According to the American Immigration Council, 14 percent of the United States population is foreign-born. That’s 44.7 million immigrants, more than any other nation. Is immigration a net detractor or net benefit for our country? The political debate would lead you to believe that we’re divided on this issue. The facts are that immigration fuels much of America’s creativity, growth and individualism. And the vast majority of Americans view immigration as a positive factor. This special report takes a closer look at immigrant contributions in the following areas:
Economic Growth, Jobs & Entrepreneurship
Society & Culture
Healthcare, Food & Hospitality
Public Service & U.S. Military
Contrary to what the loudest rhetoric may indicate, Americans are largely pro-immigration. In a survey conducted by Gallup in the spring of 2020, more respondents told the firm immigration should increase, and not the other way around. In fact, close to 80 percent of respondents said immigration was a “good thing” for the country. And this includes categories of immigrants traditionally seen as “less competitive,” such as refugees and asylum seekers.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic, evidence shows that while people support travel restrictions that could slow or stop the spread of the pandemic, that doesn’t change the favorable opinions the majority of Americans have about immigration, and of immigrants themselves. 70 percent of respondents of an NPR/Ipsos poll, first conducted in 2018 and repeated in the summer of 2020, said that immigrants are “an important part of the American identity.” In surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Americans favor immigration because immigrants “work hard,” and because of their talents.
Let’s look at these contributions immigrants make through their skills, talent and diversity in their everyday work and lives in the United States. While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of immigrants in keeping essential industries running, immigrants have been valuable all along.