FACTSHEET    

Why Should You Care About Immigration?
By Eric A. Ruark, Director Of Research | July 2015

Immigration has a significant impact on JOBS.
Ÿ

While the official unemployment rate in June 2015 was relatively low at 5.3%, the federal
government uses a broader measurement known as the U-6 to more accurately gauge
unemployment. The June U-6 unemployment figure was 10.5%, accounting for 16.4 million people
who are unemployed, have been forced to take part-time work, or have recently given up searching
for a job entirely.1

Ÿ

There are almost 94 million people in the United States of working age who are “not in the labor
force.” This is an historic high. These people are not counted as officially “unemployed,” which is
how politicians can claim that the economy has “recovered.”

Ÿ

There were 7.1 million more people working in June 2015 than in June 2005, while the working age
population increased by 25.8 million, more than three and a half times as much.

Ÿ

Today, the U.S. is experiencing its lowest labor participation rate in the last 35 years. Only 62.6% of
the working-age population is employed.

Ÿ

55 million native-born Americans between the ages of 18 to 64 are not in the labor force.

Ÿ

Most of the new jobs that were created since the Great Recession began in December 2007 have
been low-paying and/or part-time. As of June 2015, there were still fewer full-time workers than in
November 2007.2
Employment Indicator
Working-age Population
Employed
Unemployed
Unemployment Rate
Participation Rate
Not in Labor Force

June 2005
225.9 million

June 2015
250.7 million

141,638
7,486
5.0%
66.0%
76.8 million

148,739
8,299
5.3%
62.9%
93.6 million

                                                                                                                       
1

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The Employment Situation – June 2015,” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm.
Zero Hedge, “Part-Time Jobs Surge By 161,000; Full-Time Jobs Tumble By 349,000,” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-02/parttime-jobs-surge-161000-full-time-jobs-tumble-349000.
2

Ÿ

For every new job created between 2000 and 2014, the U.S. added two new immigrants to its
population. 89% of these immigrants were of working-age when they arrived.3

Ÿ

The Center for Immigration Studies found that all net new jobs went to immigrants from November
2007 to November 2015.4

Ÿ

The unemployment rate for the native-born is higher than for the foreign-born for those with a high
school diploma or less –a group that competes directly with illegal aliens for jobs.

Ÿ

The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that there were 8.1 million illegal aliens in the U.S. workforce in
2012, 5.1% of the workforce.5
Unemployment Rates for Foreign-Born and Native-Born (2014 annual averages6)
Foreign-born Native-born
 
Total 16+
5.6%
6.3%

Ÿ

Less than High School Diploma

6.4%

11.9%

High School Graduate, no College

5.3%

6.2%

Some College or Associate Degree

5.7%

5.4%

Bachelor’s Degree and Higher

4.1%

3.0%

Continuing an historic trend, the employment opportunities of Black Americans are
disproportionately harmed by mass immigration. The unemployment rate for Blacks is more than
double that for Whites, and almost a third of black teenagers are unemployed.
Unemployment by Race and Age, June 20157
White
4.6%
Black
9.5%
Hispanic
6.6%
Asian
Teen (16-19)

3.8%
18.1%

Black Teens

31.8%

Occupations with high percentage of illegal alien workers8 (2012)
o 34% Drywall Installation
o 30% Farm Laborers
o 27% Roofers
o 25% Maids
o 24% Painters (construction)
                                                                                                                       
3

Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler “For Every New Job, Two New Immigrants: Since 2000: 9.3 million new jobs, 18 million new
immigrants,” Center for Immigration Studies, Backgrounder, p. 1 (http://cis.org/for-every-new-job-two-new-immigrants).
4
Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarota, “Despite Recent Job Growth, Native Employment Still Below 2007: Despite Recent Job Growth,
Native Employment Still Below 2007,” Center for Immigration Studies, Backgrounder (http://cis.org/despite-recent-job-growth-nativeemployment-still-below-2007).
5
Written testimony of Jeffrey S. Passel submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, March 26,
2015, “Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, Industries and Occupations”
(http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/03/26/testimony-of-jeffrey-s-passel-unauthorized-immigrant-population/).
6
“Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-born Workers,” Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release, May 21, 2015
(http://www.bls.gov/news.release/forbrn.nr0.htm).
7
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The Employment Situation – June 2015.”
8
Written testimony of Jeffrey S. Passel submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, March 26,
2015, “Unauthorized Immigrant Population.”

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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o
o

22% Masons
22% Carpet and Floor Installers

States with largest share of illegal aliens in its labor force9 (2012)
Nevada

10.2%

Maryland

6.2%

California

9.4%

Arizona

6.0%

Texas

8.9%

New York

5.7%

New Jersey

8.2%

Georgia

5.6%

Florida

6.9%

Illinois

5.2%

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Immigration has a significant impact on EDUCATION.

30% of illegal alien adults have less than a 9th grade education compared to 2% of U.S. born
adults.10

18% of illegal aliens have not completed high school (6% of U.S. born adults).11

In 2012, 10.5 million students from immigrant-headed households attended public schools in the
United States, comprising 21.5 % of all students.12

One in four public school students speak a language other than English at home. Spanish is the
most common non-English language spoken (62%).13

Children with at least one illegal alien parent made up 7% of students enrolled in kindergarten
through 12th grade in the U.S.”14

In AZ, CA, CO, NV, and TX, over 10% of school age children have at least one illegal alien parent.15

Educating the children of illegal aliens in grades K-12 costs U.S. taxpayers $51.3 billion a year.16

All of the projected increase in the number of students in U.S. public schools until 2050 will be the
children of immigrants.17

                                                                                                                       
9

Ibid.
Passel and Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” p. 11.
11
Ibid.
12
Steven A. Camarota, “Immigrants in the United States: A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population,” Center for American Studies,
August 2012, p. 40 (http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population).
13
Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova, “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States: Demographic,
Educational, and Linguistic Characteristics,” accessed July 6, 2015.
14
Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” Pew Hispanic Center, August 14, 2009, p.
I (http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/107.pdf )
15
Passel and Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” p. iii.
16
Jack Martin and Eric Ruark, “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers,” FAIR Horizon Press, July 2010, pp. 3-5
(http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/USCostStudy_2010.pdf?docID=4921) .
17
Richard Fry, “The Role of Schools in the English Language Learner Achievement Gap,” Pew Hispanic Center, June 26, 2008, p. 1
(http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/89.pdf).
10

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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Immigration has a significant impact on POVERTY.

Almost one-third of all children living in poverty are children of immigrants. Immigrants and their
children account for one-quarter of all U.S. residents living in poverty. 18

Illegal aliens have lower incomes than other immigrants and they do not make significant gains the
longer they stay in the United States.19

57% of households with children headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) used at least one
welfare program in 2009, compared to 39% of native households. 71% of household with children
headed by illegal aliens used at least one welfare program.20
Families with illegal alien members are the fastest growing family group in the Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.21

Immigration has a significant impact on HEALTH CARE.

One-third (32%) of immigrants are uninsured, compared to 12 percent of the native-born
population.22

Between 2000-2010, new immigrants and their children accounted for two-thirds of the increase in
the uninsured population.23

In 2010, of the approximately 47 million uninsured, 27% are foreign born, 22% are non-citizens.24

Almost half (48%) of immigrants and their children were uninsured or using Medicaid in
2013, compared to about a quarter of the native-born (27%).25

42% of the growth in Medicaid enrollment from 2011 to 2013 was due to immigrants and
their children.26

The Center for Immigration Studies estimated that the increase in Medicaid enrollment due
to its use by immigrants and their children at $4.6 billion annually.27

About 60% of illegal alien are uninsured (twice the number of legal immigrants; 4 times the number
of U.S.-born).28
                                                                                                                       

18

Zong and Batalova, “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States: Children with Immigrant Parents,”
accessed July 6, 2015.
19
Passel and Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” p. 17.
20
Steven A. Camarota, “Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs,”
Center for Immigration Studies, Backgrounder, April 2011, pp. 7, 12 (http://www.cis.org/sites/cis.org/files/articles/2011/immigrant-welfare-use4-11.pdf).
21
“More welfare going to parents here illegally,” Las Vegas Sun, October 27, 2009, http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/oct/27/morewelfare-going-parents-here-illegally/.
22
Zong and Batalova, “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States: Health Insurance Coverage,”
accessed July 6, 2015.
23
Camarota, “Immigrants in the United States," p. 3.
24
Calculations based on data from the Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006
(http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf); See also Department of Homeland Security “Fact Sheet: The Foreign-born Component
of the Uninsured Population, February 2009,” located at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/uninsured_fs_2007.pdf.
25
Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler, “Immigrant Families Benefit Significantly from Obamacare,” Center for Immigration Studies,
Backgrounder, November 2014 p. 2 (http://cis.org/immigrant-families-accounted-for-42-percent-of-medicaid-growth-since-2011).
26
Camarota and Zeigler, “Immigrant Families Benefit Significantly from Obamacare,” p. 1
27
Ibid, p. 6.
28
Jack Martin and Eric Ruark, “The Sinking Lifeboat: Uncontrolled Immigration and the U.S. Healthcare System in 2009,” FAIR Horizon Press,
September 2009, p. 1 (http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/healthcare_09.pdf?docID=3521).

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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Illegal aliens and their children account for 17% of the uninsured population.29

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an amnesty would add 7.6 million illegal aliens
to the public healthcare rolls under Obamacare.30

Immigration has a significant impact on TAXES.
(FAIR, 2010, except where otherwise noted)

Illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers $113 billion annually. This is equal to $996 per household
headed by a native-born resident.

The Inspector General for the Treasury Department found that illegal aliens received refundable tax
credits totaling $4.2 billion in 2010.31

FAIR estimates that in 2010, after deducing taxes paid by illegal aliens, the cost to U.S. taxpayers
from illegal immigration was $99.2 billion.

If illegal workers were replaced with legal workers, tax revenues would rise significantly and
benefits paid to unemployed and underemployed legal workers would be reduced.

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, approximately 10,000 illegal aliens filed tax
returns in 2010. Estimates of the illegal alien population in the state are between 95,000 and
100,000. 32

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimated that it will cost $1.3 trillion to provide Social
Security and Medicare benefits to illegal aliens granted executive amnesty by President Obama.33

Rector also estimates that illegal aliens would collect $23.5 billion in retroactive tax credits from the
IRS.34

Immigration has a significant impact on WAGES.

According the AFL/CIO, real wages for American workers have remained stagnant for the past
35 years and the income gap has widened even as worker productivity and the GDP has continued
to increase.35

                                                                                                                       
29

Passel and Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” p.19.
Douglas W. Elmendorf, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Health Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of
Representatives, March 30, 2011, p. 1.
31
“IRS allowed $4.2 billion in credits to undocumented workers, audit says,” Government Executive, September 1, 2011,
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0911/090111cc2.htm.
32
“Illegal workers to file 10,000 tax returns in Minnesota this year,” Lacrosse Tribune, March 9, 2011
(http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/article_5d040fa4-49e7-11e0-816f-001cc4c03286.html).
33
Caroline May, “Robert Rector estimates lifetime retirement costs of illegals granted executive amnesty at $1.3 trillion,” Breitbart News
Network, http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/17/robert-rector-estimates-lifetime-retirement-costs-of-illegals-granted-executiveamnesty-at-1-3-trillion/, accessed July 8, 2015.
34
Ibid.
35
“Exporting America: What are the Broader Impacts?” AFL/CIO,
http://www.aflcio.org/issues/jobseconomy/exportingamerica/outsourcing_problems.cfm, accessed
February 24, 2010.
30

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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Median weekly earnings of foreign-born in 2014 were $155 less than for native-born ($664 vs.
$820). This creates a downward pressure on wages for all workers. 36

Research has shown that the share of GDP attributable to immigrant (including illegal alien) labor is
split between the immigrants and their employers.37

Wages for native workers in a particular occupation decline when immigrants enter that occupation
in large numbers. Immigration reduces earnings for U.S. workers and increases profits for U.S.
employers of immigrants. Native workers lose $402 billion overall in reduced wages per year due to
immigration.38

In 1960, meatpacking workers earned 15% more than the average wage for manufacturing workers.
In 2002, they were earning 25% less than the average manufacturing wage, and real wages for
industry workers had dropped 45%.39

Los Angeles County has one of the highest concentrations of illegal aliens in the U.S. A 2010
report released by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles found that during the preceding decade
the middle class had “eroded” as good paying jobs in the county had vanished. Over the past
twenty years, the average worker saw a real wage drop of almost $2 per hour and wages were
outpaced by rental costs.40

In Georgia, where the illegal immigrant share of the labor force went from about 4% to 7% from
2000 to 2007, a study by the Federal Reserve found that illegal labor caused a 2.5% wage drop
overall and an 11% drop in construction wages over that period.41

Immigration has a significant impact on the ENVIRONMENT.

Between 1970 and 2014, the U.S. population increased from 203.4 million to 321.3 million, a 58%
increase.

Between 1980 and 2014 the illegal alien population has more than doubled, and perhaps even
tripled. In the late 1970s, government officials estimated there were between 3.5 and 5.0 million
illegal aliens in the United States. Now there are between 11 and 13 million illegal aliens in the
U.S.42

In 1970 the U.S. admitted 373,326 immigrants; 990,553 were admitted in 201343

US total population will grow to almost 417 million by 2060 — 108 million more than in 2010.44

                                                                                                                       
36

“Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-born Workers,” Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Linda Levine, “Immigration: The Effects on Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Native-Born Workers,” Congressional Research Service, 95-408,
January 29, 2009 (http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/95-408_20091105.pdf), updated November 5, 2009, pp. 2-3.
38
Nayla Rush, “Who Are You Rooting For?: George Borjas on the Economics of Immigration,” Issue Brief, Federation for American
Immigration Reform (http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/research-pub/Who_are_you_rooting_for_June2014-v2.pdf).
39
Jerry Kammer, “Labor Market Effects of Immigration Enforcement at Meatpacking Plants in Seven
States,” Forum Testimony: American Jobs in Peril, November 2009 (http://www.cis.org/node/1577).  
40
“L.A. County Ten Years Later: A Tale of Two Cities, One Future,” United Way of Greater Los Angeles,
February 2010 (http://www.unitedwayla.org/getinformed/rr/Documents/TOTC_Footnotes.pdf).
41
Julie L. Hotchkiss and Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, “The Labor Market Experience and Impact of Undocumented Workers,” Federal Reserve
Bank of Atlanta, February 2008, pp. 36, 39.
42
Comptroller General, Report to the Congress of the United States, April 6, 1981 (http://archive.gao.gov/f0102/114829.pdf).
43
Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013, Table 1: Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident
Status: Fiscal Years 1820 to 2013, http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2013/LPR/table1.xls,
accessed July 8, 2015.
37

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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Immigration will account for about 80% of our population growth in the coming decades.45

Resource use is equally determined by the amount of resource use per capita and the size of the
population. Rapid population growth is cancelling out gains per capita consumption. For example,
water conservation has greatly improved over the past thirty years, but population growth has
cancelled out these improvements and kept water use at the same unsustainable rate it reached in
the 1980s, leading to chronic water shortage throughout the country and posing a threat to the
safety of public water supplies.46

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
44

U.S. Census Bureau, “2014 National Population Projections: Summary Tables,” Table 1:  Projections of the Population and Components of
Change for the United States: 2015 to 2060, https://www.census.gov/population/projections/data/national/2014/summarytables.html ,
accessed July 8, 2015.
45
Steven A. Camarota, “Projecting Immigration’s Impact on the Size and Age Structure of the 21st Century American Population,”
Backgrounder, Center for Immigration Studies, December 2012 (http://cis.org/sites/default/files/camarota-projecting-age-structure.pdf).
46
 Eric A. Ruark, “Running Dry: Looming Water Shortages in the United States,” FAIR Horizon Press, September 2012
(http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/Water_report2.pdf).  

FAIR | Why Should You Care About Immigration?
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