Why is America Recruiting from the World’s Least Developed and Educated Nations?

Successful companies recruit new employees by pursuing the best and brightest with a diverse set of experiences, education, and skills to grow their business. America’s immigration policies should similarly seek to recruit limited numbers of immigrants from a diverse set of nations who offer the most value to grow America’s economy for the 21st Century.

In 1970, roughly half of our immigrants came from the top 10 leading economies. Today the world’s 10 leading economies (following the U.S.) include China, Japan, Germany, U.K. France, Brazil, Italy, India, Russia, and Canada. While these 10 nations contribute to 45% of global GDP, they represent only 18% of our immigrants over the last 30 years.

We should be targeting immigrants from the most innovative nations across the world. Bloomberg recently ranked innovative nations based on their research and development, high-tech companies, and patents among other factors. The U.S. ranked third behind South Korea and Sweden.  Other leaders included Japan, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, Finland, Taiwan, and Canada.

We can also target immigrants coming from the world’s leading education systems: Canada, Finland, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Estonia, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.

Yet instead of targeting immigrants from leading economies with innovative and educated workforces, the top 10 countries of origin for immigrants since 1986 include:


These 10 nations represent 60% of our legal immigrants over the last 30 years. Instead of tapping the largest, most successful economies, half the list ranks outside the top 50. Only two nations rank in the top 50 for innovation. Only three nations rank in the top 40 for education.

When you look at the full list of countries of origin for U.S. immigrants, you will see some shocking results:

  • The U.S. welcomed more immigrants from the poor, tiny island nations of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica than all of Europe.
  • We have roughly the same number of immigrants from our hostile adversaries Iran and Pakistan as our closest allies Canada and the U.K.
  • In 1970, Italy had the largest share of immigrants, today Italy ranks 55th, with twice as many coming from Iraq than Italy.
  • Nearly five times as many come from Afghanistan (with a 28% literacy rate) than our key ally Australia with the 12th largest economy.
  • More immigrants come from the Philippines than China or India who each have 10 times the population and economy.
  • Japan with the third largest economy is on par with Trinidad and Tobago, the 100th largest economy.
  • We welcome more from Bangladesh (one of the world’s least developed nations) than economic superpower Germany

As we seek to grow our economy for future generations, the U.S. clearly is not recruiting immigrants from the world’s leading nations. Why are we issuing millions of visas to some of the poorest, uneducated nations in the world? In addition to reducing the number of visas issued annually from one million, the U.S. must also reallocate the visas issued among nations. To grow our economy for the 21st Century, the U.S. must prioritize visas for educated immigrants coming from thriving, innovative economies.

The author of this guest opinion is a federal policy analyst.

Stop Importing Poverty, America Has Enough

EBT signAmerica’s immigration policies should focus on strengthening the nation, its economy, and its future. We should actively recruit immigrants from across the world with a diverse array of high-tech skills, experience, and businesses to grow our economy in the Digital Age. Yet only 13 percent of the one million green cards issued each year were employment based.

Americans are struggling in today’s economy. One in six Americans lives in poverty today. One in six.  One in five requires government assistance to get by each month.  Forty-six million Americans require food stamps including one in four children. Over 17 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or gave up looking. In June there were 250,000 new jobs created, yet 400,000 gave up looking for work.  That’s the size of the entire population of Oakland, Cleveland, or New Orleans. In the last decade, the working age population grew by 26 million, yet only 7 million have jobs. The number of Americans aged 25-54 employed hasn’t been this low since the mid-1980s. Middle class wages continue to decline with the median household income down nearly $5,000 since 2000. In a recent poll, 70% of Americans are strained by crushing debt loads, insufficient savings, or income that’s too low to cover their expenses.

Clearly there is a disconnect between the needs of our 21st century economy, the concerns of American workers, and our bloated immigration policy.

We need to get more Americans working, particularly those who lack a basic education and skills.  We need to raise the wages of America’s poor and middle class. The Secretary of Labor recently stressed “The best way to lift wages is to have tighter labor markets”. Yet since 2000, the U.S. added two new immigrants for every new job created.  One study found all net new jobs in the last eight years went to immigrants. American workers lose over $400 billion annually in reduced wages as a direct result from immigration.

In addition to the one million legal immigrants added each year, illegal immigrants represent a growing share of our labor force.  Nevada and California have the largest share of illegal immigrants in their labor forces at 10.2% and 9.4% respectively.  They also have the 2nd and 8th highest unemployment rates in the nation including over 500,000 long-term unemployed.  A majority of the states with the largest share of illegal immigrants also have unemployment rates higher than the national average. Millions of unemployed Americans struggle to compete with legal and illegal immigrants for work. Imagine the economic and social impact if over the next year one million of the 17 million unemployed and underemployed Americans took the jobs held by illegal immigrants.  

The immigration debate by politicians and in the media focuses largely on those who were able to get by border security or overstay their visa. The debate for immigration reform must also include rethinking the number and selection criteria for the legal immigrants who enter the U.S. each year. Consider asking these six questions to our elected leaders and those running for office:

  • Should the U.S. reduce the number of green cards issued until jobs and wages improve?
  • Is it hypocritical for politicians who advocate for raising the minimum wage to also support flooding the U.S. labor market with unskilled labor from foreign nations?
  • Should the U.S. prioritize visas based on skilled labor demands over chain migration?
  • Why do elected leaders spend billions of dollars and champion recruiting and retaining millions of unskilled foreign workers when Americans struggle to get a good paying job?
  • Do you believe America has enough natural resources and public services for the population to grow 40% in a generation?
  • Why do you insist on importing poverty, doesn’t America have enough?

America’s future lies in its people. As a nation of immigrants, our strength lies in integrating the best the world has to offer in a free and open society that provides opportunities for everyone to succeed. We mU.S.t have an intelligent debate on immigration and the impact on our nation’s future. We mU.S.t drown out the radicals on either end of the political spectrum to offer sensible solutions to ensure America as solid immigration policies to strengthen our future.  

The author of this guest opinion is a federal policy analyst.

A New World of Refugee Ethics

populationRichard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado and long-time member of FAIR’s Board of Advisors, looks at the worldwide refugee crisis in an op-ed published in the Denver Post. The op-ed describes a “new moral dilemma…that demands a new dialogue” as rapid climate change, overpopulation, and regional turmoil reshape our world.

Gov. Lamm’s op-ed can be read here.

What are the Responsibilities of the Governments of the Sending Countries in the Border Crisis?

What are the Responsibilities of the Governments of the Sending Countries in the Border Crisis? | ImmigrationReform.comWhile the focus of the current border crisis has been on what actions the receiving nation, the United States, should take to deal with the situation, columnist Deroy Murdock poses the obvious question: What responsibilities do the governments of sending countries in helping to ameliorate the circumstances that lead to massive outflows of their own citizens.

Exporting Woe to the U.S.

By Deroy Murdock

Do the governments of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have any responsibility for the catastrophe on southern frontier? Reacting to this latest crisis in Obama’s reign of error, Americans are debating the pros and cons of securing the U.S–Mexican border, reforming immigration law, building new detention centers, and more.

But one solution seems off the table:

These Latin governments should improve their own political economies, so that their people need not ride atop freight trains, ford the Rio Grande, and then dodge Gila monsters en route to better lives. Read more

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read the rest of Deroy’s column at National Review Online

Immigration and Terrorism

By FAIR Intern, FAIR research department

On this, the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, there is much solemn and appropriate remembrance of those who lost their lives on that terrible day. In addition, 12 years later there is much debate over whether or not the United States should intervene military in the Middle East.. One issue that was, and still is, glaringly missing in the continuing debates over foreign policy and national security is immigration policy and border security.

If true immigration reform is ever to be achieved, tragedies such as the Boston Bombing and 9/11 attacks would seem to be the most rational starting point for a national dialogue on what to do about potential terrorists entering our country and attacking us due to the lax nature of the enforcement and screening provisions of American immigration law. You would think that would be the case, but, you would be wrong.

In the more than a decade that has passed since the 9/11 attacks not only are our immigration laws not being meaningfully enforced, but many national political figures are seeking amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and more immigration into our country, despite our proven inability to identify potential terrorists. In the theater of the absurd, that often passes for our Congress, the threat of terrorism is often cited as a justification for amnesty. In the aftermath of this year’s Boston Bombing attack, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham asserted,

“We have 11 million people living in the shadows, which leaves this nation
vulnerable to a myriad of threats. That is all the more reason why comprehensive
immigration reform is so essential. By modernizing our system of legal immigration,
identifying and conducting background checks on people here illegally, and finally
securing our border, we will make America more secure”

So, to Senators Graham and McCain, when a pair of terrorists sets off explosives at a major American sporting event, the response is not to secure our nation’s borders and rigorously pursue enforcement, but rather to help, “the undocumented come out of the shadows,” through what they term a, “modernized” immigration system. To those of us, across the political spectrum, who are able to look at issues such as national security and immigration from the perspective of the broad national interest, the proper course of action is clear:

  1. We should secure our border with a physical fence and secure the interior through cooperative enforcement efforts.
  2. Illegal aliens who come into contact with law enforcement should be detained and put in removal hearings.
  3. We should implement mandatory E-Verify and institute sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. Such policies enjoy consensus support from the American people, who demand legitimate enforcement to take place before any discussion of amnesty.

Too bad virtually no one in Washington, has the political will to carry out the sort of common sense policies that might avert another tragedy, perhaps even more horrendous than the one we suffered 12 years ago.