The overriding impact of immigrants is to strengthen and enrich American culture, increase the total output of the economy, and raise the standard of living of American citizens. Immigrants are advantageous to the United States for several reasons: (1) Since they are willing to take a chance in a new land, they are self-selected on the basis on motivation, risk taking, work ethic, and other attributes beneficial to a nation. (2) They tend to come to the United States during their prime working years (the average age is 28), and they contribute to the workforce and make huge net contributions to old-age entitlement programs, primarily Social Security. (3) Immigrants tend to fill niches in the labor market where demand is highest relative to supply, complementing rather than directly competing with American workers. (4) Many immigrants arrive with extremely high skill levels, and virtually all, regardless of skill level, bring a strong desire to work. (5) Their children tend to reach high levels of achievement in American schools and in society at large.

Cato Experts

More on Immigration


Offer More Visas to People Coming Across the Southern Border

By Alex Nowrasteh. New York Daily News. August 20, 2019.

Economic Populism on the Left and Right Is Poisoning US Political Discourse

By Ryan Bourne. UK Telegraph. August 16, 2019.

Trump’s Latest Immigration Proposal Has One Goal: Keep Immigrants Out

By David Bier. Washington Post. August 13, 2019.

Cato Studies

Legal Immigration Will Resolve America’s Real Border Problems

By David Bier. Policy Analysis No. 879. August 20, 2019.

Do Immigrants Import Terrorism?

By Andrew C. Forrester, Benjamin Powell, Alex Nowrasteh, & Michelangelo Landgrave. Working Paper No. 56. July 31, 2019.

Immigration Wait Times from Quotas Have Doubled: Green Card Backlogs Are Long, Growing, and Inequitable

By David Bier. Policy Analysis No. 873. June 18, 2019.


Do Immigrants Import Terrorism?

Andrew C. Forrester, Benjamin Powell, Alex Nowrasteh, & Michelangelo Landgrave. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. August 8, 2019.

How Mass Immigration Affects Countries with Weak Economic Institutions: A Natural Experiment in Jordan

Alex Nowrasteh, Andrew C. Forrester, and Cole Blondin. The World Bank Economic Review. July 27, 2019.

US Immigration Levels, Urban Housing Values, and their Implications for Capital Share

Ryan Murphy and Alex Nowrasteh. Economic Affairs. Vol. 37. No. 3. October 2017.

Public Filings

Public Charge Rule Comments

By David Bier. Public Comments. December 10, 2018.

Expert Affidavit on EB-5 Investors in Wang v. Pompeo

By David Bier. Public Comments. July 25, 2018.

Examining Warrantless Smartphone Searches at the Border

By Matthew Feeney. Testimony. July 11, 2018.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Myths and Facts of Immigration Policy

Alex Nowrasteh. Policy Report. January/February 2019.

Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam

Alex Nowrasteh. Cato Journal. Winter 2019.

Flawed Plan to Keep Out Welfare-Using Immigrants

David Bier. Cato Journal. Winter 2019.


Legal Immigration: Problems and Solutions

Featuring Alex Nowrasteh, David Bier, and Jeff Vanderslice. June 18, 2019. Capitol Hill Briefing.

#CatoConnects: Religion and Attitudes about Immigration, Race, and Identities

Featuring Emily Ekins and Kat Murti. March 6, 2019. Cato Connects.

#CatoConnects: Religion and Attitudes about Immigration, Race, and Identities

Featuring Emily Ekins and Kat Murti. February 20, 2019. Cato Connects.


Mexican Migration, Legalization, and Assimilation

By Daniel Griswold. October 5, 2005.

National Immigration Forum: Capitol Hill Panel Discussion on Mexican Immigration

By Daniel Griswold. February 19, 2003.

National Immigration Forum Annual Conference

By Daniel Griswold. February 1, 2002.