2017 in Retrospect: Immigration Trends and the Contributions of Immigrants to the US economy

Over the past 12 months, with the new administration, we have seen some important changes in the way our government handles and views immigration.

The changes included:

  • Five days into his presidency, President Trump signed two executive orders. The first detailed the construction of a wall and more detention facilities, including hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. Shortly thereafter, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security outlined a plan to implement the executive order by issuing a memorandum which called for a massive expansion in detention.
  • The second executive order announces a massive expansion in interior enforcement and defined enforcement priorities very broadly, putting all unauthorized individuals and some individuals with a criminal history at risk of deportation. This executive order allowed for the hiring of 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, an increase in federal-local enforcement partnerships, limits on federal grants to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, reinstatement of the Secure Communities information-sharing program, and new enforcement priorities.
  • In September, the administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which was passed in 2013 and was aimed at young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The program allowed nearly 800,000 “Dreamers” to work legally in the United States without fear of being deported.

The good news is that, aside from the above, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has not changed the law, rules or regulations. Some people have reported longer waiting times when waiting for a response or final decision on an application. This may be due to an increase in applications, particularly as more people strive to obtain security in the current climate of uncertainty surrounding immigration and naturalization in the United States.

In this climate, it’s important to remember how to stand apart from the rhetoric and consider the actual effect immigration has on the U.S. economy, which is, overwhelmingly, a positive one.

Here are some little known facts about the economic impact of immigrants on the United States:

  • In the long run, immigration has a net positive effect on the U.S. economy. Taking into account first, second, and third generation immigrants, the average net impact of each person was a $900 contribution.
  • Added up, this has a large, positive impact on the country. In 2016, immigrants added an estimated $2 trillion to the U.S. economy.
  • Immigrants help us to spur innovation. While immigrants are often associated with menial jobs in the public imagination, more than 40% of companies on the Fortune 500 list in 2010 were founded by immigrants or their children.
  • Immigrants complement U.S. workers. Despite all the talk of “taking jobs from Americans” research shows that immigrants have different skill sets and tend to work in different fields than American citizens with the same level of education.

As a country founded by immigrants, we should be questioning misguided opinions about the dangers of immigration and immigrants. As we’ve seen again and again from the data, the vast majority of immigrants living in, or seeking to live in the U.S., are decent people who are looking to work hard and contribute to our society.

Have a question about the immigration law or the changes that have occurred? Contact us today to set up an appointment!