Survey results released by the U.S. Census Bureau show the population of the United States contains the highest percentage of foreign-born non-citizens in over a century.
According to the American Community Survey, over 22 million non-citizens are living in America today. The figure represents 13.7 percent of America’s total population — the highest since 1910. In total, roughly 44 million foreign-born nationals are living in the United States today — half of which have become citizens.
The survey results were published amidst a continuing debate in the United States over whether or not to ask U.S. Census takers to report their citizenship status. President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters have been adamant in including the question, while Democrats and progressive activists claim the inclusion would discourage non-citizens from filling out the form.
This increase in non-citizens as a proportion of America’s population is substantial. According to Bloomberg, roughly one in 20 U.S. residents were foreign-born in 1960 and 1970. Now, that figure is closer to one in seven. In America’s most populous states — namely California, Texas, Florida, and New York — a whopping 15 percent of the population is foreign-born.
The survey results lend credence to the idea that “the face” of America is changing. However, additional research released on the same day suggests that immigration into the United States is actually shrinking.
The New York Times reports that the United States received far fewer immigrants in 2018 than it has in the years before. Citing numbers included in the same report mentioned above, the Times notes that the number of immigrants coming into the country dropped to around 200,000 during that year — a 70 percent drop from 2017. Researchers quoted by the Times say this could have adverse affects on America’s economy, and are blaming the Trump Administration’s hawkish stance on immigration.
“This is something that really hasn’t happened since the Great Recession,” Cato Institute immigration expert David Bier told the paper. “This should be very concerning to the administration that its policies are scaring people away.”
At face value, these reports seem to clash with each other — how can immigration be at a periodic low, while the number of non-citizens living in America is at an all-time high — even as a percentage of the total population?
The likely scenario here is that, while fewer immigrants are coming into the country, more are staying without taking the steps to become citizens. This is a concern all on its own — suggesting that migrants are no longer coming to America to become part of it — but to instead simply benefit from it.