Asst. Professor
Department of Management SGRRITS

Immigration is the international movement of people into a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle or reside there, especially as permanent residents or naturalized citizens, or to take- up employment as a migrant worker or temporarily as a foreign worker.

When people cross national borders during their migration, they are called migrants or immigrants (from Latin: migrare, wanderer) from the perspective of the country which they enter. From the perspective of the country which they leave, they are called emigrant or outmigrant.[4] Sociology designates immigration usually as migration (as well as emigration accordingly outward migration).

Immigrants are motivated to leave their former countries of citizenship, or habitual residence, for a variety of reasons, including a lack of local access to resources, a desire for economic prosperity, to find or engage in paid work, to better their standard of living,family reunificationretirementclimate or environmentally induced migration, exile, escape from prejudice, conflict or natural disaster, or simply the wish to change one’s quality of lifeCommuterstourists and other short-term stays in a destination country do not fall under the definition of immigration or migration, seasonal labour immigration is sometimes included.

In 2013 the United Nations estimated that there were 231,522,215 immigrants in the world (apx. 3.25% of the global population). The United Arab Emirates has the largest proportion of immigrants in the world, followed by Qatar.

The immigration, as a decision made by a person is an act that occurs, because of some factors especially in the under developed countries and the most important causes or reasons are mainly social reasons, political reasons and economic reasons.
Social Reasons
– For the first reason which is the social one , the underdeveloped countries know and suffer from crisis at the economic level, this factor leads the people to immigrates abroad in order to gain money , and find a work. Also, poverty leads many people and pushes them to search for a work and gain money to solve their problems and afford their needs, but this isn’t available or easy to reach in their home country, so that they choose to travel abroad where the work is available and the cost of living isn’t rising, and where they can improve their social situation.
Political Reasons For the second reason, which is political, and as we know, in some countries especially the underdeveloped one there is some civil wars between the citizenship, this fact means that there is no peace in that country and automatically we know that when there is no peace there is no normal life, because when the war start it damaged anything and everyone who is in front of it, and because of all that some people choose to travel abroad and avoid any trouble caused by the war.
Economic Reasons– At last, and for the third reason, which is the economic one, the most underdeveloped countries suffer from the low salaries that the workers get, which push many of them to think of the immigration .Also, those countries don’t afford for all the people enough jobs especially for the younger’s that are considered as new comers to the job market where they shocked when they discover that there isn’t enough jobs for them and so that their decision will be surely to travel abroad or to immigrate definitively . But the most dangerous problem is that some younger’s travel even if they have high degrees in different domains and this will leads those countries to fall in the problem of BRAIN DRAIN, so that their immigration could be a great loss for their countries, especially in a time where there countries are in a great need for their knowledge.

Here in the US, there’s been a lot of talk recently on immigration. The debate is raging over President Obama’s new series of executive actions that will grant up to 5 million undocumented immigrants protection from deportation. Naturally, this kind of boldness has created quite the ruckus, as his opponents insist he has gone too far. And outside of Washington DC, discussions over immigration are just as heated.

Freedom of speech is one of the most important aspects of our constitution, and lively discourse is the only way to arrive at a thoughtful conclusion. But, how can we talk about these types of issues if we don’t have the facts? For this reason, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why different groups of people choose to immigrate.

Causes of Immigration

Pundits from various disciplines have multiple reasons as to why people immigrate…

  • Financially Secured Future: When we see it from an economist point of view, the picture is quite clear – people immigrate to gain ‘Financial Stability and Better Future Prospects.’ It is as simple as that! Here is an example – if another country is offering better future anticipations, higher wages and a polished lifestyle, any person would think of immigrating to the other country! And why not!
  • High Standard of Living: Now some people give high emphasis on ‘High Standard of Living.’ It is often seen that parents send their children abroad to attain a better lifestyle. The reality is that they try their level-best to provide better career prospects and lifestyle to their children which they themselves might not have acquired in their lives. And ‘immigration’ is the perfect answer to their concerns.
  • Education: Other countries are attired with a huge range of educational opportunities. Be it top-class universities, high schools, colleges, professional institutes or no matter what, students can get themselves enrolled in any of them in accordance with their preference levels. Parents sometimes make the difficult decision to migrate so that their children can benefit from things like superior education, and plentiful job opportunities.
  • Start of a Series: If sociologists are to be believed, it is a chain of events. The first person immigrates and sends “Happily Settled” information to his loved ones living in the native country. And then what… others also immigrate to the same country (or probably a better one) to enhance their future prospects.
  • Political Reasons: In addition, a wide range of political reasons are arrayed with the term ‘immigration.’ People immigrate to maintain a global presence amongst various countries. Moreover, few think that they are not decked with ample political freedom, so they immigrate to other countries in search of the same. Some change their citizenship to gain a new identity, some to get political rights and others for a better living ambiance.
  • Needs of Different Personalities: Every person is decked with a different persona. Extroverts and work-oriented personalities and are more likely to immigrate alone as compared to those who are introvert and family-oriented. The later ones have higher chances of immigrating with their families, rather than alone!
  • To escape conflict or violence

In many countries, but not the United States, families and individuals who immigrate to escape conflicts like war and violence can be considered for refugee status or asylum.

  • To find refuge after being displaced due to environmental factors

Natural disasters, erosion, and other environmental factors caused by climate change are real threats that disproportionately affect people living in poverty. In fact, Christian Aid reports that 1 billion people could be displaced in the next 50 years as the effects of climate change worsen.

People who fit this description are dubbed climate “refugees,” but the name does not necessarily imply they have, or can receive, refugee status. As this is a newer phenomenon, many countries are still trying to determine how to respond to this growing issue.

  • To escape past or future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion

In most countries, and in the United States, families and individuals who meet this tain refugee status or asylum. Now, here’s the difference: refugees must secure their status prior to entering the country of choice, where as asylum seekers seek status upon arrival. A complex differentiation that causes a lot of confusion in the process to get people to safety.

  • To seek superior healthcare

Imagine living in a country with limited access to healthcare when you’re suffering from serious health problems. Not fun.

  • For jobs and business opportunities

In some cases, people migrate with the knowledge or hope that more opportunities will be available to them in their particular field than at home. Others migrate after employment has already been offered to them.

  • To escape poverty

In order to get rid of poverty, people have to migrate from one place to another. Diversity can create a dilemma and people opt to escape poverty by opting the culture of other countries where they can be economically benefited.

  • Marriage

In today’s globalized world, long-distance dating is all the rage. But, for couples ready to take the next step down the aisle, migrating to be together is the obvious choice (and a lot easier on the wallet.)

One of the economic benefits of immigration is that the diversity of the population is enhanced. Diversity, it is argued, enriches the environment in which individuals live and trade and may contribute to greater creativity. What does diversity mean? Do current immigration policies enhance diversity? To the extent that there are gains from diversity, they come through the interaction of individuals from one culture or background with individuals from another. A good partner in the interaction has different skills, has skills that are relevant to one’s own activity, and is a person with whom one can communicate. The argument in favor of diversity is evaluated both theoretically and empirically using the 1990 Census. Diversity cannot be the justification of U.S. immigration policy. Indeed, current immigration policy fails to promote diversity. Further, the results suggest that our immigration policy has resulted in differences in the characteristics of immigrants that reflect the effects of selection as much as they do the underlying characteristics of the populations from which the immigrants are drawn. Balanced immigration, perhaps implemented through the sale of immigration slots, would do more to enrich the diversity of the US population.

With ageing populations in the rich nations and booming labour forces in poor nations, immigration is sure to be a critical policy issue for decades. This column presents research that casts new light on the issue, showing that diversity of immigrants’ origin matters along with their numbers and skill levels. Europeans need to start thinking about immigration as a major, long-term economic policy question that deserves a long-term policy approach. They should move away from the Band-Aid approach that sees policy driven by current events.

  • More than 1 million immigrants became legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States in 2011.
  • Of the new US residents, 14% came from Mexico, 7.9% from China, and 6.4% from India.
  • As of 2013, the Obama administration had removed nearly 2 million immigrants, the highest number under any president.
  • The immigration process allows priority to foreign nationals who have a close family relationship with a US citizen or LPR, have needed work skills, have refugee or asylee status, or are native of countries with low immigration rates to the US.
  • Every year, more than half of new LPRs are current residents whose status is changed to permanent.
  • Including orphans, nearly 8% of all new LPRs in 2011 were children with immediate relatives as current citizens in the US, and 33.2% of immigrants were under the age of 25.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, more than 70% of immigrants came from Asia and North America every year.
  • More than 550,000 LPRs in 2011 were women and more than 600,000 were married individuals.
  • By 2026, it is predicted that the government will have a shortage of 20 million workers.
  • In the US, 5 states have become minority-majority, which means that less than half of the population of that state is non-Hispanic white and the minorities combined have become the majority.
  • For the first time in 2012, the majority of babies under age 1 were black, Hispanic, Asian, or another non-white race.

June, 2015 marks the second annual Immigrant Heritage Month, when Americans celebrate their immigrant roots and tell their families’ stories of sacrifice and contribution. Woven together, these stories form the backbone of the United States. To mark Immigrant Heritage Month, here are 10 things you need to know about immigrants today:

  1. There are 41 million foreign-born individuals living in the United States. Together, this group makes up 12.9 percent of the overall population. This percentage is still well below the 1890 high point for immigration, when 14.8 percent of the population was foreign born.
  2. The majority of the foreign-born are from Latin America and Asia, with a small number arriving from Europe and Africa. As of 2013, roughly 52 percent of U.S. immigrants were born in Latin America, close to 30 percent in Asia, 11.6 percent in Europe, and 4.4 percent in Africa.
  3. Latinos and Asian Americans are a growing segment of the American electorate. In 2012, Latinos comprised 11 percent of eligible voters, with Asian Americans making up 6 percent. By 2024, these two groups are expected to rise to 15 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
  4. Immigrants play a significant role in the U.S. economy. Studies have found that immigrants are more likely than native-born Americans to start and own businesses, and U.S. immigrants or their children have started 40 percent of Fortune 500 businesses.
  5. Immigrants play a significant role in the U.S. economy. Studies have found that immigrants are more likely than native-born Americans to start and own businesses, and U.S. immigrants or their children have started 40 percent of Fortune 500 businesses.
  6. There were 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in the United States as of January 2012. This is a decline from the estimated population of 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in 2007. Additionally, 16.6 million people live in mixed-status families that contain both authorized and unauthorized family members, including 5.5 million American-born children.
  7. As of March 2015, close to 750,000 people have applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, and 665,000 people have had their applications approved. DACA has significantly and positively affected the lives of those who have received the temporary status: A Harvard University study found that 60 percent of DACA beneficiaries reported obtaining new jobs and 45 percent reported increased wages. Additionally, 57 percent of DACA beneficiaries have obtained a driver’s license, giving them more mobility and flexibility to help support both themselves and their families.
  8. An additional 5 million parents and DREAMers will receive temporary work permits and relief from deportations under the deferred action programs. The 2012 introduction of DACA, the 2014 DACA expansion, and the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, program will keep families together and give piece of mind to millions of people across the country. Nearly 3 million of those eligible are from Mexico and Central America, with an additional 630,000 from Asia.
  9. The deferred action programs will significantly boost the U.S. economy. Over the next 10 years, the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, will increase by an estimated cumulative $230 billion. As the economy grows, Americans will also see their incomes increase by a cumulative $124 billion over a decade, and an average of 29,000 jobs will be created per year for all Americans.
  10. Undocumented immigrants paid $11.84 billion in state and local taxes in 2012. If the deferred action directives were to be fully implemented, state and local tax revenue would increase by an estimated additional $845 million a year.

Immigrants are an important part of the U.S. economy and American society. To supercharge these contributions, the DACA expansion and DAPA program—which are both currently held up in the courts—need to move forward in order to provide a temporary but much needed sense of relief for millions of American families. Ultimately, Congress must pass a permanent pathway to citizenship. This will add an estimated cumulative $1.2 trillion to the U.S. GDP over 10 years, increase the income of all Americans by an estimated cumulative $625 billion over 10 years, and create as many as 145,000 new jobs per year. Fixing the American immigration system will ensure that all people living in the country can maximize their potential and contribute to a shared American prosperity.

Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians constitute large and growing shares of the U.S. workforce, tax base, business community, and electorate. Immigrants (the foreign-born) account for one out of every eight people in the United States, and one out of every six workers. Almost one half (46.7%) of immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote. “New Americans”—immigrants and the children of immigrants—account for one in nine registered voters. Moreover, one out of every five people in the country is Latino or Asian. Together, Latinos and Asians (both foreign-born and native-born) wield $2 trillion in consumer purchasing power, and the businesses they owned had sales of $857 billion and employed 4.7 million workers at last count. Immigrant, Latino, and Asian workers, taxpayers, and entrepreneurs are integral to the U.S. economy—and they are a potent electoral force.

1 in 8 people in the United States is an immigrant

  • The foreign-born share of the U.S. population rose from 7.9% in 1990, to 11.1% in 2000, to 13.1% in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The United States was home to 41.3 million immigrants in 2013, which is more than the total population of either California or Canada.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of the foreign-born population came from Mexico as of 2013. More than a quarter (29.5%) came from Asian countries, while 11.6% came from European countries, 9.6% from the Caribbean, 7.7% from Central America, 6.7% from South America, and 4.4% from Africa, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Approximately 46.7% of the foreign-born were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2013.
  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 3.5% of the population (or 11.2 million people) in 2012, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
  • There were 4.5 million native-born, U.S.-citizen children with at least one parent who was an unauthorized immigrant in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • 22.7% of all children in the United States (16.8 million) had parents who were immigrants as of 2009, according to the Urban Institute. Of these children, 85.9% were U.S. citizens.
  • 82.2% of children with immigrant parents were considered “English proficient” as of 2009, according to data from the Urban Institute.

1        in 5 people in the United States is Latino or Asian.

  • The Latino share of the U.S. population grew from 9% in 1990, to 12.5% in 2000, to 17.1% (or 54 million people) in 2013. The Asian share of the population grew from 2.8% in 1990, to 3.6% in 2000, to 5.1% (or 16 million) in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • More than one-third (35%) of Latinos and two-thirds (66%) of Asians were foreign-born in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Nearly one-quarter (22%, or 16.3 million) of all children in the United States in 2010 were Latino, according to the Urban Institute.
  • More than half (57.9%) of Latino children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent, according to the Urban Institute.

Immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are large and growing shares of the U.S. electorate

  • In 2012, 11.8% (or 18.1 million) of all registered voters were “New Americans”—naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965—according to an analysis of 2012 Census Bureau data by the American Immigration Council.
  • Of these, 15.2 million voted in 2012, representing 11.4 percent of all those who voted.
  • 10.7 million registered voters were naturalized citizens, while 7.3 million were “post-1965” children of immigrants.
  • Latinos accounted for 8.4% (or 11.2 million) of U.S. voters in the 2012 elections, and Asians 2.9% (3.9 million), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

1        in 6 workers in the U.S. is an immigrant

  • The nation’s 26.3 million foreign-born workers comprised 16.5% of the labor force in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In 2014, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to be employed in service occupations (24.1% vs. 16.4%); in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (15.6% vs. 11.2%); and in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (13.7% vs. 8.4%), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unauthorized immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy

  • Unauthorized immigrants comprised 5.1% of the U.S. workforce (or 8.1 million workers) in 2012, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
  • If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from the United States, the country would lose $551.6 billion in economic activity, $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 2.8 million jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a 2008 report by the Perryman Group.
  • A 2010 report from the American Immigration Council and Center for American Progress estimates that deporting all unauthorized immigrants from the country and somehow “sealing the border” to future unauthorized immigration would reduce U.S. GDP by 1.46% annually—or $2.6 trillion in lost GDP over 10 years. Moreover, the U.S. economy would shed large numbers of jobs.

Unauthorized immigrants pay taxes

  • Unauthorized immigrants in the United States paid $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012, including $7.1 billion in sales taxes, $1.1 billion in personal income taxes, and $3.6 billion in property taxes, according to data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
  • Were unauthorized immigrants in the United States to have lawful permanent residence, they would pay $14.1 billion in state and local taxes, including $7.8 billion in sales taxes, $2.3 billion in personal income taxes, and $4 billion in property taxes.

The purchasing power of Latino and Asian consumers totaled $1.9 trillion in 2012

  • Together, Latinos and Asians accounted for 16% of the nation’s total purchasing power, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia.
  • The purchasing power of Latinos totaled $1.3 trillion in 2014 (an increase of 495% since 1990), and is projected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2019.
  • The purchasing power of Asians totaled $770 billion in 2014 (an increase of 567% since 1990), and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2019.

Latino and Asian businesses had sales of $857 billion and employed 4.7 million workers in 2007

  • Together, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians comprised 14% of all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners.
  • The nation’s 2.3 million Latino-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $350.7 billion and employed 1.9 million people in 2007.
  • The nation’s 1.5 million Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $506 billion and employed 2.8 million people in 2007.
  • New entrepreneurs in the U.S. are also becoming increasingly diverse, according to the 2015 Kauffman index on startup activity. More than 40% of new entrepreneurs are comprised of Black, Latino, Asian, and other non-white entrepreneurs, with most of the rise coming from Latino (22.1% of new entrepreneurs) and Asian entrepreneurs (6.8% of new entrepreneurs).

Immigrant business owners contribute greatly to the United States’ entrepreneurial ecosystem

  • From 2006 to 2010, there were 2.4 million new immigrant business owners in the U.S. who had total net business income of $121 billion (15% of all net business income in the U.S.), according to Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • In 2013, 18% of business owners in the United States were foreign-born, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute and Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Furthermore, 28% of “Main Street” business owners—owners of businesses in the retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services sectors—in the U.S. were foreign-born in 2013.
  • According to the 2015 index on startup activity from the Kauffman Foundation, immigrant entrepreneurs now account for 28.5% of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S., which is up from 13.3% in the 1997 index.
  • Immigrants continue to be nearly twice as likely as the native-born to become entrepreneurs, with the rate of new entrepreneurs being 0.52% for immigrants, compared to 0.27% for the native-born, according to Kauffman’s 2015 index.

Immigrants are integral to the U.S. economy as students

  • The 886,052 foreign students who were in the country during the 2013-2014 academic year contributed $26.8 billion to the economy in tuition, fees, and living expenses, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Additionally, international students and their families contributed to creating or supporting 340,000 jobs. For every 7 international students enrolled, 3 U.S. jobs are created or supported by spending occurring in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance.
  • Foreign students contribute to metropolitan areas in the U.S. From 2008 to 2012, according to the Brookings Institution, 85% of foreign students pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher in the U.S. attended colleges or universities in 118 metro areas, and they paid $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in living costs.
  • Foreign students also contribute to innovation in the U.S. In 2009, “non-resident aliens” comprised 39.8% of master’s degrees and 44.7% of doctorate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy.


Myth #1: Immigrants are overrunning our country, and most are here illegally.

The Facts:

It is true that there are more immigrants living in the U.S. than ever before.  However, the percentage of immigrants in the overall population is not much different than many other times throughout our history. Today immigrants make up approximately13% of the total U.S. population.  From 1900 to 1930, immigrants made up between 12% and 15% of the population, and similar spikes occurred in the 1850s and 1880s.  During those periods immigrants successfully became part of American society, helping to build the thriving and diverse country we have now, and there is no reason to believe today’s immigrants will be any different.

More than sixty percent of immigrants in the United States today have lived here for at least 15 years, and a large majority of immigrants have lawful status. Of the approximately 41 million immigrants in the U.S. in 2013 (the most recent year for which there are statistics), close to 47 percent were naturalized citizens. Together, lawful permanent residents (sometimes referred to as green card holders), people in the United States on temporary visas including student and work visas, refugees and people seeking asylum, and undocumented immigrants made up the remaining 53 percent of immigrants.

In 2014 there were approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S., which is actually a significant decrease from the 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2007.  Today, in fact, the net migration from Mexico (the number of people entering the U.S. from Mexico minus the number of people leaving the U.S. to go to Mexico) is around zero.  Undocumented immigrants make up about 3.5 percent of the nation’s total population.

Myth #2: Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.

The Facts:

Recently, public figures have claimed that immigrants are “killers” and “rapists,” bringing crime to the U.S. Study after study has shown, however, that immigrants—regardless of where they are from, what immigration status they hold, and how much education they have completed—are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes or become incarcerated. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply between 1990 and 2010, the violent crime rate in the U.S. during that time plummeted 45 percent and the property crime rate dropped by 42 percent. Studies have consistently found that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans and that there was no correlation between crime rates and levels of immigration.  Other studies have in fact found that crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.

Myth #3: Immigrants hurt our country financially by taking jobs and services without paying taxes.

The Facts:

Though some people claim that immigrants are taking job opportunities away from people born in the U.S., immigrants actually help to create new jobs.  In addition to buying American and local products, which helps create jobs, immigrants often start their own businesses.  In fact, immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as citizens born in the U.S., and companies owned by immigrants are more likely to hire employees than companies owned by native-born citizens. States with large numbers of immigrants report lower unemployment for everyone.  

Immigrants collectively pay between $90 and $140 billion each year in taxes, and a recent study found that undocumented immigrants alone paid more than $11.8 billion in taxes in 2012.  Everyone pays sales taxes on goods they purchase and property taxes on the homes they buy or rent, and more than half of all undocumented immigrant households file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers.

Myth # 4: Immigrants are coming to the U.S. to obtain welfare and other benefits.

The Facts:

Most immigrants who come to this country work hard to take care of their families and themselves. Many studies have shown that on average immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, meaning the taxes they pay more than cover the cost of things like public education and healthcare.

With very few exceptions (such as access to medical care for victims of human trafficking), undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps.  In addition, most immigrants with lawful status are not entitled to these benefits until they have been in the country for five years or longer.  This means that Social Security is often being deducted from immigrants’ paychecks but they cannot access those benefits.

Myth #5: Immigrants are coming to the U.S. with the express purpose of having babies here.

The Facts:

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”  People commonly refer to this right as “birthright citizenship.” Some claim that undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. to take advantage of this right.  Research consistently shows, however, that the vast majority of immigrants (both with lawful status and those who are undocumented) come to the U.S. for economic opportunity or to flee violence or poverty in their birth countries.  Immigration trends—both over the last few decades and throughout history—show that immigration increases when the U.S. economy is booming and it decreases when the U.S. economy is doing less well, supporting the findings that people come for economic opportunity.

If people were coming to the U.S. with the express purpose of having children here, we would expect to see at least the same number of women as men. There are many more young immigrant men coming to the U.S., however, than young women.

Under U.S. law, U.S. citizens cannot petition for a green card for a foreign parent until they turn 21 years old. In the meantime, the parent would have to live as an undocumented immigrant, often in very difficult conditions.  When asked why they come to the U.S., undocumented immigrants consistently cite other reasons for migrating, not the desire to have a baby here.

Myth # 6: Immigrants are bringing diseases into the U.S.

The Facts:

Although people have claimed that undocumented immigrants have brought diseases to the U.S., including measles, hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, and even ebola, the allegations are not supported by science or medicine.  There is no evidence that immigrants have been the source of any modern outbreaks in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization, 113 countries, including many countries in Latin America, have higher vaccination rates for 1-year-olds than the U.S.  Mexico, for example, has a 99 percent vaccination rate for measles while Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have around a 93 percent vaccination rate. The vaccination rate in the U.S., by comparison, is approximately 92 percent. The vast majority of immigrants arriving in the U.S. have been screened for health issues.

Myth #7: Terrorists are infiltrating the U.S. by coming across the border with Mexico.

The Facts:

There is no evidence that terrorists are entering the U.S. through the border with Mexico.  The Department of Homeland Security has said that “the suggestion that individuals that have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or facts on the ground.”  According to a 2015 report by the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, “there are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico, despite several erroneous reports to the contrary during 2014.”  In fact, the vast majority of U.S. residents linked to terror since 2002 are U.S. citizens.

Myth #8: All undocumented immigrants sneak across the Mexican border.

The Facts:

Although many people commonly think of undocumented immigrants as people who have snuck across the Mexican border, somewhere between one third and one half of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have overstayed their visitor, student, or work visas.  That means that they entered the U.S. with lawful documentation and only later became undocumented.

Myth #9: We can stop undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. by building a wall along the border with Mexico.

The Facts:

A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective.  The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long.  It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains.  Rivers flow along two thirds of the border.  Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell the land.  The logistics alone make building a wall very difficult, if not impossible.

From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, history shows us that people find ways to cross walls.  Experts predict that a wall along the entire length of the border would lead coyotes—human smugglers who charge migrants high rates to cross the border—to dig tunnels and create breaches.  This would increase smuggling prices, making the process simply more lucrative for those exploiting migrants.

As long as there is poverty and suffering in other parts of the world, people will continue to come to the U.S. to seek a better life, no matter how big a wall we build.  The U.S. prides itself on being a “nation of immigrants,” and on the values of fairness and equality.  It is possible to create a process for addressing immigration that treats immigrants with dignity and respect instead of as criminals.


The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. But the origin countries of unauthorized immigrants have shifted, with the number from Mexico declining since 2009 and the number from elsewhere rising, according to new Pew Research Center estimates.

Here are five facts about the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S.

1 There were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014, a total unchanged from 2009 and accounting for 3.5% of the nation’s population. The number of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, when this group was 4% of the U.S. population.

2 Mexicans made up 52% of all unauthorized immigrants in 2014, though their numbers had been declining in recent yearsThere were 5.8 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. that year, down from 6.4 million in 2009, according to the new Pew Research Center estimates.

3 The number of unauthorized immigrants from nations other than Mexico grew by 325,000 since 2009, to an estimated 5.3 million in 2014. Populations went up most for unauthorized immigrants from Asia and Central America, but the number also ticked up for those from sub-Saharan Africa. Increases in the number of unauthorized immigrants from other countries mostly offset the decline in the number from Mexico.

4 Six states accounted for 59% of unauthorized immigrants in 2014: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. But some state populations had changed since 2009, despite the stable trend at the national level. From 2009 to 2014, the unauthorized immigrant population decreased in seven states: Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina. In all of them, the decline was due to a decrease in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico. In six states, the unauthorized immigrant population rose over the same time period: Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. In all of these but Louisiana, the increases were due to growth in unauthorized immigrant populations from nations other than Mexico. In Louisiana, it was an increase in Mexican unauthorized immigrants that drove the overall increase in the number of unauthorized immigrants.

5 A rising share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade. About two-thirds (66%) of adults in 2014 had been in the U.S at least that long , compared with 41% in 2005. A declining share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for less than five years – 14% of adults in 2014, compared with 31% in 2005. In 2014, unauthorized immigrant adults had lived in the U.S. for a median of 13.6 years, meaning that half had been in the country at least that long. Only 7% of Mexican unauthorized immigrants had been in the U.S. for less than five years in 2014, compared with 22% of those from all other countries.