Why We Support Immigration Reform

In 1990, Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform headed by former Congresswoman, Civil Rights Champion, and Environmentalist Barbara Jordan. The Commission studied the impacts of immigration after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Barabara Jordan's recommendations coincided with the release of NumbersUSA Founder Roy Beck's book The Case Against Immigration that discussed how high immigration levels impact economic fairness and environmental sustainability.

Roy Beck's book and the Jordan Commission both concluded:

  • Millions of Americans can’t find jobs. Around 18 million American workers who want a full-time job can’t find one. This counts the officially unemployed, those involuntarily in part-time jobs and those who recently dropped off the official unemployment list. These Americans are at all rungs of the job ladder but disproportionately are looking for work in the lower skilled jobs that are primarily taken by foreign workers.
  • Millions of American and immigrant workers make wages so low that they live in poverty. Increasing numbers of occupations have collapsed into poverty and near-poverty levels. Most of them are disproportionately filled with foreign workers. Occupations such as those in meatpacking, dry-walling, other construction trades and hospitality jobs that once paid decent to very good incomes have collapsed into near-poverty or poverty levels. Importing hundreds of thousands of foreign workers into those occupations is a profound policy of injustice against the Americans struggling in them already.
  • Current immigration flows are wildly higher than the U.S. immigration tradition that nurtured America during most of its history. Traditional flows averaged around 250,000 a year from 1776–1976. Since 1990, around 1 million legal immigrants a year and more than 800,000 illegal aliens a year settle permanently in the U.S.
  • Most immigrants are allowed in with no consideration of how they fit in the job market. Less than 10% of all foreign workers enter the country with any regard to their skills or whether the job market needs their skills.
  • Black underclass still exists. Some 40 years after Congress passed laws to provide for the full assimilation of black Americans into the country’s political, social and economic life, the lack of job opportunities for these descendants of the American slavery system is scandalous. Around 40% of black American men between 18 and 65 do not have a job.
  • Large numbers of American cities are choking on sprawl and congestion. Nearly 90% of U.S. population growth can be explained by new immigrants and births to immigrants. Every issue of overcrowding and infrastructure inadequacy would be much more easily resolved without adding 30 million or more immigrants and their children to our cities each decade.