Immigration in America 2010

(June 2010) The United States has the most foreign-born residents of any country—three times more than number-two Russia, and more unauthorized residents than any other country. Although it has been a constant feature of America’s history since its founding, immigration has become a source of intense policy debate and public divisiveness. With over 1 million legal immigrants arriving in the United States annually, immigration is changing the demographic makeup of the United States as Hispanic and Asian Americans’ share of the U.S. population grows. Major questions will continue to be debated for years. How does immigration affect the size of the U.S. population? How will the changing racial and ethnic makeup of the United States change education and economic opportunities? What does it mean to be “American?”

With the wide-ranging economic and social effects of the current recession and the potential for renewed legislative debate, it is an appropriate time to examine the state of immigration in the United States. PRB introduces a package of materials with a group of leading experts on U.S. immigration to examine recent data and trends, and their implications for the future of the United States. The discussions, articles, and interviews focus on demographic trends, economic impacts, social and cultural issues, and more:

  •  Population Bulletin Update: “Immigration in America 2010”by Philip Martin and Elizabeth Midgley is an update to PRB’s popular Population Bulletin“Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America,” last published in 2006. The update examines new data, how the recession has affected immigration, and the ongoing policy debate at the state and federal level. Philip Martin is professor of agricultural economics at the University of California-Davis, chair of the University of California’s Comparative Immigration and Integration Program, and editor of Migration News. Elizabeth Midgley is a long-time observer and analyst of U.S. immigration trends and policy formation, starting with her coverage of immigration issues as a producer for CBS News from 1970 to 1988, and during her tenure as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Also available to download in pdf format.
  • “Migration’s Economic Trade-Offs” by Philip Martin examines how small rises in fruit and vegetable prices to the consumer can have big effects on the wages of farm workers.
  • A video interview with Charlie Hirschman, professor of sociology at the University of Washington with Bill Butz, president of PRB, focuses on the social and historical aspects of U.S. immigration.
  • Jennifer Van Hook, professor of sociology and demography at Pennsylvania State University and Jennifer Glick, associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University discuss health and education challenges facing immigrant children in an audio interview.
  • Philip Martin answered questions from the public on how immigration is changing the United States in a Discuss Online session.
  • Other immigration-related resources and links.