Numbers often tell
the story of immigration. How many migrants arrive each year? Through what channels (legal or otherwise)? From what countries? With what
occupational and educational backgrounds? How many are apprehended for illegal entry or visa violations, held in detention,
and ultimately deported. And how many return to their home countries voluntarily? The studies in this collection seek answers
to these questions in order to ground immigration policy-making in a solid basis of fact.
arranged in order of publication date. 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
U.S. IMMIGRATION DEMOGRAPHICS
Population Estimates of Nonimmigrants Residing
in the United States: Fiscal Years 2017-2019,
DHS Office of Immigration Statistics,
May 2021, 11 pp.
Author: Bryan Baker
Nonimmigrant residents are defined as foreign nationals temporarily
residing in the United States for reasons such as work, study, diplomacy, and exchange programs. This report, issued by The
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), estimates the size of this population from 2017-2019. Estimates are derived from DHS
administrative records detailing noncitizen entries and exits from the United States using a statistical model to approximate
recent populations. According to the report, the number of nonimmigrant residents has steadily increased each year, rising
from 2.6 million in 2017 to 3.2 million in 2019. The report includes a breakdown of the characteristics of this population,
including factors such as age, gender, country of origin, and reason for residency. The report includes relevant charts, graphs,
and visuals to illustrate these various demographic factors. (Lara Carbine for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public
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
Policy Center, May 6, 2021, 3 pp.
Author: Rachel Iacono
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the total number
of immigrants legally entering the United States declined by 87% in 2020. This paper, written by Rachel Iacona of the Bipartisan
Policy Center, argues that immigration should play a larger role in building the future workforce and in growing the U.S.
economy. Immigration can mitigate some of the negative economic impacts of slowing population growth and an aging population.
According to the Census Bureau, high immigration levels can delay the year in which the population of those over 65 exceeds
the population under the age of 18. If the U.S. does not increase legal immigration, the country might sacrifice its position
as the world’s largest economy by 2030. Moreover, funding for vital programs, like Social Security, could be depleted
by 2034, and even sooner according to some experts as a result of the pandemic. The 2019 American Community Survey data indicates
that immigrants had $1.3 trillion in collective spending power. Immigrant business owners accounted for 25% of new firms and
played an important role in creating new job opportunities. The report concludes that Congress must enact long-lasting immigration
reform that recognizes and reflects the economic and demographic benefits that immigrants bring to the entire nation.
(The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
Quantifying the Impact of the Trump Administration
New American Economy, March 17, 2021, 9 pp.
USCIS data for Fiscal Year 2020, this report seeks to quantify the impact of the Trump administration on naturalization rates,
grants of permanent residency, approvals of H-1B applications, issuance of international student visas, DACA approvals, and
grants of temporary protected status. The report tries to disentangle the impact of the pandemic on immigration processing
from broader restrictive policies adopted by the Trump administration during its four years in office. For example, there
was a precipitous decline of 35 percent in the number of green cards issued in FY 2020, but that one-year decline was preceded
by smaller declines in the three previous years. Likewise, the issuance of international student visas dropped by almost 40
percent in FY 2020, continuing a downward trend for the three previous years. On the other hand, H-1B approvals increased
by 9.6 percent in FY 2020, continuing a pattern of increase from the three previous years. However, most of these approvals
were likely visa renewals for workers already present in the U.S.
What the 2020 census will reveal about America:
Stagnating growth, an aging population, and youthful diversity
Institution, January 11, 2021
Author: William H. Frey
Using Census Bureau survey data released over
the past couple of years, the author of this report looks at current and future U.S. demographic trends as they relate to
immigration. The report paints a picture of a population growing older and more diverse, with a troubling decline in overall
growth. A few highlights: The nation’s overall population growth fell to 0.35% between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020
— the lowest annual growth rate since at least 1900. For whites, Census Bureau estimates projected a small decline in
population, for the first time since the first census in 1790. While the white population declined slightly, Latinos contributed
more than half of the nation’s growth, followed by Asian Americans, Black Americans, and persons of two or more races.
In addition, older segments of the population are growing much faster than younger ones, with consequent implications for
the size of the future workforce. The number of people age 55 and over grew 27% between 2010 and 2020, while the number of
people under age 55 grew 1.3%. Future growth — especially among the young — will depend largely on our immigration
policies. With a level of immigration twice that of the year before the pandemic, the nation’s under-18 population would
grow by just 4%. Without an increase in immigration, there would be zero growth in the under-18 population, while the over-65
population would grow by 38%. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable
Numbers, Changing Origins,
Migration Policy Institute, Fact Sheet, December 2020, 22
Authors: Randy Capps et al
Unauthorized immigration to the U.S. steadily increased throughout the 1990s
and early 2000s, but dropped significantly in 2008-2009 due to the economic recession. Since then, rates of unauthorized immigration
have remained steady, and it is estimated that there are currently 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. This
fact sheet uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Homeland Security to give a demographic profile of this
population. While the number of unauthorized immigrants has mostly remained steady following the recession, the demographic
makeup of this group has changed. Immigrants from Mexico, for example, now make up a smaller share of the total unauthorized
population, while shares from Central America and Asia are larger. This report includes information on: countries of
origin; the number of unauthorized immigrants who are members of mixed-status families; the states and counties that are home
to the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants; and socioeconomic characteristics such as English proficiency, educational
attainment, and income levels. (Deb D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education
Immigrant Women and Girls in the United States:
A Portrait of Demographic Diversity,
American Immigration Council, September 24, 2020, 10 pp.
Immigrant women and girls in the United States number more than 23 million and constitute a formidable
presence in the U.S. economy and society. This fact sheet draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018
American Community Survey to provide a detailed overview of their skills and rates of participation in the economy. Immigrant
women and girls come from all over the world, outnumber male immigrants, are more likely than male immigrants to
come to the U.S. via family-based immigration systems, and naturalize at rates higher than male immigrants (53.0
percent of female immigrants versus 48.1 percent of male immigrants). They account for nearly 16 percent of
all employed women, and nearly a third of immigrant women have a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, although
this share is lower than for U.S.-born women and immigrant men. Immigrant women work in every occupation, with nearly 35 percent in
management, business, science and arts occupations, and they outnumber U.S.-born women in service occupations, production
and transportation, and construction and maintenance occupations. Despite the extent of female
immigrant education and presence in the workplace, however, they are paid less than U.S.-born men and women,
and less than immigrant men. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education
College-Educated Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute,
September 16, 2020, 17 pp.
Authors: Kira Olsen-Medina & Jeanne Batalova
This report examines trends
in the share of college-educated immigrants to the United States, including H1B workers and international students. As U.S.
employment projections point to a greater demand for highly-skilled and educated workers, immigrants represent an increasingly
important source for this workforce. While 32 percent of all foreign-born adults in 2018 had a bachelor’s degree or
higher—similar to the 33 percent for the U.S.-born—47 percent of immigrants who arrived during the last five years
had a college degree. As of 2018, 17 percent of college-educated adults ages 25 and older were born abroad, compared to 10
percent in 1990. More than half are concentrated in four states (California, New York, Florida and Texas) and 73 percent in
just ten states. College-educated immigrants are younger and more likely to be of working age than their native-born counterparts.
Almost half (47 percent) are Asian American and Pacific Islander, with the highest shares from India (24 percent) and China
(10 percent). The total number of international students in the U.S. has also more than doubled since 1990, with growth largely
coming from the number of students participating in optional practical training (OPT) programs after graduation. College-educated
immigrants have a virtually equivalent level of workforce participation (74 percent vs. 75 percent) as their U.S.-born counterparts
and are more likely to be in high-tech, science, and engineering occupations. In FY 2019 two-thirds of approved H-1B petitions
were in computer-related occupations. These trends notwithstanding, 23 percent of college-educated immigrants in 2018 were
unemployed or underemployed in low-skilled jobs, compared to 18 percent of U.S.-born college graduates, often because of difficulty
getting their credentials recognized. Trump administration policy changes, including increased scrutiny of work and international
student visas, have also limited U.S. companies’ ability to hire highly-skilled foreign workers, even while other high-income
countries have increased efforts to attract these workers. Mobility restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic may also
affect the migration flow in the near to medium term. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)
Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Higher Education: A Data Profile,
Migration Policy Institute
, October 2020, 13 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova with Miriam Feldblum
In 2018, more than 5.3 million
students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities were from immigrant families (28 percent of all students enrolled). “Immigrant-Origin
Students in U.S. Higher Education” by the Migration Policy Institute describes the changing face of U.S. higher
education from 2000 to 2018. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), authors Jeanne
Batalova and Miriam Feldblum show that the population of immigrant-origin students in U.S. higher education
grew rapidly between 2000 and 2018, with immigrant-origin students accounting for nearly 60 percent
of the growth in the student population during this period. The report points out that immigrant-origin
students are a diverse group, including high shares of racial and ethnic minority students (85 percent of all Asian
American and Pacific Islander students, and 63 percent of Latino students). As immigrant-origin students are
predicted to heavily drive U.S. labor force growth well into 2035, the authors draw attention to the importance
of equipping these students with the critical skills necessary to adapt to unpredictable economic circumstance, such as the recession caused
by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors go on to explain that immigration policies, such as the 2019
federal “public charge” rule, as well as initiatives to narrow the postsecondary education attainment
gap among racial and ethnic minorities, are key issues to consider in removing barriers to success for immigrant-origin
students and, in the process, benefit the U.S. economy and society. (Stephanie Depauw for The Immigrant
Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories
from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study,
The Lancet, July 14, 2020, 22 pp.
Authors: Stein Emil
Vollset et al
Declining populations and shifts in age structure may have profound economic and geopolitical
impacts in many countries, according to the authors of this study. Modeling future population trends based on current fertility
rates, as well as migration and mortality rates, the authors estimate that global population will peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion
people and then decline to 8.79 billion in 2100, and continue “inexorably” declining after that. By the turn of
the next century, the global total fertility rate (number of children born per woman) will have dropped to 1.66, well below
the replacement level of 2.1. Contributing to this trend will be improvements in female educational attainment and greater
access to contraception. Under the most likely scenario, the five largest countries by population will be India, Nigeria,
China, the USA and Pakistan. Although China will become the largest economy by 2035, the model predicts that the USA will
again eclipse China to become the largest economy by 2100. These trends argue for policy options that adapt to continued low
fertility, including the promotion of immigration, especially to higher income countries where the fertility rates will be
lowest. Population size and composition of countries are not exogenous factors for countries to account for, but rather outcomes
that they can help influence through policies on reproductive health, gender equality, and immigration. According to the authors,
“Responding to sustained low fertility is likely to become an overriding policy concern in many nations given the economic,
social, environmental, and geopolitical consequences of low birth rates.” (Julianne P. Weis, Ph.D.)
Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How Many Students are in U.S. Colleges and
Universities, and Who are They?
New American Economy & Presidents’ Alliance on
Higher Education and Immigration, April 2020, 9 pp.
Authors: Miriam Feldblum et al
This report documents
significantly higher rates of undocumented immigrants in the US enrolled in higher education than previously thought. More
than 450,000, or approximately 2% of all students in higher education in the US are undocumented. These students, the authors
assert, go on to make significant professional contributions to the American economy. Most undocumented students pursuing
post-secondary education in the US do not have the benefit of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Since
the rescission of DACA was announced in September 2017, the percentage of students with DACA work authorization has declined.
The growing number of undocumented students without DACA protections underscores the urgency of providing work permits and
protection from deportation for these students. The authors also argue for the extension of in-state tuition to all undocumented
students with state residency to ensure equal opportunity for all students. Undocumented students are primarily enrolled in
public colleges and universities, and are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Increasing the
number of college graduates fuels community and state economic growth and prosperity. The authors suggest that it is in the
national interest to support the growing numbers of undocumented students in higher education in the US. (Julianne P.
Brain Waste among U.S. Immigrants with Health Degrees: A Multi-State Profile,
Migration Policy Institute,
July 2020, 17 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova et al
Drawing on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department
of Labor, this brief offers a state-by-state look at the underemployment of immigrant health professionals and explores their
potential contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. While more than 2.6 million immigrants and refugees were
employed in healthcare when the outbreak began, 263,000 with at least a four-year degree in heathcare fields were unemployed
or working in low-skilled jobs, due to credential-recognition difficulties, licensing barriers, lack of professional networks,
and other obstacles. Rather than being concentrated in traditional gateway regions, these workers are widely distributed across
the United States. More than 80 percent are legally present in the country. Almost two-thirds are English proficient, and
there is a substantial overlap between the languages they speak and those of limited English proficient populations in the
states where they reside. Almost half (46 percent) were trained as nurses. These individuals, the brief argues, represent
a reserve of health professionals who can ease the strains imposed on the health-care system by COVID-19. In more normal
times, they can also meet the rising demand for health services in general, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
Their linguistic and cultural skills also represent a valuable public health asset, particularly in areas like contact tracing,
and could help allay the fear and distrust in immigrant communities arising from anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies like
the expanded public charge rule, which have further chilled already limited immigrant access to health-care services. Policies
supportive of these underutilized workers could build on executive orders (summarized in an Appendix to this brief) that were
introduced in response to the pandemic by governors of Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York,
and Pennsylvania, and that temporarily adjust licensing requirements in certain health professions, including for individuals
who are internationally-trained. (Jeffrey Gross, Ph.D.)
Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population,
Center for Migration Studies, January 2020, 120 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin et al
of the USSR, Myanmar’s exclusion of Rohingya from citizenship, the inability of some Kuwaiti women to confer nationality
on their children, and the refusal of Thai officials to register births to members of Hill Tribes are just a few causes of
statelessness in the world today. Under international law a “stateless person” is defined as “a person who
is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” This study applies this definition and
utilizes data from intergovernmental, governmental and academic sources, as well as surveys and interviews, to describe and
estimate the population of U.S. residents who are stateless or potentially at risk of becoming stateless (ca. 218,000). The
report includes short profiles of major groups of stateless people from around the world, and highlights the challenges they
face. In addition to limited employment prospects, domestic and international travel restrictions, and the threat of deportation,
stateless persons cannot receive protection from an embassy or return to their country of previous residence. To prevent and
reduce statelessness, the authors recommend ways to better identify stateless persons and policies that should be implemented
by government, international and non-governmental actors, including universal birth citizenship, and creating paths to legal
residency and citizenship. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
A Changing Nation: Population Projections Under Alternative Immigration Scenarios,
U.S. Census Bureau, February
2020, 21 pp.
Author: Sandra Johnson
In 2017, the Census Bureau published the National Population Projections,
covering the period 2017 to 2060. In “A Changing Nation,” the Bureau acknowledges that the migration component
of these projections may swing significantly due to difficult-to-anticipate changes in political and economic conditions.
In this report, the Census Bureau projects three additional scenarios for immigration—high (50 percent more than current
levels); low (with immigration rates cut in half from current levels); and no immigration—and analyzes the impact these
scenarios would have on U.S. demographics. Without immigration, by 2060 the U.S. population would be smaller, less diverse,
and older. Specifically, total population would be about 1.1 percent lower than today. The foreign-born would comprise just
4.6 percent of the population (compared to 26.6 percent in the high immigration scenario) and the median age of the population
would rise from 37.9 in 2016 to 45.7 in 2060. The report includes projections for ethnicity, as well as age, nativity, and
population growth. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Analysis of FY 2018 Legal Immigration Statistics,
National Foundation for American Policy, January 2020, 11 pp.
recent release of the 2018 Handbook of Immigration Statistics by the Dept. of Homeland Security shows significant reductions
in legal immigration to the U.S. An analysis of the data done by the National Foundation for American Policy shows a decline
of 7.3 percent from FY 2016 to FY 2018 (adjusted to more than 15 percent if refugees are excluded from the total). Most of
the declines were in the immediate relative categories (spouses, children, and parents of U.S citizens), which are not subject
to numerical limitations by current U.S. law. Legal immigration from Mexico declined by 7.3 percent during this period,
while immigration from China fell by 20.3 percent. Especially large drops in legal immigration occurred from “travel
ban” countries like Iran (down 44 percent) and Yemen (down 87 percent). Curiously, there was little change in
the number of people receiving immigrant visas in the employment category. The authors of the report attribute most of the
family category reductions to delays in processing and heightened screening procedures. If the administration’s health
insurance mandate and public charge ruling are unblocked by the courts, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of additional
people would not be able to reunify with their loved ones and that legal immigration rates will continue to plummet. (Nicholas
V. Montalto, Ph.D.)
Temporary Visa Holders in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute,
December 5, 2019, 12 pp.
Authors: Brittany Blizzard & Jeanne Batalova
There are several categories
of nonimmigrant temporary visas to the United States, and nearly every category has seen declining numbers of visas issued
since 2015. Nonimmigrant temporary visas are a vital part of the US economy through tourism, higher education, and temporary
labor. The nature of nonimmigrant visa issuance to the US has been shifting for various reasons, from perceived hostility
to immigrants to new restrictions and travel bans on certain countries. The issuance of temporary visas reached a peak in
2015, and has been steadily dropping since. The 2017 travel ban led to a 79 percent decline in visas issued to nationals of
the seven countries included in the ban. Student visas have also seen a decline of 27 percent between 2015-2018. Temporary
visitors to the US for business or pleasure are the largest group of nonimmigrant visa holders, suffering a 20 percent decline
between 2015 and 2018. Mexico was the leading country for nonimmigrant visas of all categories from FY 2000 to FY 2013, after
which it was overtaken by China, whose citizens sought entry to the U.S. as tourists in large numbers. The only visa category
that has bucked this trend is that for seasonal workers. Since 2016, the number of visas to temporary, seasonal workers
has remained flat or increased slightly, while the H-2A seasonal agricultural visa figures grew rapidly between 2014-2018. (Julianne
Reflecting a demographic shift, 109 U.S. counties have become majority nonwhite since 2000,
Pew Research Center, August 21, 2019, 10 pp.
Author: Jens Manuel Krogstad
Between 2000 and 2018, 109 U.S. counties went from majority white to majority non-white according to a Pew Research Center
analysis of Census Bureau data. The report finds that 21 of the 25 biggest U.S. counties (by population) are made up
of majority non-white residents, with eight of these counties moving from majority white to majority non-white in the 21st
century. The author notes that many of the most populous counties with a majority non-white population are in California,
the South or the East Coast, with few majority minority communities in the center of the country. Georgia counties stand
out as having some of the largest shifts. The analysis highlights that U.S. demographics can also shift in the opposite direction.
From 2000-2018, just two small counties, Calhoun County in South Carolina and West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana (with relatively
small populations of about 15,000 each) went from minority white to majority white. The future of U.S. demographics is still
unstable. As the number of multiracial Americans grows, the way they choose to identify will have lasting effects on
the landscape of U.S. racial and ethnic composition. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s
Public Education Institute)
There are Only About 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants in the U.S., Not Twice as Many,
Fiscal Policy Institute, July 2019, 2 pp.
Author: Cyierra Roldan
After failing to add a citizenship
question to the 2020 census, the Trump administration released an executive order requiring federal agencies to collect citizenship
data using administrative records. According to the author of this essay, the justification for this order was based on a
flawed estimate from three professors at Yale, none of whom are specialists in demography. They claimed that there are between
16 to 29.5 million undocumented persons in the United States -- the only study that gives such an inflated estimate. The Department
of Homeland Security arrived at an estimate of 12 million, while the Migration Policy Institute, Pew Research Center and the
Center for Migration Studies concluded that there were 11 million in 2017. Demographers have found clear errors in the Yale
professors’ methodology, which are discussed in the report. These errors suggest that the White House’s justification
for its executive order is unsubstantiated and merits reconsideration based on the evidence available.
Most Released Families Attend Immigration Court Hearings,
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), Syracuse University, June 18,
2019, 5 pp.
Contrary to claims made by the Department of Homeland Security, six out of every seven asylum-seeking
families in the United States appear for their initial court dates. This analysis of records on court attendance from the
Executive Office for Immigration Review finds that appearance rates for families with legal representation rose to 99.9 percent,
while the rates of appearance for unrepresented families was at 81.6 percent. The study notes that attorneys, who must keep
track of when and where their clients’ hearings will be held, are usually able to communicate details directly to their
clients thus ensuring a much greater chance of appearing in court. To the extent that the court system operates in a
monolingual environment, court appearance rates will be negatively affected. Additionally, families who are released
after being apprehended at the border may not know where they will be residing after their release and so may not receive
notifications of court appearances, and those returned to their home countries to await hearings may similarly have no reliable
means of notification. The study finds that the presence of legal representation is the key factor in maintaining high
court attendance rates among asylum-seeking families. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s
Public Education Institute)
Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossers after 2010 Because Illegal Entries Dropped to their
Lowest Level in Decades,
Center for Migration Studies, April 2019, 9 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
A 2019 presidential
memorandum introduced measures aimed at reducing the number of nonimmigrants who “overstay” their authorized period
in the United States. However, according to the Center of Migration Studies, the basis on which the Department of Homeland
Security estimates overstays is not sound, and the idea that the number of overstays has exceeded the number of unauthorized
border crossers because of rising numbers of overstays is incorrect. The article utilizes data from government and other sources
to show that the number of overstays has exceeded the number of those who entered illegally at the southern border primarily
due to an historic decline in unauthorized entries since 2000. For example, from 2000 to 2016, overstays were in the 200,000
to 400,000 range annually, while illegal entries declined from almost one million in 2000 to approximately 200,000 after 2008.
The article highlights that the overall overstay rate did not grow in recent years and that overstays from Mexico in particular
but also Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Poland declined substantially when comparing the 2000 to 2006 period to the 2010
to 2016 period. The article concludes that there is a need for additional study of the factors related to the phenomenon of
overstays, as well as recognition that overstays continue to leave the country at a significant rate. This additional research
may be helpful in allowing the Departments of State and Homeland Security to address the problem of overstays in an effective
manner. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
In 116th Congress, at least 13% of lawmakers are immigrants or the children of immigrants,
Pew Research Center, January 24, 2019, 7 pp.
Author: Abigail Geiger
Immigrants and their
children make up at least 13 percent of all voting members of the 116th Congress and trace their ancestry to 37 different
countries. Analyzing birthplace and parentage data through news stories, obituaries, candidate statements, and congressional
and genealogical records, along with interviews with congressional staff, the Pew Research Center found that out of these
68 lawmakers, 52 serve in the House of Representatives and 16 serve in the Senate; 58 are Democrats, 10 are Republican and
one is an Independent. Only three percent or 14 lawmakers are immigrants, less than the historical high of 10 percent in 1789.
The number of foreign-born lawmakers in Congress is less than the share of immigrants in the United States overall, which
was around 13.5 percent in 2016. Thirty-one lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants represent Western states,
13 represent the Northeast, 13 from the South, and 11 from the Midwest. California has the highest total at 19 members, and
Illinois is second at five members. About 32 percent of these lawmakers have roots in Europe, and 22 percent come from Latin
America (Mexico being the largest source country). Asia follows with 19 percent of lawmakers, the Caribbean with 18 percent,
and the Middle East, North America and sub-Saharan Africa combined below 10 percent.
US Undocumented Population Continued to Fall from 2016 to 2017 and Visa Overstays Significantly
Exceeded Illegal Crossings for the Seventh Consecutive year,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 1:4 (2019), 4 pp.
This short paper from the Center for Migration Studies highlights data to show that, in recent
years, illegal entries across our southern border have decreased significantly, while the overall undocumented population
in the U.S. has declined. Undocumented migration is lower today than it has been in the past 25 years, and the numbers
would even be lower but for the erroneous inclusion of asylum seekers in the statistics on undocumented immigration. Asylum
seekers account for some of the increased arrivals after 2012. (Asylum seekers are exercising rights recognized by international
and domestic law.) From 2000 to 2017, apprehensions at the border declined 81 percent, from 1.6 million to 300,000 —
despite a 110 percent increase in the size of the Border Patrol (from 9,200 to 19,400). The author points out that if attempts
at illegal entry had not been falling, the increase in number of Border Patrol agents would have resulted in an increase in
apprehensions. The multi-year trends highlighted in this paper show there is no national emergency at the border — only
a continuation of progress in thwarting illegal entries. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade,
Pew Research Center, November 27, 2018, 77 pp.
Authors: Jeffrey S. Passel & D’Vera Cohn
This report from the Pew Research Center, based on an analysis of Census and other data, provides a broad range of information
on the size and demographic characteristics of the undocumented population as of 2016. The authors compare their estimates
to those in a report produced in 2007. Since 2007, the undocumented population has shrunk somewhat, from 12.2 million in 2007
to 10.7 million in 2016. Estimates are provided for the average number of new arrivals and where they come from; the median
U.S. residency of undocumented immigrants (now 14.8 years); the number of children in households with at least one undocumented
parent; the top birth countries of the undocumented; states with the largest populations of undocumented immigrants and how
these populations have changed since 2007; the number of these immigrants in the U.S. workforce, as well as the percentage
of the U.S. workforce (4.8) that is undocumented; and occupations with the largest concentrations of undocumented immigrants.
The report includes a detailed explanation of Pew’s methodology, and more than 20 pages of appendices with maps and
tables. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States,
Plos One, September 21, 2018, 8 pp.
Authors: Mohammad M. Fazel-Zarandi et al
policy, particularly regarding undocumented immigrants, is a hotly debated issue in the United States. Many of these debates
and decisions rely on a conventional estimate of 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. However, an analysis
from the Yale School of Management suggests that the number of undocumented immigrants might be substantially larger, ranging
between 16.2 million and 29.5 million people “with an estimated ninety-five percent probability.” The traditional
estimate of 11 million people was derived from the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey, along with
legal immigration records. However, the Yale study uses “a different approach grounded in operational data, and demographic
and mathematical modeling” to arrive at higher estimates. This data was collected from academic literature and government
sources including border apprehensions, visa overstays, deportations, voluntary emigration, mortality and change-of-status
information from 1990 to 2016. According to the authors, the discrepancy in these results might be because a representative
sample is required for accurate responses when using the survey-based approach. Undocumented immigrants are more difficult
to locate and may misreport out of fear. These new estimates, according to the authors, could help frame policy debates that
depend on accurate population estimates (Public Education Institute, Immigrant Learning Center). (Editor’s
Note: The higher estimates in this study have been strongly contested by other researchers. See, for example, “Center for Migration Studies Disputes PLOS ONE Estimates
of US Undocumented Population”)
A Profile of Immigrants from Travel-Ban Affected Countries in the United States,
Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University, April 2018, 27 pp.
Author: Mohammad Ismael
This study looks at the geographic distribution and characteristics of the approximately
800,000 immigrants already living in the United States from seven of the countries covered by travel ban imposed by the Trump
administration on September 25, 2017: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The data
indicate that these immigrants are employed, highly educated, have high incomes, own their own homes, and are making impressive
contributions to the larger society. Forty-six (46) percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of
native-born and 28 percent of all immigrants. The largest occupational cohort were architects and engineers, where 7 out of
every 1,000 individuals employed in these professions were from travel ban-affected countries. Dentistry also ranked high
on the list of occupations (28 out of every 1,000). The author worries that "the United States may be denying admission
to highly educated and skilled individuals who could be making significant contributions to the United States." At the
same time, immigrants already living in the United States may have suffered great harm by losing physical contact with loved
ones abroad and by deciding not to travel abroad for fear of not being allowed to return.
Evolution of the H-1B: Latest Trends in a Program on the Brink of Reform,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2018, 17 pp.
Authors: Sarah Pierce & Julia Gelatt
issue brief examines the main features of the H-1B temporary worker program, including the background of visa holders, the
types of companies they work for, and latest trends in the operation of the program. The report notes that the H-1B program
has been growing, with much of the growth due to the fact that there is a long wait for employment-based green cards, particularly
for Indian nationals. H-1B visa holders may renew their temporary visas until a green card is available. In the past five
years, an average of 212,000 visas have been approved beyond those covered by the annual cap of 85,000 (requests for H-1B
visas by universities, as well as renewals of existing H-1B visas are not covered by the cap). Initial applications for H-1B
visas are now far more numerous than visas available, and winners are selected by lottery. While more than 40,000 firms were
approved to sponsor H-1B visas, just 20 companies accounted for one-third of all new and continuing petitions in fiscal year
2017. In the coming months, the Trump administration is expected to make a number of changes to the H-1B program, including
taking away the opportunity for certain H-1B spouses to work and other changes that will narrow the definition of who is qualified
and which employers may petition for a worker. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
How the Trump Administration’s Plan Would Shape the Composition of Immigration: First
Center for Global Development, January 30, 2018, 5 pp.
Authors: Michael Clemens & Jimmy
The Trump Administration proposals for cuts to legal immigration are embodied
in the Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 (H.R. 4760), filed in the U.S. House of Representatives in January, 2018. According
to estimates in this report, the bill, if enacted, would substantially change the racial, religious and educational characteristics
of new U.S. immigrants. The New Immigrant Survey, conducted in 2003, permits analysis of H.R. 4760’s potential impact
on new immigrants’ characteristics. The survey posed race, religion and educational attainment questions
to a representative sample of new legal arrivals to the U.S. New Immigrant Survey findings, applied to H.R. 4760, predict
strong racial, religious and educational shifts resulting from the bill. The number of Black, Non-Hispanic immigrants, for
example, would decline by 64 percent, Hispanic immigrants by 58 percent, and White, Non-Hispanic immigrants by 35 percent.
As far as religion is concerned, Catholic immigration would drop by 54 percent and Muslim immigration by 53 percent due to
the termination or reduction of visa categories under H.R. 4760. Orthodox Christians would fall by 49 percent.
Immigrants with less than a high school education would fall in number by 71 percent under the proposed reform, which eliminates
several types of family reunification visas. Although the bill seeks to expand employment-based visas for high-skill
immigrants, the number of such arrivals would nevertheless decline by 18 percent because of reduced visas for families and
the end of Diversity Visas. In
addition to presenting and explaining these findings, the authors provide a link to a spreadsheet which can be used to estimate
the effects of other immigration reform proposals. (Rob Paral, Rob Paral & Associates)
Immigration Data Matters,
Migration Policy Institute and Population Reference Bureau, March, 2018, 46 pp.
Authors: Jeanne Batalova et al
This report, which researchers may want to bookmark, contains a long list of easily accessible online data sources
providing a broad range of information on the foreign-born and immigration, including demographic characteristics, English
proficiency, health and health care access, labor force characteristics, annual immigration admissions, undocumented immigrants,
refugees and asylum seekers, temporary humanitarian statuses, immigration enforcement, state-based policies, public opinion
about immigration and immigrants, and much more. There is a separate section listing sources of government data. Finally,
there is a list of international sources of data on immigration and immigrants and topics related to international migration.
For each source, there is a short description of what is available, as well as the URL for the online source. This will be
a useful tool for researchers, advocates, and policy makers looking for data relevant to their needs. (Maurice Belanger,
Maurice Belanger Associates)
The U.S. Undocumented Population Fell Sharply During the Obama Era: Estimates for 2016,
Center for Migration Studies, February 22, 2018, unpaginated
Author: Robert Warren
to this study, the undocumented immigrant population in the United States fell by nearly 1 million persons between the years
2010 and 2016, from 11.7 million to 10.8 million. The number of undocumented is at its lowest level since 2003.The largest
undocumented group, persons from Mexico, has declined sharply. Undocumented Mexicans numbered 6.6 million in 2010 but fell
to 5.7 million in 2016. Populations from South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) and Europe (Poland) also fell
between 2010 and 2016. Three groups from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) have increased in number
in recent years, as have persons from Asian nations including India and China. Their growth, however, has not offset
the decline of other groups. Only two U.S. states, Texas and Nebraska, registered an increase of 10,000 or more undocumented
immigrants between 2010 and 2016. Nine of the ten largest states lost population including California (-367,000), Illinois
(-118,000) and New York (-115,000). The greatest percentage declines were in Alabama (-37 percent), Mississippi (-32
percent) and New Mexico (-30 percent). Undocumented immigration rose in the 1990s by 145 percent and during the 2000s by 36
percent. The ongoing decline has been occurring across several administrations in Washington. Report author Robert Warren
employs a methodology in which respondents to the American Community Survey are assigned immigration status based on key characteristics
such as their period of entry, occupation, and likelihood of being immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (Rob Paral,
Rob Paral and Associates)
DHS Overestimates Visa Overstays for 2016: Overstay Population Growth Near Zero During the Year,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 5:3 (2017), 11 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
In 2017, the Department
of Homeland Security released a report on visa overstays, i.e. non-immigrants admitted to the United States on temporary visas,
e.g. visitors, students, who had not departed the country by the expiration date of their authorized stay. The report found
that there were 628,799 people in this category in 2016 and provided detailed breakdowns by country of origin. This paper
assesses the credibility of these estimates for 133 countries by comparing them to estimates derived by the Center for Migration
Studies of New York using a different methodology. Although the author found rough correspondence in estimates for 90
of 133 countries (less than 2000 difference), the study also found wide variations for other large sending countries, particularly
so-called visa waiver (VWP) countries. For example, CMS found only 500 overstays for the United Kingdom, but DHS reported
21,700; CMS found 900 for Canada, but DHS reported 119,400. The reason for these wide discrepancies is that the DHS estimates
include people who did indeed exit the country in a timely fashion, but whose departure was not recorded. Instead of 628,799
overstays, the actual number is probably closer to 316,000, according to the author. The report concludes that "the best
information available indicates that overstays from VWP countries remain at extremely low levels and that the total overstay
population is growing very slowly."
The Education and Work Profiles of the DACA Population
Migration Policy Institute, August 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps, Michael
Fix, and Jie Zong
The authors of this report applied their unique methodology to Census data to determine
the characteristics of what they call the DACA “immediately eligible” population—those who have met all
educational requirements for participation in the program. Past studies of this population have been survey-based, but have
not been fully representative. The MPI estimate shows that approximately one-third of this population was still enrolled in
secondary school, a third had completed high school but had not gone to college, and another third was either enrolled in
college, had completed some college, or attained at least a bachelor’s degree. About three-quarters of the DACA-eligible
population who had completed high school were in the labor force. Compared to the unauthorized population, DACA workers were
more likely to be found in indoor, white-collar occupations, with regular hours and moderate pay. This report adds to a body
of evidence showing that DACA has improved the lives of its recipients in terms of educational attainment, work conditions,
pay, and prospects for upward mobility. If the program is terminated with no permanent solution and DACA recipients lose their
work authorization, most DACA workers would be unable to continue in their white-collar occupations, and future mobility in
the workforce would be reversed (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates).
Fiscal 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report,
Department of Homeland Security, 2017, 42 pp.
This report contains data on the number of individuals
who enter the U.S. and who fail to depart when required by the terms of their admission. Only the second annual report by
DHS on visa overstays, this year's report includes nearly every class of nonimmigrant admissions, including students and temporary
workers, who enter through land and sea ports of entry. Collection of exit data from land ports of entry continues to be very
limited due to constraints posed by sheer volume and lack of space for the infrastructure needed to collect information from
exiting visitors. The report summarizes what information CBP collects and how it is collected. It also describes the process
by which the government identifies overstays, and what is done with the information. Tables give the total number of overstays
as well as the overstay rate for each class of nonimmigrant as well as for each country. For individuals traveling on the
visa waiver program (individuals coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure from 38 mostly European and Asian countries),
visitors from Hungary had the highest overstay rate, at 2.75 percent, but the total number of Hungarian overstays, at 2,272,
was far fewer than the 23,472 visitor overstays from the United Kingdom. For visitors required to obtain visas, the highest
overstay rate comes from Djibouti, at 27.23 percent, while the greatest number of individuals who overstayed came from Brazil,
at 39,455. The overstay rates for students, at 5.48 percent, was higher than for all other classes of admission, at 3.01 percent
(again, with wide variations among countries). The report notes that, for a given period, the overstay rate goes down over
time, as people continue to depart the U.S. beyond their expected departure date. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger
Zero Undocumented Population Growth is Here to Stay and Immigration Reform Would Preserve and Extend
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:2 (2017), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
This report shows
that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Great Recession had little, if any, role in reducing the growth of the undocumented
population in the United States. Rather, the population stopped growing because of greater scrutiny of air travel after 9/11,
additional resources dedicated to southern border enforcement since the mid-nineties, improved economic and demographic conditions
in Mexico, and the ability of some undocumented immigrants (those who overstayed their temporary visas) to acquire legal status.
The author examines changes in the undocumented population by world region, country of origin, and state of residence for
two periods: 2000 to 2008, and 2008 to 2015. He suggests that "the fact that (undocumented) population growth stopped
at about the same time that the recession began was merely a historical coincidence." He concludes that "it
is time to recognize that zero population growth is here to stay and that it is very much in our self-interest to seize this
opportunity to reform the US legal immigration system in order to preserve and extend these gains."
The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition
Center for American Progress (CAP), April 20, 1017, 61 pp.
This report - an update of an earlier CAP report
from 2014 -- gives "the latest and most essential facts about immigrants and immigration reform in the nation today."
The data cover the following broad topics: today's immigrant population, the demographics and political power of new Americans,
immigrants and the economy, the state of the border and interior enforcement, state and local immigration laws, refugees,
public opinion on immigration; and recent developments related to the Trump executive orders on immigration. More than 200
endnotes provide citations to each of the data points discussed in the report.
The 2,000 Mile Wall in Search of a Purpose: Since 2007 Visa Overstays have Outnumbered Undocumented
Border Crossers by a Half Million,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 5:1 (2017), 12 pp.
Authors: Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
Not only are "visa overstays," i.e. people who
entered on valid visas but remained beyond their period of authorized stay, a growing portion of the undocumented population
(42 percent of the total undocumented population in 2014), they now constitute the majority of all new undocumented people,
e.g. visa overstays represented 66 percent of those who joined the undocumented population in 2014. These are among
the findings in this report analyzing the distribution of visa overstays and entries without inspection (EWIs) in the undocumented
population (EWIs are people who crossed the southern border without proper immigration documents). The authors suggest that
their "findings offer an additional reason to question the necessity and value of constructing a wall: the large and
growing percentage of newly undocumented persons will bypass the wall entirely and simply overstay their visas." The
authors include charts showing the percentage of overstays in all 50 states. The variations are quite large, e.g. from a low
of 22 percent in New Mexico to a high of 96 percent in Hawaii. Other states with high percentages of overstays include
Massachusetts (77 percent), New York (64 percent), and New Jersey (63 percent).
Immigrant Veterans in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, October 13, 2016, 9 pp.
Authors: Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova
many first and second generation immigrants are veterans? How has the percentage of immigrant veterans changed over time?
What are the top countries of birth of immigrant veterans? These are some of the questions addressed in this essay,
which also looks at the English proficiency, gender, marital status, age, education, employment status, and poverty levels
of immigrant military veterans. Relevant provisions of immigration and nationality law pertinent to military service are also
Surge in Immigration in 2014 and 2015? The Evidence Remains Illusory
Center for Migration Studies, August 31, 2016, 12 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable Growth in Immigration
Center for Migration Studies, 2016, 15 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
These articles challenge a
recent report by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that concluded that the scale of new immigration
in 2014 and 2015 was "enormous." Examining Census data, the author finds that essentially all of the increase in
the foreign-born population can be attributed to two sub-groups. The first is temporary non-immigrant residents-primarily
students and temporary workers who will eventually leave the country and cannot be considered new permanent immigrants. The
second sub-group is returning former immigrants, primarily legal immigrants. This sub-group has, until now, never been estimated
to the author's knowledge. (Methodology for this estimate is briefly explained in this paper.) Since these immigrants have
left the U.S. and returned, they cannot be considered new immigrants. The author also shows that CIS's finding that undocumented
immigration had increased by 200,000 in 2014 and 2015 over prior years was based on flawed methodology. The author concludes
that there is no evidence of a surge in new immigration. In the subsequent article, "New Data and Analysis Confirms Stable
Growth in Immigration," the author examines recently released American Community Survey data-with a much larger sample
size than the Current Population Survey data the CIS report relied on-and confirmed the lack of evidence for concluding there
has been a surge in immigration in 2014 and 2015. Rather, the author concludes, the new data "indicates that foreign-born
population growth, both legal and illegal, has been stable since 2009." (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger
Cato Institute, September 13, 2016, 26 pp.
This study examines the visa categories used by foreign-born terrorists who committed 3,432 murders
in the U.S. from 1975 through the end of 2015 -- a number which includes the fatalities on 9/11. The hazards varied considerably
by visa category. Overall, the chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack over the 41 year period was 1 in 3.6 million
per year. However, refugees (1 in 3.64 billion) and undocumented immigrants (1 in 10.9 billion) were
much less likely to commit such acts, compared, for example, to tourists on a B visa (1 in 3.9 million). Overall, the annual
chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying
in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. The second part of this paper compares the costs of terrorism
with the costs of proposed policy solutions such as a moratorium on refugee resettlement or on immigration as a whole. The
author concludes that "the United States government should continue to devote resources to screening immigrants and foreigners
for terrorism or other threats, but large policy changes like an immigration or tourism moratorium would impose far greater
costs than benefits."
Potential Beneficiaries of the Obama Administration's Executive Action Programs Deeply
Embedded in US Society,
Journal on Migration and Human
Security, 4(1): 2016, 12 pp.
Authors: Donald Kerwin & Robert Warren
On November 20, 2014, President
Obama announced an initiative known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), extending temporary protection from
deportation and work authorization to certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children. At the
same time, he announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) would be expanded to cover additional
individuals. DAPA and expanded DACA were placed on hold pending a decision by the Supreme Court. This report paints a statistical
portrait of potential beneficiaries of DAPA, DACA, and expanded DACA. What emerges from the data is a clear picture of the
deep roots potential beneficiaries of all three programs have in the U.S. (For example, 81 percent of potential DAPA beneficiaries
have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years, and 27 percent have lived in the U.S. for 20 or more years.) More than 3.7 million
undocumented immigrants-approximately 35 percent of the total U.S. undocumented population-are potential DAPA beneficiaries.
Another 1.5 million undocumented immigrants (14 percent of the total undocumented population) are potential beneficiaries
of the DACA and expanded DACA programs. This portrait includes statistics on length of residence in the U.S., education, labor
force participation rates, income level and even access to the internet (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting).
US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines
in the Mexican Undocumented Population,
Journal on Migration and Human
Security (Center for Migration Studies), 4:1 (2016), 15 pp
Author: Robert Warren
This paper seeks to show
that, contrary to widespread belief, the undocumented population has not been trending upward, but has instead been decreasing
for half a decade. The total undocumented population in the U.S. dropped to 10.9 million in 2014 - the lowest level since
2003. The undocumented population has declined by an average of almost 200,000 each year since 2008. The decline has largely
been driven by a decrease in the Mexican undocumented population, which dropped 9 percent nationally from 2010 to 2014, but
with sharper decreases in some states, e.g. California (13 percent), Illinois (23 percent), and New Jersey (14 percent).
The report contains longitudinal population data for the top 15 states of residence of undocumented Mexicans. In addition,
the report examines the undocumented population by region of origin, as well as trends from selected countries within those
regions. Sixteen countries showed declines in undocumented residents, while ten countries showed increases. The authors note
that these demographic patterns seem to run counter to speculation that the undocumented population would rise as a result
of the nation's economic recovery.
Institute, January, 2016, 35 pp.
Authors: Marc R. Rosenblum & Faye Hipsman
This paper recommends a
series of steps that the Department of Homeland Security can take to improve data-gathering on illegal migration in order
to "build credibility and win the trust and confidence of Congress and the American people." A comprehensive approach
must provide reliable information on four groups of migrants: those entering between ports of entry, e.g. crossing in remote
or unguarded areas; those entering through ports of entry, e.g. using fraudulent documents or hiding in vehicles or truck
cargo; those entering legally but overstaying their visas; and the total number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. The
report provides a general overview of the available methods for estimating each of these flows, critiques some of these methods,
and suggests new approaches, including recidivism analysis and "observational analysis," that might improve accuracy
and build confidence in the Department's work. According to the authors, simply reporting on apprehensions at the border will
not cut it. With regard to visa overstays, publication of the DHS's January 2016 visa overstay report "demonstrated (DHS's)
ability to identify overstayers among temporary visitors for business and pleasure; the next step will involve extending this
analysis to over other types of nonimmigrant visas." Of particular importance will be the need to "confront a gaping
hole at the Southwest border" and begin collecting data on southbound travelers leaving the U.S., who are not adequately
Pew Research Center, November 19, 2015, 32
Author: Ana Gonzalez-Barrera
This study calls attention to a reversal in the
pattern of migration from Mexico to the U.S. More than 16 million Mexican immigrants came to the U.S. between 1965 and 2015
-"one of the largest mass migrations in modern history." The Mexican population peaked at 12.8 million in 2007 but
fell to 11.7 million in 2014. The study finds that a majority of the 1 million Mexicans who left the U.S. between 2009 and
2014 left of their own free will. According to Mexican data, six in ten (61 percent) cited family reunification as their primary
motive for returning, whereas only 14 percent cited deportation. Other reasons for the decline in the Mexican population are
the Great Recession in the U.S., which may have thrown some Mexicans out of work and reduced the attractiveness of the U.S.
to would-be migrants, as well as increased enforcement along the southern border. Despite this contraction in Mexican migration,
a substantial number of Mexicans (35 percent) are still interested in moving to the U.S.
An Analysis of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States by Country and Region of Birth,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2015, 26 pp.
Authors: Marc R. Rosenblum
& Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
Using a methodology developed by researchers at Temple University and Pennsylvania
State University, this MPI report provides a detailed overview of the unauthorized population in the U.S. Although people
from Mexico and Central America constitute 37 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. (both authorized and unauthorized), they
represent 71 percent of the unauthorized population. Yet the composition of the unauthorized population has not remained
static over time. The researchers show how the distribution of the unauthorized population by country of origin has changed
since 1990. For example, there has been a sharp increase in the number of unauthorized from Guatemala and Honduras in recent
years, while the Mexican percentage has declined. Other groups, such as Indians, South Koreans, and Ghanaians, have also registered
large percentage increases. The report also provides data on the regional distribution of the following unauthorized groups:
Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, South Americans, Asians, Africans, people from the Caribbean, and people from
Europe, Canada, and Oceania. The report also examines participation rates in the DACA program by country-of-origin, noting,
for example, that young people from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras have application rates in excess of 80 percent, while
some Asian groups, such as Koreans, Indians, Filipinos, have rates below 30 percent.
Bipartisan Policy Center, February, 2015, 72 pp.
Author: Bryan Roberts
Despite the massive and growing investments made by the federal government in border enforcement
(now consuming 48 to 52 percent of the federal law enforcement budget), the government has yet to develop a coherent and consistent
method for measuring the effectiveness of this investment. The absence of a set of agreed-upon metrics “contributes
to the disagreements over the state of immigration enforcement.” The author distinguishes between measuring inputs,
e.g. amount of funding, number of deployed agents, or miles of fencing – numbers that are frequently reported -- and
measuring outcomes. He contends, however, that the methodology for the latter form of measurement, in part developed by private
researchers, is readily available. The metrics should cover the three forms of illegal entry: illegal entry at regular border
crossings, illegal entry between border crossings, and visa overstays. Moreover, the government should maintain data on the
size of “outflows,” including undocumented immigrants removed, adjusted to legal status, leaving of their own
accord, and deaths. “Taken together, estimates of the inflow and outflow channels could provide a ‘complete stock-and-flow
accounting’ of the unauthorized immigrant population.” This “holistic model…would help policymakers
and the public better understand the success or failure of immigration enforcement policies and implementation.”
The Facts on Immigration Today,
Center for American Progress, October, 2014, 25 pp.
The Facts on Immigration Today, updated in October 2014, covers a wide range of data points on immigration,
including basic demographic information; data on immigrant political participation; estimates of the economic impact of immigration;
details on proposed federal immigration legislation and executive actions; results of public opinion polling on immigration;
and data on unaccompanied children. The report finds that although the immigration population in the U.S. grew by 31.2 percent
between 2000 and 2012 to 13 percent of the total population, doubling its size from the 1960s, this share is still less than
the 1890 peak of 14.8 percent. At the same time, the diversity of immigrants today is unprecedented. Latinos and Asian Americans,
in particular, are becoming a significant part of the U.S. population, producing a record number of new voters who will shape
the outcome of future presidential elections. The study notes that legalization and naturalization of undocumented immigrants
would increase their wages by 15.1 percent within five years making it easier for them to access better jobs, education and
training, and to create small businesses. The report cites research from Giovanni Peri et al that shows most American
workers may benefit from immigration because immigrants tend to complement the skillset of American workers therefore making
the latter more productive. (Robert Smith for the ILC Public Education Institute)
U.S. Immigration Policy: Chart Book of Key Trends,
Congressional Research Service, December 17, 2014, 26 pp.
Author: William A. Kandel
publication provides historical data on immigration trends "that touch on the main elements of comprehensive immigration
reform." Much of the data comes from the Departments of Homeland Security and State, along with historical data
from the Census Bureau. Some of the data series span decades, other capture just a few years. The report covers a wide range
of issues, including the composition of the immigration flow by ethnicity and entry category, the number of people with approved
visa petitions who are "on line," nonimmigrant admissions, deportation statistics over time, the number of
employers enrolled in E-Verify, and civil fines and criminal penalties levied on employers hiring unauthorized workers. The
report also gives contact information for CRS staff members and their areas of immigration expertise.
Democratizing Data about Unauthorized Residents in the United States: Estimates and Public-Use
Data, 2010 to 2013,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 2:4 (2014), 18 pp.
Author: Robert Warren
paper discusses a new methodology for estimating the size and characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population in
the United States. This methodology makes it possible to produce demographic profiles for states and geographic units as small
as 100,000 persons, an important advantage over the "residual estimation techniques" used in recent years.
The main purpose of this paper is to describe the construction of the database. However, to demonstrate the effectiveness
of the methodology, the paper includes several tables showing the kinds of information that can be compiled, e.g. state breakdowns
of the unauthorized population by country of origin and trends in the growth or contraction of the unauthorized population
by world region of origin. The author suggests that immigrant-service organizations will use the database to gather the following
information: the number of unauthorized residents in the service area, their countries of origin, their native language,
their ability to speak English, how many children they have, and whether they live below the poverty line. This project
to "democratize" the data available on the undocumented population grew out of a meeting convened by the Center
for Migration Studies in 2013 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and Destinations,
Global Cities Initiative: A Joint Project of Brookings and J.P. Morgan Chase, August, 2014,
Author: Neil G. Ruiz
The number of foreign students at U.S. universities has increased almost five-fold over
the past decade and has simultaneously pumped billions of dollars into local economies. Those who stay on to work temporarily
also make substantial economic contributions by bringing unique workplace skills and connecting local companies to foreign
markets. These are the major findings of The Geography of Foreign Students in U.S. Higher Education: Origins and
Destinations. Utilizing 2001 to 2012 data on F-1 visa approvals from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
(SEVIS), this report, for the first time, measured the economic impact of foreign students on local economies rather than
on the U.S. as a whole. It finds rapid growth in the number of F-1 students overall - 110,000 in 2001 to 520,000 in 2012 -
two-thirds of whom study in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and business subjects, compared
to 48 percent of U.S.-born students. Between 2008 and 2012, most foreign students were concentrated in 118 metropolitan
areas where they contributed $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending to the local economies. On
completion of their education in the U.S., almost half were able to work in the same geographical area where they obtained
their degrees, thus providing valuable linkages to their home economies and important skills to employers. The authors suggest
that realizing the full benefit of the presence of foreign students involves leveraging their connections with home countries
to facilitate economic exchange and retaining foreign student skills by developing programs to connect graduates to local
employers. The report includes charts showing the top overseas source cities of foreign STEM students, top metropolitan areas
by "intensity" of foreign student presence, and top metropolitan areas by ability to retain students after graduation. (Denzil
Immigration: America's Demographic Edge
The Bipartisan Policy Center, January, 2014, 25 pp.
In this staff-produced
paper, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Immigration Task Force discusses the economic and geopolitical advantages
of immigration as a counterweight to fertility decline and population stagnation. In 2011, 81 of 197 countries or regions
for which the World Bank had data were below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. The situation was especially acute
in developing countries. With the "graying" of population, the elderly make up an increasingly larger share of total
population. This age imbalance places severe strain on a country's economy and social service sector, as there are fewer workers
in their productive years paying into the system and more retirees drawing benefits. The paper suggests that countries with
relatively large immigrant populations, such as the U.S., will more easily adapt to the worldwide demographic challenge. Immigrants
tend to be younger than the native-born, and significantly increase the size of the labor force. In addition, immigrants typically
have much higher birth rates than nationals, and therefore continually contribute to a country's overall population growth.
This paper presents several different country case examples within the European Union and Asia to illustrate global demographic
trends and the role of immigration in different contexts-noting that countries with positive demographic trends will likely
wield more influence within international affairs. The authors conclude that "the U.S. immigration system (is) an important
power asset....immigration policy has the potential to help the United States maintain its global political, economic, and
military primacy." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Undocumented No More: A Nationwide Analysis of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA,
Center for American Progress, September, 2013, 47 pp.
Authors: Tom K. Wong, Angela S. Garcia, Marisa Abrajano,
David FitzGerald, Karthick Ramakrishnan, & Sally Le
On the one-year anniversary of the DACA
program, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Riverside, undertook a comprehensive
examination of the successes and shortcomings of the program. Announced by President Obama on June 15th,
2012, the DACA program enables qualified undocumented youth to apply for relief from deportation for two years, after which
renewal is required every two years. Although this program does not offer applicants an opportunity for legal permanent residency
or even a pathway to citizenship, the authors note that it does provide tangible benefits for the country's undocumented youth
as the nation awaits legislative action on immigration reform. The data presented in this study illustrates that there
was a significant response to the DACA program throughout the country with 573,000 people in the application pipeline and
more than 430,000 individuals having received DACA in just over a year. However, the data also shows that successful DACA
implementation is not uniform across the states, and not all national origin groups are benefitting from this program equally.
Moreover, denial rates are higher for some national origin groups, as well as for males in general. The researchers
also found that there is a statistical correlation between the number of immigrant-serving organizations in a particular state
and the application rate in that state. However, the existence of restrictive immigration legislation in a particular
state does not seem to suppress the DACA application rate. By providing information about which groups have successfully accessed
the DACA program, and which groups have experienced barriers, and by providing state-by-state comparisons, the study provides
pertinent data for practitioners and policy makers alike. (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Multiplying Diversity: Family Unification and the Regional Origins of Late-Age Immigrants,
Paper prepared for the 2013 Annual Meetings of the Population Association of America, March 25,
2013, 40 pp.
Authors: Stacie Carr & Marta Tienda
This paper seeks to explain how the "seemingly
benign" provisions of the 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act led to an unintended "surge of
immigration from Asia" and "aggravated population aging by adding parents of U.S. citizens to the uncapped family
relatives category." The authors argue that Congress made a "gross miscalculation" of the impacts of the 1965
amendments, believing that the family reunification categories would tend to favor immigrants of European background. The
bulk of the paper calculates "family migration multipliers" (number of relatives sponsored for immigration for each
originating immigrant) for a succession of immigration cohorts broken down by region of origin. The paper also examines the
age distribution of immigrants by these various categories and suggests that current family reunification policies are leading
to undesirable results. For example, the huge backlogs in the 5th preference (adult siblings of U.S. citizens) have led to
decade-long delays in granting visas and have pushed up the arrival age of immigrants in this category. The authors conclude
that "population aging and soaring Medicare costs" are major policy concerns and that the nation can ill afford
policies that disregard "the social and economic costs of late-age migration."
Going to the Back of the Line: A Primer on Lines, Visa
Categories, and Wait Times
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2013, 12 pp.
Author: Claire Bergeron
The concept of an immigration "line" has been a contentious
point in the immigration reform debate. This brief examines the family- and employment-based immigration channels to dispel
the myth of a single immigration line. The author outlines the current visa categories for family and employment and their
annual caps and describes the two-step application and approval processes for legal permanent residence (LPR). Of the 4.4
million pending LPR cases (people whose petitions have already been approved but who have yet to receive visas), 97 percent
were applicants for family-based visas. A handful of countries account for the majority of applications and these countries,
the findings show, have extremely long wait times that may exceed 20 years in the cases of Mexico and the Philippines. Because
U.S. law allows around 226,000 green cards annually for immigrants filing through one of several family-based preference categories,
the report conservatively concludes that it would take 19 years at the current rate of approval to clear the existing backlogs
in the family-based preference categories. No one knows how many undocumented immigrants may already be waiting on one of
these lines. However, U.S. law may bar them from permanent residence by virtue of their unlawful presence in the country.
Thus, the concept of a line that undocumented immigrants can join for an easy journey toward citizenship is shown to be far
from simple. Indeed, as the author concludes, any legalization program that requires applicants to "go to the back of
the line" will be meaningless unless additional visas are made available. And under current law, if you don't have a
close family connection in the U.S., there may be no line at all. (Denzil Mohammed)
Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers
Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2012,
This Fact Sheet raises the national estimate of unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for deferred
action to 1.76 million from MPI's earlier estimate of 1.39 million. The increase reflects updated USCIS program guidelines
permitting young people lacking a high school diploma or GED certificate to re-enroll in school by the date of their application.
The estimated number of such young people is 350,000. The Fact Sheet also breaks out the potentially eligible population by
level of educational attainment: currently enrolled in K-12, high school graduate, enrolled in college, college degree, and
no high school degree/not enrolled. The authors also observe that 58 percent of prospective beneficiaries aged 15 and older
are already in the workforce and that their wages and working conditions are likely to improve if their applications are approved.
Who and Where the DREAMers are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit
from the Obama Administration's Deferred Action Initiative,
Immigration Policy Center,
July 31, 2012, 13 pp.
This report breaks down the eligible population
for Deferred Action by state, congressional district, country/region of origin, and age. Of 1.4 million potential beneficiaries
in the United States as a whole, 936,930 are in the 15 to 30 age bracket and thus immediately eligible by age. Comparable
figures for other states include: New York (70,170; 55,490), New Jersey (39,650; 28,460), and Pennsylvania (12,570; 8,580).
Nationally, 68 percent of potential beneficiaries (both immediate and future) are Mexican, while 13 percent are from other
countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The ethnic composition of the eligible population, however, varies
from state to state, and region to region. While Asians, for example, constitute only 8 percent of the eligible population
nationally, they represent 15 percent of the eligible population in New York and New Jersey and 19 percent in Pennsylvania.
Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States and Europe: The Use of
Legalization/Regularization as a Policy Tool,
Migration Policy Institute, May, 2012, 9 pp.
on previous MPI research, this paper provides a brief history of legalization programs in the U.S. and Europe. More
than 5 million unauthorized immigrants have been regularized in the European Union since 1996 -- the vast majority in the
southern tier countries of Italy, Spain, and Greece. Although leaders in northern European countries now frown on regularization
as a policy tool, policies of "toleration" have remained popular in these countries. In the U.S., more than 3.7
million unauthorized immigrants have been legalized since 1986, mainly through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
of 1986, the Cuban Adjustment Program, Cancellation of Removal, and the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief
Act. Between 1929 and 1986, more than 1.5 million undocumented people, or people on temporary visas, acquired permanent residence
in the U.S., some through the registry program. This program allows people who have resided unlawfully in the U.S. for
long periods and who meet other qualifications to adjust to permanent residence. Congress has advanced the registry year four
times since 1929: in 1940, 1958, 1965, and 1986. The current year is 1972. In addition, since 1952 Congress has acted 16 times
to grant permanent residence to persons in temporary legal status. According to the authors, ever since Congress placed
numerical restrictions on immigration in 1921, "Congress has regularly found it necessary to legalize discrete groups
that have strong equitable and humanitarian claims to remain in the United States. Many argue that the current unauthorized
population includes many residents who have similar claims and that Congress may find it necessary to pursue the legalization
option once again."
Transatlantic Trends: Immigration 2011,
The German Marshall Fund of the U.S., 2011, 30 pp.
This 2011 public opinion survey - the fourth annual survey published
by the GMF -- covers the United States and five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Despite the
global economic crisis and the migratory impact of the "Arab Spring," attitudes towards immigration remained remarkably
stable. Immigration remains a "second order concern" in all countries, with majorities indicating the "economy"
or "unemployment" as their foremost concerns. As in previous years, respondents in all countries overestimated the
number of immigrants in their respective countries, e.g. on average U.S. respondents estimated a foreign-born percentage of
37.8 percent, as compared with the real percentage of 12.5 percent. A majority of U.S. respondents, but only 34 percent
of Europeans, also thought that a majority of immigrants were in the country illegally. On both sides of the Atlantic, strong
majorities were favorable to the admission of highly educated immigrants, but opposed to immigrants with low levels of education,
yet when faced with a choice between a highly educated immigrant without a job offer, and a lower educated immigrant with
a job offer, the latter was the preference. Finally, 53 percent of Americans were supportive of birthright citizenship,
and 65 percent supported the provisions of the DREAM Act.
A Description of the Immigrant Population: An Update,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO),
After seven years, the CBO has updated its last report on the immigrant population. Relying on data
from the Department of Homeland Security and the 2009 American Community Survey, CBO has put together a revealing portrait
of the immigrant population in the U.S., with special attention to historical trends, state-by-state and ethnic comparisons,
and occupational trends. The CBO-designed figures are of particular interest. Figure 7 shows that the percentage
of foreign-born people in New Jersey increased from 15% in 1999 to more than 21% in 2009, the largest percentage increase
in the nation. At the same time, Figure 13 shows that the unauthorized population in New York and New Jersey, as a percentage
of the state population, showed no increase during this period, in contrast to states like Arizona, Georgia, Texas, which
had substantial increases.
Transatlantic Trends: Immigration 2010,
The German Marshall Fund
of the United States and other partner organizations, 2011, 39 pp.
the third year in a row, GMF has conducted a survey of public opinion on immigration-related issue in six countries
of the European Union, Canada and the United States. The 2010 survey added new questions on the impact of the recession
on attitudes regarding immigration, as well as on the extent of second generation integration. As in the past, populations
in all countries tend to overestimate the size of the immigrant population, as well as the percentage of immigrants who are
unauthorized. Majorities in all European countries, with the exception of Spain, said that immigrants were not integrating
well. North Americans were more positive, with 59% of Americans and 65% of Canadians saying that immigrants are integrating
The U.S. Foreign-Born Population: Trends and
Congressional Research Service, January 18, 2011, 34
Prepared for members and committees of Congress, this report was designed to provide "context for consideration
of immigration policy options." Relying primarily on data from the 2008 American Community Survey, the report analyzes
the geographic, demographic, social and economic characteristics of the foreign-born population in the United States. The
report covers educational attainment, English language proficiency and workforce participation rates, with breakdowns by nationality,
gender, and year of arrival.
The Impact of the Great Recession on Metropolitan Immigration Trends,
Brookings, December, 2010,
This report examines changes in the foreign-born population both nationally and in the 100 largest metropolitan
areas since the onset of the Great Recession in December, 2007. Growth has continued in some areas, such as Houston and Raleigh,
that have "weathered the recession" well. Declines have occurred in some traditional immigrant gateways, such as
New York and Los Angeles. In the country as a whole, the poverty rate for immigrants rose from 14.6% in 2007 to 16.7%
in 2009, reflecting the lay-offs of low skill workers in the construction and service and hospitality industries.
The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship,
Policy Institute, September, 2010, 11 pp
This study projects
the future size of the undocumented population in the United States under various repeal scenarios. It concludes that the
least restrictive "mother and father" version of repeal - the one introduced in the current session of Congress
- would lead to a 44% increase in the unauthorized population to 16 million in 2050. The authors also mention the possibility
of a "perpetuation of hereditary disadvantage" for later generations and include estimates as to how repeal
would impact the legal status of the 3rd and subsequent generations.