Immigration

Our economy is very dependent on foreign labor. Indeed, most of our workforce growth since 1990 has come from immigration, a trend that is expected to continue for at least the next 20 years. How these workers are employed, therefore, will have important implications for American economic health, as well as for national unity and social stability.

America’s employment-based immigration system is broken. The programs for admitting foreign workers for temporary and permanent jobs are rigid, cumbersome, and inefficient; do too little to protect the wages and working conditions of workers (foreign or domestic); do not respond very well to employers’ needs; and give almost no attention to adapting the number and characteristics of foreign workers to domestic labor shortages. The United States could benefit enormously from an immigration system that is more responsive to broader economic conditions.

 

Publications

Immigrant Small Business Owners: A Significant and Growing Part of the Economy

More than one in six small business owners in the United States is an immigrant, according to a new report from FPI’s Immigration Research Initiative. Immigrants – people born in another country – make up 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States. By contrast, immigrants are 13 percent of the population and 16 percent of the labor force, according to the American Community Survey from 2010. That’s a big change from 20 years ago, when immigrants made up 9 percent of the labor force and 12 percent of small business owners. The report includes national data, information about the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and information about the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

New Americans on Long Island: A Vital Sixth of the Economy

Immigrants – documented and undocumented combined – make up 16 percent of the population of Long Island, and account for 17 percent of total economic output. This report presents data on jobs, earnings, family income, taxes, and home ownership. Immigrants’ economic role is examined town by town and in a national context as well. Among the 50 most affluent suburban counties in the country, Nassau and Suffolk are neither at the top nor the bottom of any of several measures of immigration. Driving immigrants away from Long Island would exact a high price to the social fabric and to the local economy