers who move to New Hampshire as "immigrants," and confusing people who are "not employed" with "unemployed." The publication concludes by urging Congress to undertake major reforms of our immigration system, using the 2013 Senate Immigration bill as a starting point. "A large body of economic literature and government data, of which this paper offers a snapshot, leaves little doubt that immigration is not the cause of the country's current economic woes - but is rather part of the cure to the faster economic growth that the U.S. urgently needs."
New American Investors Making a Difference in the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center, September 30, 2014, 9 pp.
EB-5, the Immigration Investor Program managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), contributed $2.6 billion to the GDP, supported 33,000 jobs and created $346 million in federal tax revenue between 2010 and 2011. New American Investors Making a Difference in the Economy discusses the unique nature of EB-5 as a visa program whose purpose is to create jobs and economic growth. Through interviews with industry experts, the report describes the evolution of EB-5 from its initial phase as an underused program to its more recent growth and expansion to approximately 400 regional centers.  In its early years, the EB- 5 program suffered from problems that included a lax regulatory framework, low utilization and fraudulent investment schemes. The report discusses the many factors that contributed to the resurgence of the program including the creation of regional centers, which offered models for economic growth. Vermont, for instance, created a successful model for a state-government-owned, -operated and -managed EB-5 program. In Pennsylvania and California, regional centers collaborated with non-profit development agencies to fuel job creation. EB-5 has also become a more popular and reliable way to obtain residency in the U.S. Between 2005-2012, approval percentages have increased from 53% to an average of 81% for conditional petitioners. The report argues that the EB-5 program is a crucial tool for economic growth in the U.S. and must be managed with proper oversight in order for its impact to be maximized. (Miguel Colon for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.'s Public Education Institute)

Selling Visas and Citizenship:  Policy Questions from the Global Boom in Investor Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Madeleine Sumption & Kate Hooper
For more than 30 years, governments around the world have offered permanent residence visas to persons willing to make substantial investments in local economies. This report describes the wide variety of such programs, assesses their economic impact, and discusses some of their unanticipated, and often troubling, consequences. The authors note that there are two general types of qualifying investments: private sector and payments to governments. The former are the only option in countries like the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands; the latter are found in some of the Caribbean Islands, and in countries like the UK and Australia that offer both options. Immigrant investors often come from emerging economies like China or countries experiencing political or economic instability. Chinese investors dominate programs in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Russian investors seem to favor Europe. The authors note that countries vary widely in their residence requirements, with some countries having no or minimal residence requirements, e.g. Bulgaria and Hungary have none, and others requiring more substantial residence periods, e.g. the U.S. requires physical presence for more than half of the five year waiting period for citizenship. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of steps that have been taken by governments to ensure that investor programs are not used for money laundering purposes. The authors note that the current situation is quite fluid, with some governments scaling back their programs due to skepticism about their economic benefit, but others establishing programs for the first time.
Staying Covered:  How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors,
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2014, 22 pp.
Authors:  Leah Zallman
Immigrants not only have paid into Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund at a higher level than they've drawn from it but also have contributed significantly to its solvency so as to benefit more Americans for a longer period of time. This is the major finding of Staying Covered:  How Immigrants Have Prolonged the Solvency of One of Medicare's Key Trust Funds and Subsidized Care for U.S. Seniors. The report analyzes 1996 to 2011 data from the Current Population Survey and the Medicare Expenditure Panel Survey to show the impact immigrants have had on Medicare's HI Trust Fund, which covers hospital and home health care for 50 million senior and disabled Americans. This Fund is of particular importance given America's fast-aging population. The findings show that from 1996 to 2011, immigrants contributed $182.4 billion more to the Fund than was expended on their behalf while the U.S.-born population generated a deficit of $68.7 billion. Without immigrant contributions to the Fund it would reach insolvency faster disrupting the care of millions of Americans. Given that immigrants are more likely to be of working age, often migrate with the intent to work and have a higher rate of labor force participation, the author suggests that increasing the numbers of working-age immigrants would augur well for America's future wellbeing.  (Denzil Mohammed)

Immigrant Fact Sheets,
Americas Society & Council of the Americas (AS/COA), February, 2013 to June, 2014.
These fact sheets (currently 10 in number), produced by the Immigration and Integration Initiative of AS/COA, summarize available research on the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy and explain "why comprehensive immigration reform is necessary for future U.S. competitiveness."  Each fact sheet gives "five reasons" for a specific claim about immigration, including: why the U.S. economy needs immigrants, why the U.S. labor force needs immigrants, why immigrants drive entrepreneurship and job creation, why immigrants are critical for the housing market, why the U.S.-Mexico border is critical to the economy, why immigrants are critical for the agricultural sector, why immigrants are vital for the future of the U.S. health care industry, why immigrants make cities more economically competitive, why immigrants contribute to safer communities, and why immigrants drive the essential economy.

Immigrants and the Medical Profession: Good for our Health,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, Research Brief, May, 2014, 8 pp.
Author: Zara Sohail Khan
The American Medical Association estimates that "International Medical Graduates (IMGs)" constitute almost 27 percent of the physician workforce in the U.S. This research brief argues that they perform a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system, serving in disproportionate numbers as "generalists" in fields such as internal medicine and pediatrics and practicing in underserved areas, where the physician to population ratio is low. The author predicts that the U.S. will need even greater numbers of IMGs in the future, as the percentage of insured Americans increases under the Affordable Care Act and as the U.S. population continues to grow.  Immigration reform should take this need into account by allowing greater numbers of IMGs to enter and remain in the U.S. "What would America have done if these International Medical Graduates never came? It's time we realize that they are the future doctors of America."

The Increasing Importance of Immigrants to Science and Engineering in America,
National Foundation for American Policy, June, 2014, 21 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson
The United States has benefitted enormously from foreign-born talent, particularly since 1965 when the U.S. eliminated major restrictions on immigration and opened the door to immigrants from Asia. In fact, the data show that the country's success in innovation, academia and high-skilled fields is linked to its more open immigration policy. This is the contention of Stuart Anderson in the brief "The Increasing Importance of Immigrants to Science and Engineering in America." Using data from a variety of sources, Anderson shows that lifting major restrictions in immigration law in the mid-1960s has had a positive effect on many areas of American life. For example, the number of foreign-born immigrants winning Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics jumped after the 1960s. The same trend can be seen in foreign-born PhDs working in science and engineering occupations, which grew from 23 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2010. At the nation's top 7 cancer research centers, 42 percent of researchers are foreign-born. The increased number of high-skilled, foreign-born entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S. has contributed to new jobs, technology, growth and innovation. These findings suggest that restrictive immigration policies such as those of the early 20th century have detrimental effects on the nation's ability to innovate, create jobs and expand markets. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)

Identifying And Measuring the Lifelong Human Capital of "Unskilled" Migrants in the Mexico-US Migratory Circuit,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2:2 (2014),24 pp.
Authors: Jacqueline Hagan & Jean Luc Demonsant
In this article, the authors argue that "unskilled" migrants develop skills over time and can be valuable assets to the receiving country should immigration policies take these "informal skills"  into greater account. Through a bi-national research project that did interviews with 320 Mexican return migrants, the authors examine the idea that while many migrants are "unskilled" in terms of the formal human capital they bring to the U.S. migratory circuit, the creation of human capital is a lifelong process often "learned away from the classroom."  For the immigrants interviewed, these included not only learning basic English but also technical skills, occupational mobility and entrepreneurship.  As a result, the authors conclude that traditional U.S. immigration policy, which values "skilled" over "unskilled" immigrants, needs to be reevaluated in terms of its definition of "skilled" within a life-long human capital framework. Policy should, according to the authors, match immigrant abilities to specific needs to the US economy. Similarly, the authors suggest that the Mexican government should recognize the potential economic contributions that "return migrants" could bring to the Mexican economy.(Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public Education Institute)

High-Skilled Workers and Twentieth-First Century Innovation: The H-1B Program's Impact on Wages, Jobs, and the Economy
Immigration Policy Center, April, 2014, 8 pp.
This paper serves as a short primer on the H-1B visa program and relies on data and analyses from sources such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and The Brookings Institution to "debunk the most prevalent myths" about the program.  For instance, the report finds that H-1B workers do not harm job opportunities for, or depress the wages of, native-born workers. On the contrary, overall wages in high-demand STEM fields are growing, and H1-1B-driven increases in STEM workers were associated with increases in the wages of U.S.-born counterparts. Moreover, H-1B workers are generally paid more than their non-H-1B counterparts within the same occupations for workers with similar experience. Furthermore, highly skilled immigrants complement their native-born peers rather than substituting for them as evidenced by the low unemployment rate in the STEM fields, which garner two-thirds of all successful H-1B applicants. The paper urges expansion of the H-1B visa program, an increase in permanent visas for STEM workers, and strengthening  STEM training for native-born workers to meet 21st-century demands. (Denzil Mohammed)

Better Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S Economy,
Partnership for a New American Economy & the Latino Donor Collaborative, April, 2014, 34 pp.
Hispanic Americans have increased their rates of self-employment over the past three decades and, as a result, helped prevent worse economic fallout during the recent recession. These are the major findings of Better Business: How Hispanic Entrepreneurs Are Beating Expectations and Bolstering the U.S. Economy. The report uses data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners to show that Hispanic Americans are turning to entrepreneurship at a rate that outstrips both their birth rate and the non-Hispanic self-employment rate. For instance, the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs rose from 577,000 to more than two million between 1990 and 2012, which is 18 times faster than the growth of non-Hispanic American entrepreneurs. Among Hispanic immigrants, entrepreneurship growth more than quadrupled particularly among immigrants from Mexico. Such high rates of entrepreneurship were seen even during the recession when the national unemployment rate would have increased by 0.4 percent without the jobs created by Hispanic-owned businesses. The report profiles several successful Hispanic American entrepreneurs whose businesses have had significant economic impact on their communities. The data and profiles underscore the rising importance of Hispanic Americans although the authors note the lack of political support for measures to help Hispanics grow their businesses. (Denzil Mohammed)

Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Cathy Yang Liu, Gary Painter, & Qingfang Wang
Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs examines the importance and impact of high-tech entrepreneurship at local and regional levels and suggests what cities and metros can do to attract and nurture foreign-born entrepreneurs. Using American Community Survey data, the report finds spatial, industry and growth differences between foreign- and native-born entrepreneurs.  Immigrant-owned high-tech businesses, for example, are more concentrated in a limited number of industries, such as computer sciences and medical- and pharmaceutical-related fields, whereas U.S.-born entrepreneurs are more evenly distributed across all high-tech sectors.  The data show the increasing importance of high-tech immigrant workers and entrepreneurs in buttressing local innovation economies. Immigrants now make up 20 percent of the high-tech workforce and 17.3 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs, up from 13.7 percent and 13.5 percent in 2000.The study also examines the factors that explain the clustering of immigrant entrepreneurs in particular metropolitan areas.  High-tech immigrant entrepreneurs are drawn to areas of high ethnic diversity that already boast large immigrant populations and which are culturally open to new people and ideas. The data show that 80 percent of immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs are found in the largest 25 metropolitan areas -- one-third in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco alone -- compared with 57 percent of U.S.-born entrepreneurs. (Denzil Mohammed)

No Longer Home Grown: How Labor Shortages are Increasing America's Reliance on Imported Fresh Produce and Slowing U.S. Economic Growth,
Partnership for a New American Economy  & the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, March, 2014, 27 pp.
Author: Stephen Bronars
As U.S. consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has risen, driven by a health-conscious public and the movement to locally source agricultural products, the percentage of these crops produced abroad has increased. Although free trade agreements may account for part of this trend, this report suggests that the shortage of agricultural labor is forcing many farmers to shift from labor intensive crops (fruits and vegetables) to less labor intensive crops like cereal grains, which can be harvested mechanically.  As this transition occurs, the skills involved in producing fruits and vegetables are lost. "Had U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable growers been able to maintain the domestic market share they held from 1998-2000, their communities would have enjoyed a substantial economic boost, resulting in an estimated $4.9 billion in addition farming income and 89,300 more jobs in 20112 alone. The increase in production necessary to stave off a growing reliance on imports would also have raised U.S. Gross Domestic Product by almost $12.4 billion that year."  The report urges passage of immigration reform bills similar to the one passed by the Senate in 2013, which would allow as many as 300,000 additional temporary farm workers during periods of high labor market need.

The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship: Evidence from Europe and North America
Center for American Progress, January, 2014, 43 pp.
Authors: Pieter Bevelander & Don J. DeVoretz
This paper builds on a body of research showing the economic benefits of citizenship for immigrants.  After reviewing this research, the authors examine the experience of other countries in Europe and North America with legalization programs and classify countries into three types: those with high citizenship premiums (e.g. Canada); those with moderate citizenship premiums (Germany); and those with low citizenship premiums (The Netherlands and Norway).  Their purpose is to identify the specific policies and procedures that seem to produce the maximum economic gain in the form of higher wages, greater social capital acquisition, greater consumption, and higher tax revenues. The size of the gain depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes to naturalize (longer waits delay positive impacts), the occupational profile of the immigrant population (lower skilled people show higher gains); whether dual citizenship is tolerated; and the nature of the barriers encountered in the process, e.g. high fees and unrealistic native language requirements deter people from applying.  The authors conclude that the current 13-year path to citizenship in the Senate immigration bill is far from ideal (a five-year wait seems to produce the best results from an economic standpoint). "Given that 13 years is already far longer than the optimal period, lengthening the pathway any further will only further diminish (economic) returns."  The authors also question the fees and penalties associated with the Senate pathway to citizenship, which will likely deter or prevent many people from applying.

Immigration and Entrepreneurship,
Institute for the Study of Labor, October, 2013, 56 pp
Authors: Robert W. Fairlie & Magnus Lofstrom
This paper provides an overview of economics research on immigrant entrepreneurship in the U.S. The authors begin by tracing the "large contributions" that immigrant entrepreneurs have made to the American economy. The paper also explores differences in entrepreneurship rates and type among various immigrant groups and the factors that produce such differences. The authors also explore whether immigrant entrepreneurship has had negative consequences for groups of U.S.-born workers.  Looking at data from the American Community Survey and the Survey of Business Owners, among other sources, the report finds that business ownership among immigrants (11 percent) is higher than that among native-born Americans (9.6 percent). Indeed, 18.2 percent of all businesses are owned by immigrants although they constitute only 13 percent of population. However, immigrant-owned businesses have lower average earnings than native-owned businesses and their contributions are higher in states with large immigrant concentrations such as California, where immigrants own 37 percent of all businesses. There are higher entrepreneurship rates among some groups than others, such as Koreans, Iranians and Brazilians. Overall, Asian immigrants have a higher entrepreneurship rate and better business performance than other groups. In offering such a sweeping portrait, the report also identifies the following gaps in research:  how immigrant-owned businesses contribute to job creation, how they stimulate U.S. exports, and the connection between immigrant entrepreneurship and innovations in design and manufacturing. (Denzil Mohammed)

Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budgets, and Housing,
Bipartisan Policy Center, October, 2013, 35 pp
In this economic modeling study funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center presents five distinct immigration policy scenarios and projects their effects on the overall economy, housing and wages, and the federal deficit.  The reference case  is based on the 2013 Senate-passed immigration bill (S.744). The report finds that the Senate bill would increase economic growth by 4.8 percent over a 20-year period, lower the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the same period, increase demand for housing, raise wages, and increase the size of the labor force by 4.4 percent by the year 2033, thereby offsetting the aging of the native-born workforce. The study explores a variety of alternate scenarios, such as greater shifting from family to employment based visa categories, lower reductions in unauthorized immigration, lower wage gains for legalized immigrants, and an "enforcement only" approach. The later scenario was the only one that produced negative economic consequences, reducing GDP growth by almost 6 percent over a 20-year period. In some cases, "the results of the modeling indicate opportunities to improve the economic performance of the reference case as well as policy areas that would benefit from further analysis." Rebecca Talent, newly appointed immigration advisor to House Speaker John Boehner was the Director of Immigration Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center during the time that this report was prepared. (Denzil Mohammed)

Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions,
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, July, 2013,
9 pp.
This brief outlines the tax benefits of legalizing undocumented immigrants in the U.S.  Utilizing data from the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Congressional Budget Office, the report finds that legalization would increase the taxpaying power of these immigrants by about $2 billion. "The most significant revenue gain [would come] from simply having these immigrants fully participate in the federal, state and local tax system." Currently, the authors point out, the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $10.6 billion in taxes. The report includes a table showing current and projected tax contributions for all 50 states. California would gain the most (an increase of $327,118,000), Illinois would gain $149,565,000, and New Jersey $81,240,000. An appendix provides state-by-state breakdowns of the current and post-reform effective tax rates, as well as totals for sales, property and income taxes paid by undocumented immigrants. (Denzil Mohammed)

A Tale of Two Cities (and a Town): Immigrants in the Rust Belt,
Bread for the World Institute, Briefing Paper, October, 2013, 15 pp.
Author: Andrew Wainer
Far from the traditional gateway cities of America, immigrants are revitalizing Rust Belt cities and rural communities with outsized economic contributions. This is the thesis of  Andrew Wainer's study of how largely lower-skilled immigrants in three communities: Baltimore, Detroit, and West Liberty (Iowa) are reversing (or slowing) population decline and stimulating entrepreneurial activity. Using semi-structured interviews with 78 key informants, the author paints a picture that complements the familiar portrait of high-skilled immigrants helping to boost local economies. Wainer also draws on data from the Fiscal Policy Institute on immigrant economic activity in the 25 largest Metro Areas. This data shows that Baltimore and Detroit have the highest ratio of foreign-born entrepreneurs to natives of all 25 areas. High ratios also exist for other Rust Belt cities such as St. Louis and Pittsburgh. In Baltimore, for example, the foreign-born represent nine percent of the population and 21 percent of entrepreneurs. The data also indicate that immigrant neighborhoods have higher rates of employment and more neighborhood businesses per resident than non-immigrant neighborhoods. The author concludes with a number of recommendations designed to further boost the economic impact of immigration, including regularizing the status of the undocumented, thereby allowing them to fully participate in and contribute to their communities.  (Denzil Mohammed)

Broken Borders: Government, Foreign-Born Workers, and the U.S. Economy,
The Independent Institute, September 16, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Benjamin Powell & Zachary Gochenour
According to the Independent Institute, a California-based libertarian think tank, "The U.S. government interferes with the market for foreign laborers by restricting the number and mix of immigrants and setting tight quantitative limits on foreign-born guest workers. This has created a mismatch between the demand for foreign workers from U.S. businesses and their supply, directly leading to the illegal immigration situation we confront today."  While welcoming the "marginal improvements" in visa availability made in the Senate immigration bill, the Institute also propose the creation of a "Red Card" system, to be managed by a network of private employment agencies with offices in foreign countries. Such a system would not limit the number of guest workers allowed to enter the U.S.  Instead, "Market forces would be harnessed to dictate the quantity and distribution of guest workers, across industries, geographic space, and time." The balance of the paper argues for the eventual elimination of all governmental restrictions on global migration. Just as free trade in goods and services has led to great economic gains, so too, the paper argues, will free movement of people increase world prosperity. However, tearing down barriers to migration must also be accompanied by "building a wall around the U.S. welfare state" and denying immigrants access to taxpayer-financed public education.

Understanding the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration Reform: A Guide to Current Studies and Possible Expansions
Urban Institute, November, 2013, 20 pp.
Authors: Maria E. Enchautegui, Stephan Lindner, Erika C. Poethig
After the publication of at least ten studies in 2013 dealing with the economic effects of immigration reform -- each with significant differences in scope, methodology, and conclusions - the Urban Institute decided that it was time "to take stock of these studies' methods, critical assumptions, and strengths and limitations - and then create a guide to help readers evaluate what's being said." Six studies were selected for in-depth analysis: three measuring economic impact (Immigration Policy Center, Center for American Progress, and Congressional Budget Office), and three measuring net fiscal impacts (Heritage Foundation, National Research Council, and Congressional Budget Office). The guide includes useful tables permitting comparison of the main features of the six reports.  The authors identify the questionable assumptions that drive "the relatively high economic benefits" of the IPC and CAP studies.  They also explain why the fiscal impact studies produce results that range from positive to negative. For example, studies may use different time horizons or they may include or exclude impacts on state and local governments. The Guide concludes by pointing out that, despite the plethora of studies, important gaps in our understanding remain, including the benefits of immigrant reforms to workers already residing in the country, and modelling the costs and benefits of providing benefits to newly legalized workers sooner than the 13-year waiting period in the Senate bill.

Immigration and the Revival of American Cities: From Preserving Manufacturing Jobs to Strengthening the Housing Market,
Partnership for a New American Economy & Americas Society/Council of the Americas,
September, 2013, 31 pp.
Author: Jacob L. Vigdor

This report argues that immigrants have a significant, mostly positive impact on the American communities in which they settle. It uses U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to examine more than 3,000 counties between 1970 and 2010 to measure immigration's impact on the number of middle-class manufacturing jobs, the health of the housing market, and the size of the local U.S.-born population. The report finds that immigrants have contributed to community vitality in significant and myriad ways including job creation, neighborhood revitalization, boosting civic engagement and raising housing prices. The data show that:
--For every 1,000 immigrants living in a county, 46 manufacturing jobs are created or preserved;
--For every 1,000 immigrants that arrive to a county, 270 U.S.-born residents move there in response;
--The average immigrant who moves to a community raises the total value of housing wealth by $92,800;
--More than 800,000 foreign-born U.S. residents have served in the armed forces;
--The immigrant entrepreneurship rate is as much as three times higher than average; and,
--These contributions extend to rural communities and urban centers alike.
The author estimates that 100,000 more new immigrants per year would create or preserve 4,600 American manufacturing jobs and grow U.S. housing wealth by $80 billion annually. (Denzil Mohammed)

What We Know about Diasporas and Economic Development,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 13 pp.
Authors  Kathleen Newland & Sonia Plaza

This policy brief provides an overview of the many ways, beyond remittances, that diasporas stimulate development in their home countries. Governments in both home countries and developing countries, as well as international organizations, are devoting increasing attention to the role played by diasporas in promoting trade, direct investments, and the transfer of knowledge and skills. In 2013, the International Organization for Migration held the first-ever global conference of diaspora minister, which attracted over 500 delegates.  Among examples of diaspora investment and knowledge transfers cited in the report are: the role of overseas Chinese in financing China's emergence as a manufacturing powerhouse; the role of the Indian diaspora in helping to develop the information technology sector in India; the ChileGlobal initiative of the government of Chile; and hospital construction and healthcare training projects in Ghana and Ethiopia carried out with support from diasporas in Europe and the Americas.  Developed countries also benefit through the trade ties fostered by their diasporas.The report notes that governments in developing countries sometimes have a hard time measuring "diaspora direct investment," as distinct from all foreign direct investment.  The authors conclude by noting that there are a "number of critical ingredients" in a successful diaspora strategy. "These include identifying goals, mapping diaspora location and skills, fostering a relationship of trust with the diaspora, maintaining sophisticated means of communication with the diaspora, and ultimately creating opportunities and clearing obstacles for diasporas to contribute to national development."

What Do We Know about Skilled Migration and Development?
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2013, 11 pp.
Author: Michael A. Clemens

As the worldwide volume of skilled migration grows, how concerned should policymakers be about the "brain drain" in developing countries? According to Michael A. Clemens, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of this policy brief, recent research challenges the widespread assumption of negative impact. This brief, the third in a nine-brief series prepared by MPI in advance of the UN General Assembly's High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (held on October 3-4, 2013), suggests that the emigration of skilled professionals has important benefits for sending countries, including seeding new industries in, and transferring technologies to, developing countries; encouraging greater investments in education in these countries (more students pursue education knowing there is a migration option); and raising the level of remittances ("more educated migrants in general remit greater amounts to their countries of origin than do less skilled migrants"). Moreover, "the research literature contains no example of an accepted case where forcing people to reside in one geographic area, against their demonstrated will, has caused development there."  Indeed, countries with low rates of skilled emigration tend to have poor development outcomes. Clemens also questions the wisdom of pursuing "self-sufficiency" in any industry, implying as it does a goal of zero net migration. "Rather than try to build an immobile world," Clemens argues, "policymakers should plan for an increasingly mobile world." The policy brief concludes with several recommendations, including new research to assess the effectiveness of bilateral agreements to facilitate a mutually beneficial skill flow, and experimentation with ways to shift the cost of skilled migrant's education away from taxpayers in origin countries and to beneficiaries in receiving countries.

Fixing our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship,
The Executive Office of the President, August, 2013,
13 pp.

Failing to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. would result in significant economic costs, according to this report from the White House.  The report argues that a "legalization only" approach, which would allow people to legally work in the U.S. but not to acquire citizenship, would greatly limit the economic benefits of immigration reform.  Summarizing available research from a variety of sources, the report finds that citizenship would not only benefit immigrants themselves, but also the larger economy. For instance, one study, contrasting citizenship with legal status alone, found that the latter would result in $568 billion less GDP over 10 years and $321 billion less total income. In addition, an estimated 820,000 fewer total jobs would be created, and federal and state governments would lose out on $75 billion in additional tax revenue. Much of this potential loss, the report suggests, stems from the fact that citizenship provides not only the means to more actively participate in American society but also a "greater certainty" in the future which leads to greater investments in education and training and greater willingness to take the risk of starting a business.  (Denzil Mohammed)

Key Components of Immigration Reform: An Analysis of the Economic Effects of Creating a Pathway to Legal Status, Expanding High-Skilled Visas, & Reforming Lesser-Skilled Visas,
Regional Economic Models, Inc, July 17, 2013, 29 pp.
Authors: Frederick R. Treyz, Corey Stottlemyer, Rod Motamedi
This study finds that key components of the proposed comprehensive immigration reform package passed by the Senate in June of 2013 would produce substantial economic gains for the nation, including an increase in GDP and job creation.  Building on the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the Senate bill, the authors use a PI+ multiregional macroeconomic model to determine the effect of three components of the bill on the national and state economies over the next 30 years. If passed by the House, a pathway to legal status would create 594,000 new net U.S. jobs, boost GDP by $49.93 billion and increase personal income by $109 billion by 2018; an expansion of H-1B visas would net 1.3 million more jobs by 2045 and a GDP increase of $158 billion; and reforming low-skilled visa programs would generate 365,000 new jobs by 2045 and an increase in GDP of $31 billion. The authors use a "conservative" methodology in arriving at their estimates and differentiate between the economic benefits to immigrants and the gains to the broader U.S. population The study also includes a series of state-level briefs on the impact of these policy reforms. (
Denzil Mohammed)

American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy,
National Venture Capital Association, 2013, 30 pp.
Author: Stuart Anderson

Immigrant-founded venture-backed companies are creating jobs and strengthening the U.S. economy at a fast-increasing rate according to a report from the National Venture Capital Association. A follow-up to a 2006 report, "American Made 2.0: How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy" analyzes the Thomson Reuters database of publicly traded U.S. companies to show a marked increase in the economic influence of immigrant founders: between 2006 and 2012, immigrants started 33 percent of venture-backed companies that became publicly traded compared to 20 percent before 2006 and seven percent before 1980. Venture-backed, publicly traded, immigrant-founded companies have a total market capitalization of $900 billion, a stock exchange value that equates to the 16th largest economy in the world. The majority of these companies can be found in high-tech manufacturing, IT and life sciences, and their founders are most likely to come on an employment-based visa from India, Taiwan and Israel. Furthermore, according to its survey on immigrant entrepreneurs and immigration policy, venture capital members believe "U.S. immigration laws for skilled professionals harm American competitiveness." Respondents said immigration policy reform must be more favorable to foreign-born entrepreneurs, high-skilled workers and people wanting permanent residency. (Denzil Mohammed)

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the U.S. Economy in Growing Industries,
The Immigrant Learning Center, April, 2013, 50 pp.
Author: James Jennings

The thesis of this report is that immigrants play an outsized role in growing specific industries relative to their presence in the general population, often expanding markets that previously did not exist. The report examines the immigrant contribution to three mid- to high-growth industry sectors: transportation, food, and building services.  The report grew out of a 2010 conference on "Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts" which developed the concept of an "immigrant entrepreneurship ecology" and suggested that these non-tech sectors may be crucial in growing the green economy.  Using Census data and in-depth interviews with 10 business owners and industry players in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, the report finds that the three sectors are experiencing significant revenue and job growth, thanks to the substantial presence of immigrants both as entrepreneurs and workers. For example, immigrants represent 67.4 percent of workers and 74.0 percent of entrepreneurs in Waste Management and Remediation Service; they also constitute 48.9 percent of workers and 62.8 percent of entrepreneurs in Taxi and Limousine Service. The report concludes with a series of recommendations designed to enhance the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to the overall economy, including funneling more start-up capital to immigrant entrepreneurs, integrating them into business associations and chambers of commerce, and building bridges between them and environmental groups. (Denzil Mohammed)
The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants,
Center for American Progress, March 20, 2013, 17 pp.
Authors: Robert Lynch & Patrick Oakford
The authors of this study analyze the 10-year economic impacts of immigration reform under three scenarios: first, legal status and citizenship are both granted to the undocumented in 2013; second, the unauthorized are provided legal status in 2013 and are able to earn citizenship five years thereafter; and  third, the unauthorized are granted legal status in 2013 but without a path to citizenship within the 10-year time frame of the study. Under the first scenario, GDP would grow by $1.4 trillion; combined federal, state, and local tax revenues would increase by $184 billion; and an average of 203,000 jobs would be created per year; over the 10-year period between 2013 and 2022. Delaying citizenship would reduce economic benefits, but even legalization alone without citizenship would yield GDP growth of $832 billion. The authors review the reasons why legalization and citizenship produces income gains for immigrants and benefits for the economy as a whole. The study suggests that unauthorized immigrants are currently earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes and contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they potentially could. (Denzil Mohammed)

US Economic Competitiveness at Risk: A Midwest Call to Action on Immigration Reform
Independent Task Force, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2013, 54 pp.
Lead Writer: Tamar Jacoby

Frustrated by long-term federal inaction on immigration reform, an independent, 44-member task force assembled by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs asserts that increased immigration is critical to the economic competitiveness of the U.S. as a whole and the Midwest region in particular. Capping a 15-month initiative to enhance public understanding of immigration and its importance to the Midwest, the task force’s report makes clear that “the nation’s broken immigration system is holding back the region’s economic growth and clouding its future.” The report asserts that “the US workforce alone is not educated enough to sustain a globally competitive knowledge economy.” Moreover, low-skilled workers are needed to fuel the industrial restructuring happening across the region, including the depletion of native-born population in rural areas. The task force develops the rationale and outlines the principles for sound immigration policy and concludes that, without increased immigration at both the high- and low-skilled ends of the labor spectrum, the Midwest will continue its population and economic decline. This need for immigrants includes a “world-class skilled workforce,” entrepreneurs, students in the STEM fields, a seasonal workforce and legal entry for low-skilled workers, a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, immigrant integration initiatives and better tools for employers to verify the work eligibility of new employees. (Denzil Mohammed)

Are Foreign Students the ‘Best and Brightest'?
Economic Policy Institute, February 28, 2013, 28 pp.
Author: Norman Matloff

This study seeks to test the claim  that foreign students graduating from American universities and granted temporary visas under the H-1B program are the "best and brightest." The author finds that the tech industry's "genius" claims for this group are not supported by the available data. "Compared to Americans of the same education and age, the former foreign students turn out to be weaker than, or at most comparable to, the Americans in terms of salary, patent applications, Ph.D. dissertation awards, and quality of the doctoral program in which they studied." Moreover, these workers are crowding out
Americans from STEM fields, causing an "internal brain drain," as U.S. citizens and permanent residents seek higher salaries in other fields.  The author is adamantly opposed to any policy that would grant automatic green cards to foreign STEM students studying at American universities. Instead, the author would increase the number of visas awarded in the EB-1 category, for "foreign nationals of extraordinary ability." He would also close loopholes in the definition of what constitutes a "qualified" worker under the existing H-1B program.

Immigrants are Makers, Not Takers,
Center for American Progress, February 8, 2013, 8 pp.
Authors:  Marshall Fitz, Philip E. Wolgin, & Patrick Oakford
This policy brief critiques two studies produced by restrictionist groups that claim that immigrants take more out of the system than they pay into it. The first study, produced by the Heritage Foundation in 2007, argues that legalizing undocumented immigrants would cost taxpayers "at least 2.6 trillion." The second study, produced by the Center for Immigration Studies in 2011, claims that immigrants (both documented and undocumented) use more in welfare benefits than native households. The first report derives its cost estimate from Social Security and Medicare costs for legalized aliens without taking into consideration tax contributions of immigrants during their lifetimes. The report also disregards other research showing that immigrants receive less in Social Security benefits than the native-born. The second report, according to the authors, manipulated the data by excluding immigrant households without children and by not controlling for differences in income levels. Indeed, other recent studies point to comparable, if not lower, rates of welfare utilization among legal immigrants than among the native-born population. The policy brief also includes capsule summaries of recent research showing that immigrants are "makers, not takers."

Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labor Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central America,
Wilson Center & Migration Policy Institute, February, 2013, 31 pp.
Authors: Philip Martin & J. Edward Taylor
This report examines how changing policy, agriculture, education and economic conditions are affecting the availability of immigrant farm labor in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Prepared by University of California (Davis) researchers for the Migration Policy Institute, the report uses data from a variety of sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Department of Homeland Security and Global Agricultural Trade System to examine changes in the volume and composition of production, the supermarket revolution in Latin America, and regional trends in training and education. The authors find that there has been a drop in U.S. farm labor participation by Mexicans. The economic slowdown north of the border coupled with a fast-rising agricultural sector and competitive wages south of the border has resulted in a decrease in Mexican farm labor not only in the U.S. but also in Mexico itself, where Guatemalans have stepped in to fill labor gaps. According to the authors, "there is evidence that the supply of farm labor in the region is decreasing and that, in the future, farmers throughout the region will find themselves competing for a dwindling number of local farm workers." This shortage may require that farmers cast a much wider net, perhaps recruiting for farm labor in Asia, but in the process raising the cost of production and thereby creating incentives for further mechanization.
(Denzil Mohammed)

Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (University of Southern California),
December, 2012, 28 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor & Justin Scoggins
The purpose of this study is to determine whether citizenship, in and of itself, leads to observed income gains for immigrants, or whether other characteristics of naturalized immigrants, such as English-speaking ability, a "go-getter" attitude,  or country of origin, account for these gains. The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various methodological approaches to answering this question and review earlier studies seeking to unravel the economic impact of naturalization. Conducting a multivariate regression analysis on a sample size of 183,000 drawn from the 2010 American Community Survey, the authors estimate an 8 to 11 percent gain in individual earnings resulting from naturalization alone.  By reducing the number of eligible non-naturalized by half over five years, they further estimate an indirect benefit of at least $37 billion in GDP gain. The authors review recent efforts to promote naturalization, including microloan programs in Illinois and Maryland, and suggest a lowering of naturalization fees to remove financial disincentives to apply. They conclude that "encouraging naturalization is not just the right thing to do; it is an economic imperative in a nation still working to emerge from the shadow of recession.

Digital Diaspora: How Immigrants Are Capitalizing on Today's Technology,
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, November, 2012, 37 pp.
The Center describes this report as "a first-of-its-kind portrait about mobile technology usage among immigrants." The report is based on a non-randomized sample of 118 adult immigrants in the Philadelphia area who responded to the Center's survey on cell phone use. Their responses were compared against data on general cell phone in the U.S. as reported by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report finds that immigrants "have embraced mobile technology to an extraordinary degree." In some cases, immigrants arrive in the U.S. having greater familiarity with mobile technology than the average American. As might be expected, international calling and Skype usage are much greater among immigrants than the general population, but so are texting (95 percent vs. 73 percent), online purchasing (35 percent vs. 20 percent), updating social media (65 percent vs. 59 percent), uploading videos or audios (47 percent vs. 22 percent), and uploading photos (62 percent vs. 22 percent). The report provides many examples of how smart phones are used by immigrants to bolster small business ventures, often involving contacts with friends or relatives in other countries. Mobile technology also enables immigrants or their relatives abroad to participate in weddings, funerals, graduations, and other important events. In addition, immigrants are using their phones as "creative learning tools" helping them, for example, to master English. The report offers many provocative conclusions and implications from these findings.

Immigrants, Ethnic Identities and the Nation-State,
Institute for the Study of Labor,
November, 2012, 38 pp.
Authors:  Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann
Looking at immigrants as "natural innovators," this paper discusses the complex and malleable process of identity formation and its impact on individual adaptation, economic outcomes, and nation building. The authors explore the relationship between national and ethnic identities and how an immigrant's background along with the attitudes, laws, and history of host countries, combine to  influence how immigrants adjust and adapt, as well as how the identities of natives are also negotiated and influenced by these factors. The authors further examine identity formation as it affects "the utility function of economic agents" and point to how a more complete understanding of the process can assist in building more accurate economic models. Additionally, the paper discusses how the ways in which states "negotiate identities" through specific policies can impact and influence the economic behavior of individuals. The authors examine evidence from several "multicultural" nations including France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States, contrasting the ideals and policies of these countries and their relationship to the labor market performance and identity development of immigrants within these nations. Finally, the authors conclude by noting the dubiousness of forming predictive models based on contextual and shifting categories of identity, and call for further research on identity formation and its consequences. (Daniel McNulty)

U.S. Government, Heal Thyself:  Immigration Restrictions and America's Growing Health Care Needs,
National Foundation for American Policy, November, 2012, 27 pp.
This policy brief argues that the growing demand for health care services today and in the future necessitates a more efficient and adaptive immigration system to allow for foreign-born medical personnel to fill gaps in the U.S. health care delivery system. The report notes that "the United States is saddled with an immigration system designed to prevent, not facilitate, the entry of highly skilled...medical personnel." A restrictive immigration policy, decades-long wait times and a dearth of even temporary visas for a wide variety of medical professionals are leading to a shortage of workers for an industry that will need to be expanded given the aging U.S. population and the demands of the Affordable Care Act. The author laments the protectionism of the various professional associations that have opposed expansion of immigration opportunities for foreign-trained doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. He also challenges the "brain drain" argument used by opponents of increased immigration. The brief makes four recommendations: first, expand the number of employment-based green cards for foreign-born health care workers so that wait times are reduced;  second, establish a temporary visa that facilitates the entry of foreign-born nurses; third, expand the Conrad 30 Program to include more physicians per state for underserved communities; and fourth, streamline state licensing and other procedures for foreign-born medical personnel to help with the nation's long-term health care needs.(Denzil Mohammed)

Growth and Immigration: A Handbook of Vital Immigration and Economic Growth Statistics,
George W. Bush Institute, November, 2012, 125 pp.
The 4% Growth Project of the George W. Bush Institute prepared this document for its inaugural Dallas conference on immigration policy held on December 4, 2012. Written by Matthew Denhart, the Handbook paints a sweeping portrait of America's immigrants to show their contribution to the U.S. economy and society, with special emphasis on the immigrant role in economic innovation and business creation. Utilizing the latest Census data and drawing on research published elsewhere, the Handbook features a series of 50 attractive charts,  many of which are designed to show that "immigration reform is a key component to achieving strong and lasting economic growth."  Written in easy-to-understand language, the report also offers many surprising facts, debunks myths and makes note of new trends in immigration. It points out, for example, that when more immigrants are present in the population natives are more likely to complete high school;  that immigrants are an important component of urban revitalization because they help raise property values;  and that recent immigrants to the U.S. have higher average levels of education than earlier waves of immigrants. The Handbook also contains a chapter on "challenges" associated with immigration, such as the soaring costs of border enforcement, poverty levels among immigrants, and the "anti-worker bias" built into our current immigration system.

Help Wanted: The Role of Foreign Workers in the Innovation Economy,
Information Technology Industry Council, Partnership for  a New American Economy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, November, 2012, 32 pp.
This report  presents evidence to show that foreign-born workers in the Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are complementing - not displacing - their American counterparts. It also shows that the American economy is facing a STEM talent shortage that foreign-born workers, particularly those who are educated at U.S. graduate and post-graduate programs, can fill.  Previous research has shown that for every foreign-born student who stays in the U.S., 2.62 jobs on average are created for American workers. Using data from the U.S. Census and the U.S. Department of Education Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), this report clarifies several outstanding issues on which the U.S. Congress can take action. It also debunks many popular myths on the topic.  It shows that while STEM fields employ a far higher proportion of foreign workers than non-STEM fields, those fields with high percentages of foreign STEM workers have low unemployment rates for U.S. workers.  In fact, there is full employment for U.S. STEM workers according to the report and, in many STEM occupations, unemployment is virtually non-existent. Furthermore, foreign-born STEM workers are paid on par with U.S. STEM workers.(Denzil Mohammed)

Then and Now: America's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs,
The Kauffman Foundation, October, 2012, 29 pp.
This report finds that the growth rate of high-tech, immigrant-founded startups - a critical source of innovation for the U.S. economy - has stagnated and may be on the verge of decline. This has happened despite the fact that such companies employed about 560,000 workers and generated an estimated $63 billion in sales from 2006 to 2012. The study finds that the proportion of immigrant-founded companies nationwide has slipped from 25.3 percent to 24.3 percent since 2005. The drop is even more pronounced in Silicon Valley, where the percentage of immigrant-founded startups declined from 52.4 percent to 43.9 percent. Defying this trend were Indian and Chinese immigrants, whose startup rates have increased. Indian immigrants, in fact, founded more of the engineering and technology firms than immigrants born in the next nine top countries combined.  California had the highest percentage of total immigrant-founded firms in the country (31 percent), but New Jersey had the highest state percentage of immigrant-founded firms (45.1 percent), followed by Massachusetts (41.7 percent) and California (39.6 percent).  The report also provides a breakdown of the specific industries in which immigrant founders are active, with the three largest being innovation/manufacturing-related services (45 percent), software (22 percent), and bioscience (11 percent).  The report concludes that "high-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy" but that the downward trend in immigrant entrepreneurship may jeopardize future growth. (Denzil Mohammed)

The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2012, 19 pp.
This study suggests that there are significant economic benefits for eligible noncitizens-numbering around eight million in the U.S.-to naturalize. These include higher salaries, a greater likelihood of employment and more access to highly skilled jobs. This gap between foreign-born citizens and noncitizens, the report finds, may be due to higher levels of education, English acquisition and work experience among naturalized Americans. Despite the advantages of citizenship, the cost of citizenship ($680), fear of failure in the English and U.S. history citizenship exams and a lack of knowledge about the naturalization process inhibit Legal Permanent Residents from acquiring citizenship status. To overcome these barriers, the authors suggest that formal immigrant integration policies, inclusive of proactive naturalization campaigns, will enable immigrants and the country as a whole to realize the benefits of naturalization, including greater levels of economic competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship. (Denzil Mohammed)

Open for Business: How Immigrants are Driving Small Business Creation in the United States,
The Partnership for a New American Economy, August, 2012, 37 pp.
Written by Robert W. Fairlie, Professor of Economics at the University of California (Santa Cruz), this report focuses on the creation of new businesses, defined as business under five years old.  Fairlie reports that new businesses have been responsible for all net job creation in the U.S. over the past three decades and that "immigrant businesses are having an enormous impact on the U.S. economy."  Immigrants are more than twice as likely as the native-born to start a business. In 2011, they were responsible for 28 percent of all business start-ups, well in excess of their share of the population (12.9 percent). Moreover, immigrants are active in those sectors of the economy that the U.S. government expects to grow the fastest over the new decade, starting 25 percent of all companies in these sectors.  Immigrants from all ethnic and educational backgrounds are contributing to this economic activity. Mexicans, for example, now own more than 570,000 U.S. businesses, representing more than 1 in every 25 businesses in the country.  In addition, more than 37 percent of new immigrant business owners lack a high school diploma. As a whole, immigrant-owned businesses employ one out of every 10 U.S. workers.  The report concludes that "any serious plan on job growth much recognize and welcome immigrant entrepreneurs, who in the coming years will play an outsized creating new businesses, creating new jobs, and driving economic growth." The report includes many helpful tables and charts, including data on immigrant business formation by state.

Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development,
Migration Policy Institute and International Organization for Migration, 2012, 256 pp.
Since the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2007, governments and civil society organizations have devoted increasing attention to the ways that diasporas - defined as "communities of emigrants and their descendants" in this report - have contributed to development in their countries of origin. Many governments, in both countries of origin and destination, have established partnerships with diaspora communities to facilitate the development process. This Handbook is designed as "a user-friendly, accessible, and practical guide on the state of the art in governmental diaspora initiatives."  The authors gathered data and perspectives from an international survey of government officials, follow-up interviews, consultations at international meetings, and a review of the literature. They recommend a planning framework ("road map") consisting of the following elements: "identifying goals, mapping diaspora geography and skills, creating a relationship of trust between diasporas and governments... and, ultimately, mobilizing diasporas to contribute to sustainable development." The Handbook explores the contributions that diasporas have played in the six key areas of remittances, direct investments, human capital transfers, philanthropic contributions, capital market investments, and tourism. It also details the policy and program initiatives that have maximized diaspora contributions in each of these areas.

Picking Winners:  Olympic Citizenship and the Global Race for Talent,
The Yale Law Journal,  June 30, 2011, 52 pp.
This paper discusses the "striking transformation of citizenship" in the modern world - a transformation that has received "scant attention in academic circles." Written by Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law, Political Science & Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, the paper examines the growing willingness of governments to grant citizenship in order to attract people of exceptional talent and ability.  This practice has "turn(ed) an institution steeped with notions of collective identity, belonging, loyalty, and perhaps even sacrifice into a recruitment tool for bolstering a nation's standing relative to its competitors."  In his analysis, the author uses the world of Olympic sports as a test case and "window" to explore the broader implications of the practice. He uses the term "Olympic citizenship" to apply to fast-tracked, strategic grants of citizenship to bolster the competitive standing of national teams - referred to as "talent poaching" by some critics. He proposes a solution -- called the "Fair play mobility principle" -- that steers a middle course between unbridled competition and abolition. This solution might require international sporting authorities to impose a one-year residency rule before any foreign national could compete for a new country, or to impose "play-stay" rules, in which a player who has already represented the home country in an official international competition would not be permitted to play for another national team, even if citizenship were granted by the new country.  Shachar sees his essay as raising a host of new issues in a world where nation-states are jockeying for competitive advantage in many different economic sectors, not just sports. The "mercantilization of the passport" could "erode something deeper - the basic social and political relationships we hold towards one another as members of the same polity..."

Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy,
Fiscal Policy Institute, June, 2012, 32 pp.

This compendium of data about immigrant small business owners is drawn from the Survey of Business Owners, conducted by the Census Bureau every five years. The immigrant share of small business owners in the U.S., at 18 percent, is higher than the immigrant share of the U.S. population (13 percent). Defined as firms with less than 100 employees, immigrant small businesses employed an estimated 4.7 million people, and generated an estimated $776 billion in receipts in 2007. The report examines the educational background of immigrant small business owners, reveals the industries in which they operate, and identifies their countries of origin. "It is clear," the report concludes, "that immigrants are an important part of America's small business environment. Immigrants bring ideas, connections to new markets, and a spirit of entrepreneurship with them to the United States."

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and their Access to Financial Capital,
Robert W. Fairlie, Ph.D., for the Office of Advocacy, US. Small Business Administration, May, 2012, 46 pp.
Drawing on specially commissioned tabulations from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, as well as information from the 2010 Current Population Survey, the author of this report paints a detailed portrait of immigrant business owners in the U.S. Not only is the business ownership rate higher for immigrants than non-immigrants (10.5 percent for immigrants vs. 9.3 percent for the U.S. born), but the rate of business formation per month is even higher: 0.62 percent for immigrants (or 620 out of 100,000), compared to 0.28 percent (or 280 out of 100,000) for non-immigrants. Immigrant-owned businesses are also more likely to export than non-immigrant owned businesses (7.1 percent of immigrant firms compared with 4.4 percent of non-immigrant). The author speculates that "higher levels of exports among immigrant owned firms may help these firms succeed in the long run and help to improve the U.S. trade imbalance with the rest of the world." The author also observes that the rate of business formation among immigrants, as among non-immigrants, rises during periods of recession but declines during periods of economic growth. However, "in the Great Recession there appears to be an even greater response of starting businesses among immigrants than among non-immigrants, which may have to do with lower-skilled workers having more difficulty in finding jobs."  Finally, the author suggests that barriers to business formation and expansion experienced by immigrants may be costly to the overall growth and productivity of the U.S. economy "especially because immigrants represent an increasing share of the total population and have a proclivity towards entrepreneurship."

Not coming to America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent,
The Partnership for a New American Economy & The Partnership for New York City, May, 2012, 48 pp.
This report paints a bleak picture of U.S. competitiveness in the "global talent rush." Many nations now see immigration as an essential element in their national economic strategy. Detailing the policy reforms implemented by major developed countries in recent years to attract highly skilled immigrants, as well as the efforts of sending countries, such as China and India, to provide incentives to expatriates and their children to return home to start new business ventures, the report laments the failure of the United States to develop a strategic vision for its immigration policy and to reform an "antiquated" immigration system crafted nearly 50 years ago and no longer functional in the modern world. Noting major shortages of native-born talent in key STEM areas, low growth in the domestic labor force coupled with an aging population, and the important role played by immigrants as innovators and entrepreneurs, the report calls for reform of an "incoherent" and "irrational" American immigration system. The report concludes by suggesting that six commonsense ideas should underlie future immigration policy: "any university graduate with an advanced degree in an essential field should automatically be eligible for a green card...award more green cards based on economic needs...scrap the limits on high-skill H1B visas...give seasonal and labor-intensive industries access to foreign workers when they cannot fill the jobs with Americans...allow local governments to recruit more immigrants to meet regional needs."

Immigrant Workers in the U.S. Labor Force,
The Brookings Institution and Partnership for a New American Economy, March, 2012, 18 pp.
This study examines the number and role of immigrants in four low-skilled and four high-skilled sectors of the American economy:  accommodation, agriculture, construction, food services, healthcare, high tech manufacturing, information technology, and life science. Using data from the 2010 Current Population Survey and the 2010 American Community Survey, the author finds that "immigrants and native-born workers tend to work in different jobs within both high- and low-skilled industries."  The most striking examples of this complemtarity may be found in the agriculture, accommodation, and construction sectors. In the accommodation sector, for example, immigrants are found in large numbers in "back of the house" occupations such as building and housekeeping cleaners, whereas native-born workers are found in "front of the house" occupations such as desk clerks and managers.  In information technology, the two top occupations for immigrants are computer programmers and managers, whereas the two top occupations for native-born workers are computer support specialists and network systems and data communication analysts.  According to the author, as the native-born population continues to age, "the labor force will increasingly depend upon immigrants and their children to replace current workers and fill new jobs."

Data Reveal High Denial Rates for L-1 and H-1B Petitions at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,
National Foundation for American Policy, February, 2012, 19 pp.

The author of this report analyzes and bemoans the growing denial rates for skilled professionals in non-immigrant temporary visa categories. In the H-1B category, for example, available to foreign nationals who have the equivalent of a college degree or higher and who are working in specialty occupations, the denial rate increased  from 11 percent in FY 2007 to 21 percent in 2010. In addition, the application process has become more burdensome and time-consuming, with “skyrocketing”  numbers of “Requests for Evidence” or RFEs slowing down the processing time and causing employers to refrain from applying in the first place.  In addition, the reports finds that a disproportionate number of Indian professionals have been refused visas. According to the author, this situation  is “harming the competitiveness of U.S. employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside the United States.”

Promoting Ethnic Entrepreneurship in European Cities,
European Union, 2011, 125 pp.
This report attempts to map the landscape of immigrant entrepreneurship in 28 cities of the European Union.  It finds wide variations in rates of entrepreneurship depending on local conditions and circumstances. The report notes that "entrepreneurship is not an important part of the European integration policy for migrants" but that many European cities are beginning to experiment with innovative approaches to promoting entrepreneurship.  Such approaches not only facilitate self-employment, but also the employment of other immigrants and the native-born population. The report identifies the barriers that face immigrant entrepreneurs, whether lying within the structures, rules or regulations of political authorities or whether related to deficits in the skills and training of potential entrepreneurs. The authors catalogue the wide range of programs available to aspiring entrepreneurs, whether aimed at the general population or immigrants in particular, and conclude with a series of recommendations for policy makers at all levels of European governance designed to "close the gap"  in immigrant entrepreneurship between the EU and the United States. 

The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers,
Immigration Policy Center, February, 2012, 7 pp.
This report is a succinct review of major demographic trends that are altering the age distribution of the population, both in the US and globally, and that will have profound implications for immigration policy for many years to come. Written by Walter A. Ewing, the report notes that birth rates are declining all over the world, even in traditional immigrant source countries like Mexico and India; people are living longer; and that by 2030, there will be 1 billion elderly people, constituting  one-eighth of the world's population. In the US, the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation over the course of the next two decades will lead to a doubling of the elderly (65+) population from 40.2 million to 88.5 million in 2050. The age distribution of the U.S. population would be even more skewed toward the elderly were it not for the arrival of new immigrants, coupled with their higher birth rates, which tends to bolster the ranks of the working-age population. Immigration notwithstanding, the number of working-age adults for every elderly person declined from 7.5 in 1950 to 5.0 in 2000 and is projected to drop to 2.8 in 2050. The author concludes that "policymakers would be wise to take a much more purposeful and strategic approach to immigration: legally admitting those immigrants who can help take the place of retiring baby boomers in the labor force, care for the growing ranks of elderly Americans, and shore up the Social Security and Medicare systems with their tax dollars."

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy,
Immigration Policy Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, January, 2012, 13 pp.
This report reviews a number of studies on immigrant entrepreneurship conducted by the Public Education Institute of the Immigrant Learning Center and other researchers. Written by Marcia Drew Hohn, Director of the Institute, the report finds that immigrant entrepreneurs help to "create jobs and strengthen the economy" but their pivotal role in the economy "remain(s) largely unacknowledged in economic development policy and planning."  The report notes that immigrant entrepreneurs "come from all walks of life," and indeed "some lack significant educational credentials" and start businesses to avoid the trap of low wage jobs. Yet they all render valuable services, whether creating a neighborhood business or introducing a major technological innovation. The report concludes with five policy recommendations, including the elimination of "red tape" in visa processing, and allowing graduate students in STEM fields to remain in the U.S. to fill skilled labor positions or create startup ventures. 

Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The Women
Immigration Policy Center (IPC), December, 2011, 16 pp.
The contents of this IPC "special report" are drawn from the book, Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience (New York University Press, 2011). Noting that the rising rate of immigrant women entrepreneurship (9 percent in 2010) now exceeds the 6.5 percent rate of native-born women, and that of all immigrant entrepreneurs in 2010, 40 percent were women, this report seeks to reveal the particular experiences and challenges faced by women business owners and the contributions they are making to their communities and to the economy as a whole.  Many women started businesses "to repair their damaged self-esteem from underemployment and exploitation." Many cited the inspiring example of women business owners in their home countries. Some sought independence from abusive relationships. One strand of the report discusses how these women scraped together the resources to start their businesses. Finally, the report concludes with "advice and suggestions" from women business owners themselves. This report, and the book upon which it is based, seeks to understand the "gendered qualities" of migration.

Immigration and American Jobs,
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and the Partnership for a New American Economy, December, 2011, 23 pp.
This study seeks to answer a question often overlooked in the economics literature, i.e. the impact of immigration on jobs in the United States, and even more importantly, the impact of specific types of immigrants on job formation.  A simplistic "supply and demand" model might suggest that immigrants with similar skills displace US natives. An alternative model might suggest that immigrants complement US-born workers, helping to boost employment in sectors of the economy occupied by native-born workers.  As the report suggests, this question is "ultimately an empirical one." Using 2000 to 2010 data from the Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau, the report examines the size of specific cohorts of immigrants within each of the states and then compares that number with the number of jobs created in those states during the period in question. Among the findings are the following: immigrants with advanced degrees from US universities who work in STEM fields "dramatically boost employment for US natives."  For every 100 such immigrants, there are 262 additional jobs created for US natives. The study also looks at three temporary workers programs: H-1B visas for skilled workers, H-2A visas for seasonal agricultural workers, and H-2B visas for seasonal nonagricultural workers. All programs appear to be positively related to improved employment outcomes for US-born workers. The report explores the policy implications of these findings. It bemoans the fact that only 14 percent of the green cards issued each year are allocated based on employment, compared to 25 percent in Canada, 42 percent in Australia, and almost 60 percent in the United Kingdom and Germany.  Arguing that "immigration policy can help fix the economy," the report calls for "more permanent and temporary visas for highly educated immigrants, especially those in STEM fields, and expanded programs for both skilled and less-skilled temporary foreign workers."

Immigrant Founders and Key Personnel in America's 50 Top Venture-Funded Companies,
National Foundation for American Policy, December, 2011, 21 pp.
This study examines the important role played by immigrants in launching and sustaining leading venture-funded companies within the U.S. The author found that immigrants started nearly half of America's top 50 venture-backed companies, and that 76 percent of all companies employ an immigrant in either a key management or product development position. Relying on biographical data and interviews, the author profiles fourteen companies and the immigrant entrepreneurs and employees that have been integral to their growth and success. Throughout, the report reflects the importance of immigrants in "driving growth and innovation in America," and concludes with a call for policies to attract and retain global talent within the United States. (Dan McNulty)

Adult Children of Immigrant Entrepreneurs:  Memories and influences,
The Immigrant Learning Center, in collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts, November, 2011, 53 pp.
Based on a series of 10 focus groups with 36 adult children of Asian and Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs, this study attempts to understand the family dimensions of the entrepreneurial experience and its lasting influence in the lives of the second generation.  The participants in the study were graduate students ranging in age from 21 to 32. Many of them attributed their work ethic to the example set by their parents. Many learned useful interpersonal skills helping out with the family business. Many felt obliged to repay the sacrifices made by their parents to give them a better future. Among the conclusions of the report: "there is little doubt that these children understood, respected and were often deeply affected by the struggles and accomplishments of their parents."

Eight Policies to Boost the Economic Contribution of Employment-Based Immigration,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2011, 10 pp.
The authors of this paper contend "that successful economic-stream immigration systems are transparent and flexible, create predictable outcomes, and remain open to constant adaptation and experimentation."  In order for immigration to be a "powerful tool for supporting a country's economic growth and prosperity,"  the following policies should be implemented: temporary-to-permanent visa pathways, streamlined immigration for the most skilled workers, special policies to retain top foreign students, allowing employers to "pierce" numerical limits or other limits through the payment of special fees, regional and local engagement in the admission process, the use of independent research to review and adjust immigration systems, and the development of effective immigrant integration programs because "integration outcomes are a key measure of the success of any national immigration policy, and such outcomes can be tracked and used as a feedback mechanism for determining needed adjustments to immigration laws."

Rebooting the American Dream: The Role of Immigration in a 21st Century Economy,
Immigration Policy Center (IPC),
November, 2011, 20 pp.
This "special report" provides a digest of selected research on the economic impact of immigration on the American economy.  According to these studies, immigrants tend to complement rather than displace American workers on both the high and low ends of the immigration skills spectrum, thereby spurring overall growth and creating opportunities for native-born workers. Moreover, immigrants are more entrepreneurial than native-born workers, with one study finding that immigrants are more than twice as likely to start businesses as native-born workers.  However, the IPC report suggests that the current US immigration system is antiquated and not designed to derive maximum economic advantage from the energy and talents of immigrants.  Indeed, many talented foreigners trained at American universities, frustrated by long delays in obtaining visas, are returning home to start businesses in their home countries - businesses that may one day compete in the global market. The report concludes with a short section on family-based immigration, which through the social capital of family relationships and networks, also spurs economic growth. 

Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the United States:  Reflections on Future Directors for Reform,
Migration Policy Institute, January 2011, 26 pp
This study by economist Harry J. Holzer, former Chief Economist for the US Department of Labor, reviews findings from the research literature on the benefits and costs of low-skilled immigration, i.e. immigration by those with a high school diploma or less.  His point of departure is the well-publicized debate between economists David Card of the University of California and George Borjas of Harvard, who have differed over the extent to which immigrant workers compete with native-born workers. Holzer finds "limited negative impact" on native-born workers, but somewhat greater negative impact on earlier cohorts of foreign-born workers.  On the other hand, benefits of less-skilled migration accrue to employers, and to consumers in all income brackets. The paper concludes with some discussion of the implications of research findings for future immigration reform. Among the author's conclusions: "In all, it is hard to make the case that the current volume of unskilled immigration to the United States is too high and needs to be sharply curtailed." Holzer also recommends charging employers who hire less-skilled immigrant workers "some modest fees to offset short-term fiscal costs," as well as adjusting admission levels based on macroeconomic conditions. He also advocates steps to legalize the undocumented already in the U.S., while stemming any new unauthorized flows.

The Role of Migrant Care Workers in Ageing Societies: Report on Research Findings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States,
IOM International Organization for Migration, 2010, 79 pp. (There is a separate study on the U.S. alone published in 2009)
This report looks at qualitative and quantitative data from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and the United States, examining the role played by migrant workers in caring for the elderly. Due to changing demographics, i.e. growth in the aging populations and a relative decline in the working age populations, compounded by the undervaluing of care work in general, these developed nations have witnessed rapid growth in the demand for labor within the eldercare market. The report points to how both skilled and unskilled migrants from developing nations are used to fill labor shortages, along with some of the policies, conditions, and processes favoring the disproportional employment of foreign-born workers within the care economy. The report also examines the challenges faced by both employers and migrants in the workplace; for employers, lack of certain skill sets, limited English proficiency and cultural awareness can all lessen the ability of migrants to connect with the elderly and perform their jobs effectively; for migrants, discrimination, poor working conditions, and isolation can present serious problems. The report finds that the four countries under study mostly lack the legal framework needed to ensure a steady, secure, and quality workforce within the long-term care sector. The authors conclude with a series of policy recommendations, suggesting that improving conditions and compensation for work in eldercare is essential to retaining quality care whether provided by migrants or natives. (Dan McNulty)

Ten Economic Facts About Immigration,
The Hamilton Project, Brookings, September, 2010, 16 pp.
Seeking "to provide a common ground that all participants in the policy debate (on immigration) can agree on,"  the authors provide a succinct and non-technical summary of available research on 10 key economic questions, including the impact of immigration on the living standards of native-born Americans; gains or losses to federal, state and local budgets caused by immigration; assimilation trends among immigrants and their children; immigrant contributions to business formation and patent filing; and whether immigrants disproportionately burden U.S. correctional facilities.

Immigration Myths and Facts,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, May, 2011, 9 pp.
In an effort to counteract misinformation about the impact of immigration on American society, the Chamber's Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits Division prepared this pamphlet to "refute seven of the most common myths about immigrants coming to our country." The pamphlet attempt to "summarize the facts on the relationship of immigrants to Jobs, Wages, Taxes, Population, Crime, Integration, and Welfare."  The Chamber's review "shows that immigrants significantly benefit the U.S. economy by creating new jobs, and complementing the skills of the U.S. native workforce, with a net positive impact on wage rates overall."

The Impact of Immigrants in Recession and Economic Expansion,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), June, 2010, 23 pp.
Written by Giovanni Peri (University of California, Davis) for MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, this paper charts the short- and long-term effects of net immigration on the employment and incomes of native-born workers in the United States. While most economists have shown a positive correlation over the long-run (say ten years), few have studied the short-term effects. During periods of economic weakness, Peri finds that net immigration over a one to two year period "seems to crowd out less-educated native workers." In order to mitigate these negative effects, Peri suggests that our immigration system should be more responsive to labor market conditions.  Peri makes the interesting observation that some degree of adjustment already occurs, but not with family-based migration, which remains constant even in recessionary times, but in the number of legal and unauthorized immigrants who return to their countries during periods of recession. Indeed, over the last 20 years, he estimates that on average 1.5% of the foreign born population, or 600,000 people, has returned to their home countries each year. Admission numbers, he suggests, should be set to compensate for this loss and with a view toward the long-range benefits of immigration on the economy. Finally, he argues that a sufficient number of visas, perhaps 40% of the total, should be made available for less-skilled immigrants as they "appear(s) to bring benefits for the aggregate economy without harming the wages of less-educated natives in the long run."

"It's Not Just About the Economy, Stupid" - Social Remittances Revisited,
Migration Policy Institute, May 21, 2010, 6 pp.
This short paper explains the concept of social remittances, defined as the exchange of "ideas, know-how, practice and skills" between immigrants and their home country communities of origin. Using examples drawn from the experience of Dominican immigrants in Boston, the authors explain that social remittances can have both positive and negative impacts. The paper concludes with the observation that "migration research needs to span migrants' origin and destination countries and go beyond economic considerations to include the social and cultural."

The Impact of Immigration and Immigration Reform on the Wages of American Workers,
New Policy Institute, May, 2010, 22 pp
Written by Dr. Robert J. Shapiro, a former Undersecretary of Commerce in the Clinton Administration, this report includes a demographic analysis of the immigrant population in the United States, highlighting occupational niches and educational attainment, and devoting special attention to the position of the undocumented. The report reviews available studies exploring the economic impact of immigration, both legal and undocumented, on the incomes of native-born immigrants and on the economy as a whole. Among findings of note: "undocumented male immigrants have the highest labor force participation rate of any group in America principally because, compared to the native born, undocumented immigrants are twice as likely to be in households with spouses and children." According to the author, evidence indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would reverse any adverse impacts of undocumented immigration on the wages of low-skilled legal workers, both native-born and immigrant.

Across the Spectrum: The Wide Range of Jobs Immigrants Do,
Fiscal Policy Institute, April, 2010, 19 pp.
Looking at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this report examines the occupational distribution of immigrants. Analyzing data from the 2006-2008 American Community survey, the researchers find that immigrants are distributed "surprisingly evenly" across various occupational categories. Indeed, in 13 of the 25 metropolitan areas, there are more immigrants working in the mostly higher-wage professional or white-collar jobs than in mostly lower-wage service or blue-collar jobs. However, metropolitan areas with a preponderance of higher skilled immigrants, such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and St. Louis, have lagged in economic performance behind cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Minneapolis, where the majority of immigrants work in service or blue-collar jobs. Whether low-skilled immigration is a cause or consequence of economic growth can be debated, but the notion of low-skilled workers as a drag on the economy seems flawed.

Immigration and Wages:  Methodological Advancements Confirm Modest Gains for Native Workers,
Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper, February 4, 2010, 29 pp.
As immigration flows have surged in the U.S. in recent years, there has been great interest in the labor market impact of immigration on native-born Americans. Although most economists agree that immigration has had a small but positive impact on the wages of native-born Americans overall, researchers differ as to whether specific categories of native-born Americans, e.g. those without a high school education, have been adversely affected by immigration. Looking at data from 1994 to 2007, this study disaggregates the native-born population by age, gender, and education level, and finds that the positive trend is fairly uniform through all sub-groups of native-born workers. The only group experiencing a downward trend in wages is earlier immigrants, who presumably compete more directly with newer immigrants. However, the data doesn't permit a breakdown of the immigrant population by type of status, e.g. undocumented vs. undocumented, or type of visa, so, as the author acknowledges, key questions remain unanswered by this study.

Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
Center for American Progress and Immigration Policy Center, January, 2010, 25 pp.

This paper makes the counter-intuitive argument that the current enforcement-only approach to irregular migration, has failed to deter illegal migration, "wasted billions of taxpayer dollars," and created  "a host of unintended consequences," including spurring the growth of human smuggling operations, choking off "circular migration," and propping up low-wage labor markets "and ironically, creating a greater demand for unauthorized workers." Noting that Mexico is undergoing "one of the fastest declines in fertility ever recorded in any nation," as evidenced by the increasing age of apprehended immigrants, the author suggests that population pressure as a driver of migration from Mexico will likely diminish in the future. The author also reviews research conducted on the economic impact of the 1986 legalization program; evaluates the economic consequences of three different reform scenarios; and concludes that a comprehensive approach, providing a pathway to legalization, will "generate an annual increase in U.S. GDP of at least 0.84 percent,"  while "boost(ing) wages for both native-born and newly legalized immigrant workers."

Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas,
Fiscal Policy Institute, December, 2009, 42 pp.
Produced with support from SEIU Local 32BJ, this report finds that immigrants in major U.S. metropolitan areas contribute to the economy in proportion to their share of the local population. The authors also observe that "economic growth and growth in the immigrant workforce go hand in hand," although the question of cause and effect remains unclear. The report also notes that immigrants work in jobs across the economic spectrum and earn wages that are comparable to native-born workers in most categories. One notable exception is blue collar jobs, where immigrants earn considerably less.  In the service sector, earnings are low both for immigrants and native-born workers. Even though immigrants make up 20% of all union members in the 25 metro areas, the unionization rate for immigrants is lower than for native-born workers - 10% compared to 14%. In addressing these problems, the report suggests "setting a higher standard for the earnings of workers," particularly in the service and blue collar sectors, with obvious implications for union organizing. 

The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, Labor Markets Initiative, December, 2009, 16 pp.

This paper highlights the importance of unauthorized immigrant workers as a source of low-skilled labor in the American labor market, especially in the agriculture, construction, food processing, building cleaning and maintenance sectors. The author reviews the positive and negative impacts of illegal migration on the American economy and its workers. Observing that such labor was "unofficially tolerated" in the United States up to 2006, recent efforts to control illegal immigration may be undermined by renewed demand for low-skilled labor during future periods of economic growth, a demand that cannot be easily satisfied by a better educated and less flexible domestic labor force. Noting that sufficient legal visas are currently unavailable to satisfy the need for low-skilled workers, the author suggests that Congress would have to "revamp entirely the manner in which employment visas are allocated" if it is serious about reducing future illegal inflows.

Tied to the Business Cycle:  How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times
Migration and the Global Recession,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2009, 127 pp
This report updates an earlier MPI study seeking to gauge the impact of the global recession on world migration trends. The authors find that people are generally staying put, i.e. not leaving home countries, nor returning, except paradoxically in certain E.U. countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom, that permit the free flow of migrants from countries in eastern Europe. In the U.K., for example, almost half the 1.4 million Eastern Europeans who came during the period between May 2004 and March 2009 have returned. The report notes "a significant deterioration in immigrant employment rates...across a wide number of countries," including among Mexicans and Central Americans in the United States. Other sections of the report discuss the internal movement of migrants in countries like China, the results of "pay-to-go schemes" in countries like Spain and Japan, and trends in remittances.

Human Development Report 2009, Overcoming Barriers:  Human Mobility and Development,
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2009, 229 pp.
Since 1992, the UNDP has commissioned annual Human Development Reports to focus global attention on key development issues. For the first time in its history, UNDP has chosen to focus its 2009 report on the link between mobility and development. Noting that "conventional approaches to migration tend to suffer from compartmentalization," the authors view migration in its broadest context, looking at the roughly 1 billion people who move each year, including the estimated 740 million who are "internal migrants," the 214 million who are regular (legal) international migrants, and the 50 million who are irregular international migrants. So-called "north-south migration," the authors note, is not as prevalent as many think. Nearly half of all international migrants move within their region of origin and about 40 percent move to a neighboring country. The authors propose a "six-pillar" package of reforms intended to "maximize the human development impact of migration," including opening up more legal channels for international low-skilled migration, fewer barriers to internal migration, and ensuring basic rights for migrants everywhere.

As Immigrants Move In, Americans Move Up,
Free Trade Bulletin No. 38, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, July 21, 2009, 9 pp.
Authored by Daniel Griswold, the Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies, this policy brief argues that there is a causal relationship between immigration since 1990 and poverty reduction in the United States, particularly among native-born African-Americans. "For every poor immigrant family we 'imported' during that time, more than three native-born families were 'exported' from poverty."   He also argues that the nature of the "underclass" has changed. "Members of today's more immigrant and Hispanic underclass are more likely to work and less likely to live in poverty or commit crimes..." Griswald urges Congress to reject "misguided fears about 'importing povery'" and to "pursue a policy of expanding legal immigration for low-skilled workers.."

Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers:  Demographic Characteristics and Economic Footprint,
The Immigrant Learning Center, June, 2009, 51 pp.
Prepared by researchers at the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, this report offers a sweeping view of the immigrant population in the State of Massachusetts. Unlike other recent state-level reports on immigration, this study digs deeper into the data by differentiating between "established" and "recent" immigrants, i.e. those in the U.S. less than 10 years. The report analyzes the educational attainment and occupational profile of immigrants; examines income, sales, and property tax payments by immigrants; provides data on transfer payments; and reviews rates of immigrant institutionalization in juvenile facilities, correctional institutions, and nursing homes. Overall, the report paints a favorable picture of immigrant contributions to the state.

Untying the Knot, Part I, The Unemployment and Immigration Disconnect, 
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
Untying the Knot, Part II, Immigration and Native-Born Unemployment Across Racial/Ethnic Groups;
Immigration Policy Center, May, 2009, 12 pp.
In this series of special reports, the Immigrant Policy Center finds no apparent connection between high levels of recent immigration and unemployment. Indeed, there appears to be an inverse relationship between the two, i.e. in areas with high levels of recent migration, unemployment rates are lower than in rural areas or in the former great industrial centers of the Midwest, where there are fewer immigrants. Part II focuses on the impact of immigration on native-born minorities, particularly African-Americans. One noteworthy finding is that in the ten states with the highest percentages of recent immigrants, the average unemployment rate for native-born blacks is about 4 percentage points lower than in the 10 states with the lowest percentages of recent immigrants. The authors conclude that the presence of immigrants is a function of the job-creating strength of the local economy, and that the causes of unemployment should be sought elsewhere.

Immigrant Workers in the Massachusetts Health Care Industry:  A Report on Status and Future Prospects,
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc., March, 2009,
65 pp.
This report examines the contribution of immigrants to the Massachusetts health care industry -- "the most important employment sector of the Massachusetts economy with almost half a million workers."  The report treats immigrants not only as a source of labor in crucial segments of the industry (the quantitative factor) but also as workers skilled in bridging the language and cultural barriers that often impede the delivery of quality health care to diverse patient populations (the qualitative factor). In this sense, the authors contend that foreign-born health care workers "add value to the quality of health care for everyone."  In addition, the report notes a strong correlation between the presence of immigrants in local labor markets and the concentration of health care infrastructure in certain communities. Examining specific occupational profiles, the authors note that immigrants tend to cluster at the upper end (e.g. 51% of medical scientists and 40% of pharmacists) and lower end (36% of health technologists and 33% of aides) of the health care employment market in the state. Beyond official statistics, the report also notes the importance of immigrants in the "gray market" of workers hired directly by individuals and families.  Finally, the report urges public and private investments in workforce development programs aimed at incorporating foreign-born health care workers into the health care industry and devotes one section of the report to "promising practices and programs" designed to achieve this goal. 

Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis:  Research Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Implications,
Migration Policy Institute, January, 2009, 31 pp.
This report analyzes available data, including a review of migration patterns during earlier economic crises, to reach some preliminary conclusions about the impact of the economic downturn on future immigrant inflows and outflows. Legal immigrants who entered the country on family reunion visas and humanitarian entrants are less likely to leave the country than irregular migrants, although even the latter have incentives to remain, especially if tightened security on the southern border prevents their return later and job opportunities become available elsewhere in the United States. The report finds that low-wage immigrants may be particularly vulnerable to economic hardship, because of their disproportionate presence in hard-hit industries like construction and their lack of eligibility for safety net services, if undocumented or in legal status for less that five years.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Industry,
Immigrant Learning Center in collaboration with researchers at Boston University, June, 2007, 15 pp.
This report argues that immigrants have been key contributors to the creation of new businesses and intellectual capital in the Massachusetts biotechnology industry. Among the more noteworthy conclusions are:  25.7 percent of Massachusetts companies in this industry have at least one foreign-born founder; these companies produced over $7.6 billion in sales and employed over 4,000 workers in 2006; the founders come from nations across the globe, but with a preponderance from Europe, Canada or Asia; and the companies are largely involved in developing disease treatments or studying the "map" of the human genome. The immigrant entrepreneurs, therefore, tend to specialize in the most complex, risky, life science-intensive aspects of biotechnology to seek knowledge directly applicable to human health.
(Abstract reposted through agreement with the Immigrant Learning Center and the Immigration Research and Information web site)

Implementation of Diversity Management Programs in Public Organizations: Lessons from Policy Implementation Research,
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, 2006, 23 pp. 
As the U.S. population changes, with more women, ethnic and racial minorities, and people with disabilities employed in public organizations, the challenge of diversity management within these organizations takes on increased importance.  This paper, written by David W. Pitts, seeks to understand the impact of personnel diversity on organizational outcomes.  The paper discusses the history of diversity policy and reviews the research bearing upon its effectiveness. The author concludes with five general lessons that can be learned from the research, namely:  ensuring that sufficient resources are dedicated to the effort; clearly defining program components; framing the initiative in terms of organizational benefit, not individual benefit; maintaining clear and credible communication; and gaining support from all levels within the organization.  Noting the paucity of research on what works (and doesn't) in diversity management, the paper concludes with a call for further research.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Neighborhood Revitalization,
Study prepared for the Immigrant Learning Center by the Mauricio Gaston Institute and the Institute for Asian American Studies,
University of Massachusetts, Boston, December, 2005, 49 pp.
This report examines the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on three neighborhoods in Boston: Allston Village, East Boston, and Fields Corner, as well as on the cities of Lawrence and Lowell  The study finds that immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to the economy and quality of life of the neighborhoods they serve in the following ways:  reviving commerce and investment in areas that had declined, providing needed products and services, addressing the particular needs of distinctive ethnic niches, expanding beyond those niches, incubating new businesses; attracting new customers, providing some employment opportunities, improving the physical quality and appearance of buildings and surrounding areas, and enhancing public safety (Abstract reposted through agreement with the Immigration Research and Information web site).