Tuesday, June 12, 2018
The Trump administration has attacked family-based immigration and called for the end of "chain migration." In a timely report, the American Immigration Council today released The Immigrant Success Story: How Family-Based Immigrants Thrive in America.
Immigration based on family ties has been, since 1965, the main criterion for admitting new immigrants to the United States. Despite this longstanding practice, in recent years, lawmakers have repeatedly sought to cut back certain categories of family immigration while advocating for a more “skills-based” admissions system.
The rationale underlying this policy preference tends to stress economic reasons. However, this line of thinking focuses almost exclusively on presumed immediate labor market needs, overlooking the fact that family-based immigrants adapt to the U.S. labor market, add economic flexibility, and bring innovation to the economy in ways fundamentally different from immigrants who come to fill specific job openings.
This special report examines the earnings gains over time of all immigrants, as well as the earnings gains experienced by family-based immigrants compared to employment-based immigrants. Among its main findings, the report shows that since 1965 the earnings of immigrants in general have increased dramatically during their first decade in the country. Additionally, working-age immigrant men who come to the United States via family-based channels tend to experience a much greater rate of earnings growth over time than those who come through employment-based channels.