Category Archives: Immigration

Overview of State Legislation Related to Immigrants and Immigration

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

States are still tackling immigration related issues in a variety of policy arenas – More than 1,100 bills have been considered in the first quarter of 2008. This report provides a first look at introduced legislation in 2008 and presents selected examples of enacted laws relating to immigrants and refugees. This process of legislative tracking and reporting is based on a comprehensive and inclusive methodology and captures all state legislation in which immigrants – whether authorized or unauthorized, temporary migrants, aliens and refugees – are affected.

As of March 31, 2008, at least 1,106 bills have been considered in 44 states this year. Twenty-six states have enacted 44 laws and adopted 38 resolutions or memorials. This level of activity is comparable to last year, when 1,169 bills and resolutions had been introduced (as of April 13, 2007). At this time last year, 18 states had enacted 57 laws related to immigrants and immigration. State legislatures had also adopted at least 19 resolutions and memorials.

States continue to address both enforcement and integration issues related to immigrants. As in recent years, the top three areas of interest are law enforcement, employment, and identification documents.

Full Report (PDF; 119 KB)

Race, Immigration and America’s Changing Electorate

Source: William H. Frey, Brookings Institution, February 2008

From the summary:
One of the most profound changes in America’s demography this century will be its shifting race and ethnic makeup. The rise of immigration from Latin America and Asia, the higher fertility of some minorities and the slow growth of America’s aging white population will have profound impacts on the nation’s demographic profile, with important implications for the electorate. The significance of these changes on identity politics, new racial coalitions and reactions to immigration have already been seen in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. Yet, these shifts are only the tip of the iceberg of what can be expected in future election cycles as Hispanic, Asian, and Black Americans make up ever larger shares of the electorate.

This chapter discusses the shifts playing out in 2008, but with an eye toward what they will mean in the future. It begins by examining the magnitude of new minority population growth, how it differs from past election cycles, and the lag that immigrant minorities experience in translating their growth into actual voting power. It then goes on to discuss how these groups differ from each other on basic social and demographic profiles and on key political issues, with special emphasis on immigration.

Tables and graphs
Full presentation

Immigration to Play Lead Role In Future U.S. Growth – U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050

Source: Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, February 11, 2008

From the executive summary:
If current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their U.S.-born descendants, according to new projections developed by the Pew Research Center.

Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period due to the effect of new immigration, 67 million will be the immigrants themselves and 50 million will be their U.S.-born children or grandchildren.

Campaign Against ‘Kleenex Worker’ Launched

Source: Nieuws uit Amsterdam, February 3, 2008

The aim of the international campaign is to find out what is common in the experiences of migrants ranging from “temporary seasonal workers who are exploited in the fields of Andalusia in Spain; to ‘legal’ migrants who live and work every day in Eurospace; undocumented migrants working in irregular jobs in Italy or the UK, in factories or in the home, as many women do; ‘tolerated refugees’ living in an isolated ‘jungle camp’ in Northern Germany; migrants detained in a camp in Greece or Poland, or even in front of the externalised EU-borders in Morocco or Ukraine”.

International Care: R.I.’S Hospitals Look Abroad For Nurses

Source: Felice J. Freyer, Providence Journal, January 26, 2008

So far, the number of foreign nurses in Rhode Island is small. Of the 20,553 nursing licenses, only 79 belong to foreign-trained nurses, some of whom probably have not yet arrived. Rhode Island Hospital’s 20 foreign nurses work among 1,800 bedside nurses at the hospital.

But, here as elsewhere, the trend is clearly growing — held in check, at least for now, by limits on the number of visas the State Department will give out. Rhode Island Hospital has offered jobs to 133 additional foreign nurses who are waiting for visas. Kent Hospital has 26 foreign nurses “on the way.”

Nationwide, 12 percent of those who took the qualifying exam for a nursing license last year were educated overseas.

The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments

Source: Congressional Budget Office

In preparing its analysis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reviewed 29 reports published over the past 15 years that attempted to evaluate the impact of unauthorized immigrants on the budgets of state and local governments. (See the bibliography for a complete list of those reports.) CBO did not assess the data underlying those estimates or the validity of the models used to prepare them. The estimates — whether from formal studies, analyses of data on particular topics, or less-formal inquiry — show considerable consensus regarding the overall impact of unauthorized immigrants on state and local budgets. However, the scope and analytical methods of the studies vary, and the reports do not provide detailed or consistent enough data to allow for a reliable assessment of the aggregate national effect of unauthorized immigrants on state and local budgets…. After reviewing the estimates, CBO drew the following conclusions:
+ State and local governments incur costs for providing services to unauthorized immigrants and have limited options for avoiding or minimizing those costs.
+ The amount that state and local governments spend on services for unauthorized immigrants represents a small percentage of the total amount spent by those governments to provide such services to residents in their jurisdictions.
+ The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants.
+ Federal aid programs offer resources to state and local governments that provide services to unauthorized immigrants, but those funds do not fully cover the costs incurred by those governments.

Full report (PDF; 318 KB)

Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population

Source: Center for Immigration Studies

This Backgrounder provides a detailed picture of the number and socio-economic status of the nation’s immigrant or foreign-born population, both legal and illegal. The data was collected by the Census Bureau in March 2007.

Among the report’s findings:
• The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.
• Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.
• Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.
• Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.
• The largest increases in immigrants were in California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
• Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent.
• The share of immigrants and natives who are college graduates is about the same. Immigrants were once much more likely than natives to be college graduates.
• The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households.
• The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the rate for natives and their children.
• 34 percent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 percent of natives. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 71 percent of the increase in the uninsured since 1989.
• Immigrants make significant progress over time. But even those who have been here for 20 years are more likely to be in poverty, lack insurance, or use welfare than are natives.
• The primary reason for the high rates of immigrant poverty, lack of health insurance, and welfare use is their low education levels, not their legal status or an unwillingness to work.
• Of immigrant households, 82 percent have at least one worker compared to 73 percent of native households.
• There is a worker present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program.
• Immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades. In 2007, there were 10.8 million school-age children from immigrant families in the United States.
• Immigrants and natives have similar rates of entrepreneurship — 13 percent of natives and 11 percent of immigrants are self-employed.
• Recent immigration has had no significant impact on the nation’s age structure. Without the 10.3 million post-2000 immigrants, the average age in America would be virtually unchanged at 36.5 years.

Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers

Source: Immigration Policy Center

As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents.

Full text (PDF; 62 KB)

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants in the United States

Source: Aaron Terrazas, Jeanne Batalova, Velma Fan, Migration Policy Institute, October 2007

The US debate over immigration policy has raised many questions about immigrants — their origins, numbers and characteristics, as well as who has settled in which states.

This Spotlight provides answers to many of these frequently asked questions by bringing together resources from the Migration Policy Institute, the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Decennial Census, US Departments of Homeland Security and State, and Mexico’s National Population Council.