Births to Unmarried Mothers by Nativity and Education

Immigrants account for a large share of births in the United States. Almost one in four births (22.6 percent) in 2015 were to foreign-born mothers. As recently as 1990 it was just 7.9 percent. As a share of all births, the figure for 2015 may be the in highest American history. In 1910, the last peak in immigration, immigrants accounted for 21.9 percent of births. The tables below examine births by the education, race, and marital status of mothers based on 2015 data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The data reflect what is shown on certifications as reported by the states to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Topics: Current Numbers

Even Cato Agrees: A Border Wall Can Pay for Itself

In a recent report published by the Center for Immigration Studies, I examined the fiscal costs of illegal immigrants who cross the border based on estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). I then estimated how many illegal border-crossers a wall would have to stop or deter to pay for itself.Last week Cato Institute authors Alex Nowrasteh and David Bier published a blog post criticizing my analysis. For the most part, their comments reflect their opinions concerning the marginal impact of things like the cost of more Border Patrol agents or whether state and local costs should count, rather than actually addressing the real cost of a wall. One interesting point they argue is that illegal immigrants are somewhat more educated than I estimated, but they do not explain how they created their estimates and I have not been able to replicate their numbers. Nonetheless, the Cato authors still find that illegal border-crossers cost $43,444 during their lifetimes, or $4.3 billion per 100,000. So, despite the Cato blog post being titled "The Border Wall Cannot Pay for Itself", their own cost estimates would simply mean that a border wall would have to stop 16 to 20 percent of those expected in the next decade to pay for itself (as opposed to 9 to 12 percent in my estimate).
Topics: Border Wall

'The Case Against Immigration' in the Journal 'Foreign Affairs'

From a piece by me posted today at the Foreign Affairs site:In the United States, there is strong evidence that the national interest has not been well served by the country’s immigration policy over the last five decades. Even as levels of immigration have approached historic highs, debate on the topic has been subdued, and policymakers and opinion leaders in both parties have tended to overstate the benefits and understate or ignore the costs of immigration. It would make a great deal of sense for the country to reform its immigration policies by more vigorously enforcing existing laws, and by moving away from the current system, which primarily admits immigrants based on family relationships, toward one based on the interests of Americans.

Survey Highlights Popularity of Immigration Enforcement

Using neutral language, a new poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted November 1-3 by Pulse Opinion Research for the Center for Immigration Studies shows that the public wants immigration laws enforced, and the level of legal immigration reduced. Unlike many other polls, which give the public the false choice of mass deportation or a "path to citizenship", this poll asked respondents if they support causing illegal immigrants to leave the country by enforcing the law. A majority of the public supported this approach; and a majority or plurality supported it among almost all demographic groups, including Hispanics. Moreover, a majority of Americans want a level of legal immigration significantly lower than the current level; few want the kinds of increases contained in the Gang of Eight bill from 2013.
Topics: Current Numbers

The Demographic, Economic, and Fiscal Impact of Immigration

Below is a PowerPoint presentation I used at an event in New York City last week organized by Impact New York. The presentation deals with the demographic, economic, and fiscal impact of immigration. As I get a lot of questions about these topics, I thought this PowerPoint might be a useful overview. Anyone who wishes to do so may download it and distribute it, with attribution.

Topics: Current Numbers

Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children

The nation's immigrant (foreign-born) population has grown considerably in recent decades. In 2014, the number stood at over 42 million based on the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). In addition to the immigrants themselves, there are also their U.S.-born children. The ACS does not ask respondents about their parents' birthplace, but the bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) does. There are 16.7 million U.S.-born children (under age 18) with either an immigrant father or mother living in the country. The table below reports figures by sending regions and other categories. In total, 59 million immigrants and their children under age 18 live in the United States, accounting for roughly one in six U.S. residents.

Failing to Meet the Challenge of Educating Children of Immigrants

After the federal government released the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress — the "Nation's Report Card" — we noted that children from poor families and from households that do not speak English continue to struggle. School quality certainly matters, but at present our school system's ability to raise the achievement level of at-risk children is limited. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on how to turn things around.

It seems very likely that immigration policy is exacerbating these challenges. Almost one in three students receiving free or reduced-priced school lunch — a common measure of poverty — is from an immigrant-headed household, as are 73 percent of children who speak a language other than English at home.