40 million residents of the United States are foreign-born, according to the Census Bureau (2010 data) That’s approximately 1 in 8 people. Of these, 17.5 million are naturalized Americans.
In California, 27 percent of the population is foreign-born, as are 22 percent of New Yorkers and 21 percent of those in New Jersey, according to the Census Bureau report.
“Immigrants have started nearly half of America’s 50 top venture-funded companies and are key members of management or product development teams in more than 75 percent of our country’s leading cutting-edge companies,” according to a report by the National Foundation for American Policy.
For 2013, the 85,000 cap on H1-B visas was filled in just 10 weeks. This is the visa used by American firms to hire high-skilled international workers in tech, engineering, science, and medicine.
In the 2011-12 school year, there were 764,000 foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities – a number that has been increasing sharply, according to the Institute of International Education.
U.S. Chamber Issues Report on Immigration Myths vs Facts
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together an excellent report called “Immigration Myths vs. Facts.”
Do immigrants take jobs that could go to unemployed, native-born Americans? No, they complement each other in the workforce – and they create jobs both as consumers who buy goods and services, and as entrepreneurs who start businesses.
The report details how undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes each year – often for benefits they will never receive. They pay sales taxes, property taxes, and often also pay Social Security and Medicare taxes even though they are ineligible to receive such benefits themselves. Those who say undocumented immigrants come to the United States to take advantage of welfare programs are ignorant of both the facts and the law:
“Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps. Even most legal immigrants cannot receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for five years or longer, regardless of how much they have worked or paid in taxes.”