Assessing Immigration to America

The economic and social consequences of America’s immigration policies – both deliberate and by default – are among the most hotly debated issues of our time. According to CarryingCapacity.org, the United States “now accepts over one million legal immigrants each year, which is more than all of the other industrialized nations in the world, combined.” Additionally, according to ImmigrationCounters.com, there are nearly 23 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.

Attempting to quantify and project the costs and benefits of immigration into the U.S. is not easy. According to About.com, quoting the Federation for American Immigration Reform, “the costs of education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens to Californians is $10.5 billion per year.” According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion.”

Statistics abound – and for every study suggesting that America’s immigration is creating a burden on the economy, there is another that concludes the opposite, that immigrants continue to provide a net economic benefit to the economy. So rather than provide yet another regurgitation of battling statistics, it is important to note some crucial qualitative differences between immigration trends in America today, compared with past centuries in America.

WHY IMMIGRATION TO AMERICA IS DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IT WAS 50+ YEARS AGO:

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