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Pew Research Center, September 28, 2015: Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065
"Fifty years after passage of the landmark law that rewrote U.S. immigration policy, nearly 59 milion immigrants have arrived in the United States, pushing the country’s foreign-born share to a near record 14%. For the past half-century, these modern-era immigrants and their descendants have accounted for just over half the nation’s population growth and have reshaped its racial and ethnic composition."
If current trends hold, immigrants are projected to account for 88% of the U.S. population increase from 2015 to 2065, or 103 million people, as the nation grows to 441 million. Much of this increase can be linked to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act which made major changes to U.S. immigration policy by doing away with a national origins quota system that favored immigrants from Europe and replacing it with one that emphasized family reunification and skilled immigrants.
Americans are largely divided on the benefits of immigration (both legal and illegal). Most of the scholarly articles I have read suggest that immigration is good for economic growth. This article in the Fiscal Times says as much:
Fiscal Times, December 2, 2014: How Immigrants Boost U.S. Economic Growth
I think it is a no brainer for long term economic productivity, but for the short term, if your job is threatened by immigrants then you might think otherwise. Germany's acceptance of so many Syrian immigrants is recognition that their fertility rate of 1.44 is too low to sustain their status as the European economic powerhouse. By comparison, America's fertility rate is 1.87, also too low for sustaining a robust long term economy, but certainly better than Germany's.
I am supportive of substantially increasing the numbers of Syrian refugees that America takes in. We are a diverse country of immigrants, and adding a few 100,000 more will have little impact on current workers. Not only that, immigrants bring a different perspective on the world that would help mold our foreign policies.