Of the 323.1 million people in the United States, 43.3 million were born in other countries. Although this number is expected to grow to 78 million by 2065, we still have not reached the historic peak number of foreign-born residents of 14.8% in 1890. (Currently, 13.5% of the population were not born in the U.S.) Here are some facts about U.S. immigration:
- Immigrants add $2 trillion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Providing a path to citizenship for our 11 million undocumented immigrants would increase the GDP by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and decrease the deficit by $135 billion in the first decade. Ending DACA alone would cost the U.S. $433.4 billion in GDP and would reduce contributions to Medicare and Social Security by $24.6 billion in 10 years.
- More Mexican immigrants are returning to Mexico than remaining in the U.S., and building a wall would cost more than $67 billion.
- In 2014, two-thirds of undocumented immigrants entered the country legally, with a visa, and overstayed.
- Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S. born citizens.
- Undocumented immigrants pay tens of billions of dollars into Social Security, Medicare, and state and local taxes. They contribute more than they receive.
Our economy, our growth, and our success depend on a progressive immigration policy that recognizes the importance of all people and supports inclusivity. We must end the criminalization of immigration by closing costly deportation centers and investing in a system that treats people as human beings. We must provide a defined and accessible path to citizenship for people wishing to make the United States their permanent home, and stop pouring money into a system that destroys families and allows us to turn our backs on people who believe in the American Dream.
As American Baby Boomers retire from the workforce and collect their earned benefits in greater numbers, we are dependent on immigrants for a renewed workforce and contribution to a strong U.S. economy. Historically, immigrants improve their lives as they integrate into American society. They, their children, and grandchildren are likely to own homes, go to college, and start businesses. For centuries, people from all over the world have chosen to live in a country that celebrates freedom and opportunity. My own family members traveled from Scotland, Italy, Lithuania, and Switzerland to become farmers, engineers, and public servants. Most important, they became Americans. Let us work together to strengthen the American Dream for generations and make the United States a beacon of freedom and opportunity.