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


Americans Used to Support a Border Wall. What Changed Their Minds?

By Emily Ekins. The Federalist. January 14, 2019.

Trump Just Doesn’t Understand the Border: Here Are the Facts

By David Bier. New York Daily News. January 10, 2019.

Using Emergency Powers to Seize Property and Build the Wall Would Set a Horrible Precedent

By Ilya Somin. New York Daily News. January 9, 2019.

Cato Studies

Do Immigrants Import Terrorism?

By Andrew Forrester, Benjamin Powell, Alex Nowrasteh, & Michelangelo Landgrave. Working Paper No. 56. January 15, 2019.

The Case for an Immigration Tariff: How to Create a Price-Based Visa Category

By Alex Nowrasteh. Policy Analysis No. 861. January 8, 2019.

How Legalizing Marijuana Is Securing the Border: The Border Wall, Drug Smuggling, and Lessons for Immigration Policy

By David Bier. Policy Analysis No. 860. December 19, 2018.


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

Would Suspending DACA Withstand Benefit–Cost Analysis?

Ike Brannon and M. Kevin McGee. Regulation. Winter 2018-2019.

Cato News Notes

Policy Report. September/October 2018.

The Travel Bans

Josh Blackman. Supreme Court Review. 2017-2018.


Private Philanthropy and Immigrant Dreamers

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

Legal Immigration Reforms for the 21st Century

Featuring David Bier, Alex Nowrasteh, Daniel Griswold, Stuart Anderson, & Heather Curry Kartch. March 19, 2018. Capitol Hill Briefing.

State-Based Visas: A Federalism Approach to the Immigration Impasse

Featuring Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ken Buck (R-CO-4), David Bier, Alex Nowrasteh, & Peter Russo. May 3, 2017. Capitol Hill Briefing.


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.