Immigration to the US surges. It’s good news for Trump

Summary: While journalists and pundits focus on exciting sound bites, immigration — one of the hidden drivers of the populist uprising — continues to surge. Here’s the latest data. This is a follow-up to The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign. (First of 2 posts today.)

Immigration to USA surging

Immigration Surged in 2014 and 2015

More than 3 million legal & illegal immigrants settled in the US in the last 2 years
By Steven A. Camarota, Center of Immigration Studies, June 2016

Summary of the report’s conclusions

  • “3.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country in 2014 and 2015. … no adjustments have been made for those missed by the bureau. But even without adjusting for undercount, the scale of new immigration is enormous.
  • “The big increase in new arrivals in the last two years was driven by a rise in immigration from Latin America, particularly countries other than Mexico; South Asia (e.g. Pakistan and India); and East Asia (e.g. China and Vietnam).
  • “Our preliminary estimate is that, of the 3.1 million immigrants who arrived in that last two years, about one-third, 1.1 million (or 550,000 annually) were new illegal immigrants, a significant increase from the 700,000 illegal immigrants (350,000 annually) who entered in 2012 and 2013. …
  • “The available evidence also indicates that the number of new legal immigrants, both temporary and permanent, arriving from abroad has increased. Our best estimate is that the arrival of legal immigrants increased about 30%, from 1.6 million in 2012-2013 to two million in 2014-2015.”


What about jobs?

Using the Census monthly Current Population Survey, between Q1 of 2009 and Q1 of 2016 the number of native-born people in the US (civilian, noninstitutional, age 16+) rose 6.1 million while the number of employed people rose 4.8 million — about 80% of new jobs went to foreign-born people.

They’re willing to work for lower wages, and so take the jobs (e.g., that’s why corporations bring workers in using H-1B visas).


Mark Krikorian of National Review draws some conclusions from this data.

“The weakest recovery in generations, with record numbers of Americans having dropped out of the labor market altogether, is still accompanied by dramatic growth in new immigration. As Europe is also discovering, there are hundreds of millions of people abroad who want to get to the civilized world regardless of the state of the economy there.

“…These numbers suggest how narrow the debate over immigration is in the presidential campaign. While Trump’s written immigration platform is pretty sophisticated, in his public appearances he focuses almost exclusively on the “wall,” when most immigration is actually legal, and even most of the new illegal immigration comes from visa overstays, not border jumpers. Hillary, of course, is hopeless, embracing what amounts to Angela Merkel’s immigration platform by explicitly saying that she would deport no one who hasn’t been convicted of a violent crime.”

The first populist uprising — culminating in the alliance with progressives that produced the New Deal — resulted from decades of massive immigration while economic growth slowed. Immigration was throttled down to almost nothing in the 1930s, which allowed the creation of a large middle class after WWII.

Now history repeats, as the immigrant population approaches the early 20th century peak — and will exceed it if we don’t slow the flow. It’s again sparked a resurgence of populism, driving the unlikely candidacy of Donald Trump. For details see The numbers about immigration that fuel Trump’s campaign.

Immigrants as fraction of US population
By Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarota, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2015.

For More Information

See these census reports: a slideshow about the foreign-born population of the US (April 2013), and “Noncitizens Under Age 35: 2010–2012” by Yesenia D. Acosta et al (February 2014).

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See these posts about immigration, about Campaign 2016, and especially these…

1 thought on “Immigration to the US surges. It’s good news for Trump”

  1. Pingback: The week’s riots in France show Europe’s future, and perhaps ours - Ryan Guillory

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