The Immigration Debate In 5 Charts

Congress is debating immigration reform, and an accelerated timeline means that the issue will likely be front and centre during Congress’ July 4 recess. 

In that time, you’ll likely hear quite a bit about lawmakers weighing in on immigration issues. 

To prepare you for that, here are five charts that get to the heart of the current immigration issue so you can know what you’re talking about. 


1. According to the Migration Policy Institute, between 2010 and 2030 first- and second-generation immigrants together are projected to account for all growth of the U.S. labour force. This is one of the motivations for a process to legitimise current immigrants. 

labour force by nativity

2. Half of all U.S. tech and engineering firms have foreign-born founders. When debating whether to expand the number of visas available to high-skill immigrants, this stat will be weighing on everyone’s mind.  


3. Every single person who comes to America to work — be they a Mexican immigrant with no college education or a highly educated student from India — brings with them a demonstrable economic surplus. If policymakers want to bolster the economy, this will be on their minds. 

immigration surplus

4. The federal budget is bracing itself for a burst of elderly Americans that will have to be supported by younger people in the workforce. The fact that the foreign-born population skews younger than the native-born population could prove to be a respite for government entitlement programs. 

foreign born native age

 5. However, there can’t be a path to citizenship without action on the border. And one of the most worrying statistics of all is the rapidly rising cost per apprehension of each arrested attempted border-crosser.

centre for American Progress

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.