Immigration: The Numbers Matter

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 79

By John Wahala and Steven A. Camarota on November 10, 2022

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Listen to "Immigration: The Numbers Matter" on Spreaker.


The foreign-born are set to become a larger share of the population than at any time in U.S. history. It is time for a national conversation on what this means for our schools, infrastructure, natural environment, healthcare system, and labor market.

Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research sits down with John Wahala, the Center’s assistant director, to talk about his recent analysis of government data that shows that the total immigrant population (legal and illegal) is almost 48 million, a record high in American history and an estimated 2.9 increase since President Biden was sworn into office. About one-quarter of the foreign-born population are in the country illegally. What exactly does the data reveal?

These enormous numbers also mean a growing impact on the country. Camarota ponders the country’s absorption capacity while he outlines today’s labor market crisis among the working-age who are without a college degree and the social problems connected to non–work.

The most important immigration issue is the numbers because the implications for the U.S. are far reaching. So, why aren’t we discussing these record-breaking numbers?


John Wahala is the Assistant Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Steven Camarota is the Director of Research of the Center for Immigration Studies


Foreign-Born Population Hits Nearly 48 Million in September 2022


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".