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


The Wall Won’t End Pot Smuggling at the Border. Legalization Will.

By David Bier. Reason. March 3, 2019.

Data Counters U.S. Claim on Asylum Processing

By David Bier. San Diego Union-Tribune. February 8, 2019.

America’s Border Wars: What the Border Patrol Doesn’t Want You to Know

By Patrick G. Eddington. The Hill (Online). February 2, 2019.

Cato Studies

Criminal Immigrants in 2017: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin

By Michelangelo Landgrave and Alex Nowrasteh. Immigration Research and Policy Brief No. 11. March 4, 2019.

Immigrants Recognize American Greatness: Immigrants and Their Descendants Are Patriotic and Trust America’s Governing Institutions

By Alex Nowrasteh and Andrew Forrester. Immigration Research and Policy Brief No. 10. February 4, 2019.

Temporary Protected Status and Immigration to the United States

By David Leblang, Benjamin Helms, Alexa Iadarola, Ankita Satpathy, Kelsey Hunt, Rebecca Brough, Eric Xu, & Mahesh Rao. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 147. January 23, 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.

Does Mass Immigration Destroy Institutions? 1990s Israel As a Natural Experiment

Benjamin Powell and Alex Nowrasteh. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. June 27, 2017.

The Case for More Immigration

Alex Nowrasteh. Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. No. 42. Fall 2016.

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.


#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.

Private Philanthropy and Immigrant Dreamers

Featuring Donald E. Graham and David Bier. June 13, 2018. Policy Forum.


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.