Overview of U.S. Immigration Trends and Policy
Charles B. Keely
Center for Policy Studies
The Population Council
One Dag Hamnarskjold Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10017
Testimony presented to the
House Select Committee on Population
April 4, 1978
Charles B. Keely
Demographic Concerns: Population Growth
The effect of recent immigration on population growth has been noted
frequently ever since its role was pointed out by the Commission on Population
Growth and the American Future. The interim report of the Commission noted
that immigration is becoming an increasing part of population growth in the
United States(l). The Commission, however, also correctly pointed out that
the proportion of current population growth due to immigration and the increasing
role of immigration as of a portion of population growth in recent years is,
to a large extent, the result of decreases in fertility. The reason for
this is that the method of ascertaining the proportion of population growth
due to immigration is based on the following formula: Population growth =
(births deaths) + (immigration emigration). By this formula, one
subtracts all deaths from births and that equals natural increase; then
one subtracts all emigration from immigration, and that equals net migration.
These two components, natural increase and net migration, add up to population
growth. Obviously then it is a simple procedure to calculate the proportion
of the total growth due to each of the two components. The difficulty with
this simple formula and the statement of proportion of population growth due
to each of the two components is that, like all summary measures, it can
lead to concealing information as well as revealing it(2). Even if we
assume that each of the four components--births, deaths, immigration, and
emigration--are correctly counted or estimated, still the procedure for
combining births and deaths for the natural increase component, and immigration
and emigration for the net migration component, conceals some information.
For example, among those people who die each year are persons who are
previous immigrants to the country.
Perhaps to make clear why the use of this formula and the percentages
that it generates can be misleading is best revealed by pointing out that
if fertility declined rapidly, to the point where births equal deaths, then
even one immigrant would be responsible for 100% of population growth.
A more telling example is provided by the real experience in the U.S.
between 1960 and 1970. During the period between the 1960 and 1970 censuses,
the number of foreign born persons in the United States declined. Thus,
we are faced with the anomaly that during the 1960s, the proportion of
population growth due to immigration increased, but this increased importance
for population growth was accomplished by a decline in the foreign born
population. It is only by understanding the nature of these formulas
that it makes any sense at all to be able to say that a decline in the
number of foreign born people was responsible for an increasing proportion
of population growth.
But the importance of immigration in recent population growth is perhaps
not the most important concern about the role of immigration in population
dynamics. The use of the percentage of population growth due to immigration
was mainly to heighten sensitivity to the fact that immigration is not
merely a part of the past of the United States and that the restrictive
legislation of the 1920s did not mean an end to immigration. What is clearly
of concern is the role of future immigration in future population growth.
The most frequently referred to information on this topic are the various
population projections prepared by the Bureau of the Census and others. On
the basis of estimates of probable fertility and mortality during the coming
years as well as an estimate of net civilian immigration,projections are
made into the future. Demographers are quick to point out that population
projections are not predictions. Because so many assumptions are made,
the projection is only as good as the assumptions on which it is based.
Because of the nature of the assumptions involved, particularly concerning
fertility, most individuals and organizations produce a series of projections
based on different assumptions. This allows the user of projections to
see the range of possibilities and to also analyze the effect of varying
the assumptions within certain bounds on the future population growth.
The Census Bureau, for example, produces three sets of projections in their
projections series. In earlier testimony, Professor Dudley Posten of the
University of Texas used the Series III projections in his overview(3).
I would like to dwell in this presentation not on the probability of
the particular fertility or mortality schedules that are used by the various
analysts or organizations, but rather on the migration component in many
population projections. In order to do this I will speak on the Census
Bureau projection series, since their convention of estimating the net
immigration component as 400,000 is widely adopted.
The first thing to note is that the net civilian immigration component
used by the Census Bureau is not the same thing as net alien immigration.
Net civilian immigration includes net movement between the United States
and Puerto Rico, net movement of U.S. born persons abroad, either on govern-
ment or private sector assignments at overseas posts, the entry for the
first time into the United States by U.S. citizens born abroad who claim
citizenship on the basis of their parents' citizenship, alien immigration
Into the United States, including persons paroled into the United States under
authority granted to the Attorney General by Section 212(e)5 of the
Immigration and Nationality Act, and emigration from the United States by
native born and foreign born persons. It is clear form this long list that
the net civilian immigration component is an attempt to conceptualize
the net effect of the movement of all of those people who between any two
periods enter or leave the United States resident population. What is fre-
quently done, however, is to use net civilian immigration as a proxy for
net alien immigration. What is frequently done is to assume that the impact
of net civilian immigration is really equivalent to the impact of alien immi-
grants into the United States under the immigration and nationality laws.
The work done by Warren and Peck(4), as well as by Kraly and myself(5),
indicate a large difference between net civilian immigration and net
alien immigration and also indicate that many of the components used by
the Census Bureau are far from accurate. Net civilian immigration in the
early 1970s based on the work noted above, indicates that net civilian
immigration was in the neighborhood of 265,000 rather than 400,000. It
should be noted that net alien immigration as defined here includes the
movement of aliens to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality
Act as reported in the Annual Report of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service and the emigration from the United States of foreign born residents
(that is, the movement of native-born citizens out of the United States is
not included in the net alien immigration estimate). Therefore, if one
wishes to estimate the role of net alien immigration into the United States,
one should look at the lower figure and see its effect over time. I should
also like to point out that not only is the total number of persons
estimated as net alien immigrants important, but also the age and sex compo-
sition of that net migration are important in making projections. This is
true because a higher proportion of any number of net alien immigrants who
are young adult females obviously means that the impact on future population
growth due to the fertility of those aliens will be greater.
A good deal of work also needs to be done on all of the components of
the net civilian immigration estimates used by the Census Bureau. I am
currently undertaking a project to try to develop estimation techniques
for the various components so that we need not rely on such gross assumptions
as net civilian immigration being the equivalent of net alien immigration
as well as crudely estimating the other components of net civilian immigration.
Perhaps the immigrant group of most concern now in terms of population
growth is the number of undocumented aliens in the United States.
We have very little reliable data on the actual flow of permanent additions
to the stock of the United States population due to undocumented entry,
overstaying or violating the terms of visas. Illegal movement obviously
has been an item of great concern and attention, both in government
and in the media during the last five years. One of the causes for concern
is the assumption that the flow into the United States annually is rather
large and that from this flow a high proportion stay in the United States
to become part of the population. The estimates of the flows vary, but a
frequent convention, in lieu of a reliable estimate, is to assume that the
numbers of persons who enter the United States to stay is equivalent to
the number of persons reported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
to be deportable persons apprehended. This number has fluctuated around
800,000 recently, and that figure is often encountered as an estimate
the annual addition to the population by undocumented movement. Note first
that we have no reliable data to indicate that the permanent additions
to the population by undocumented movement are anywhere near the 800,000
figure. Secondly, the effect of any undocumented movement on future population
growth is obviously not only a function of the number, but also the age
structure, the sex distribution, and the fertility of the persons involved.
As is to be expected, not only do we not have good information on the size,
we do not have any reliable information on the age, sex structure, and fertility
patterns. In order to illustrate the importance of the characteristics of
the stream, let me give an example which is obviously an extreme one, but
which illustrates the importance of knowing the characteristics in addition
to the total number. If all undocumented immigrants to the United States
were males, the effect of that movement on future population growth would
be only as long as that population continued to survive in the United
States (i.e., be a function of size and mortality). That is, as each gener-
ation died out, their impact on U.S. population would also end. If, on
the other hand, all undocumented were young adult women at prime childbearing
ages, and the birth rate of those women were very high, the impact of 800,000
additions to the population of such women would obviously have a much larger
impact on future population growth than 800,000 men. It should be clear
from these two extreme examples that the population impact of undocumented
immigration cannot be directly suggested from knowing only what the size of
the movement is. Even in that case, we have very little information
to go on.
Another concern about immigration and population growth is whether immi-
gration, both legal and undocumented, leads to the introduction of persons
with higher fertility than is true of the native born U.S. population.
The work by Kritz and Gurak on ethnic fertility indicate that in the aggre-
gate, fertility of ethnics is similar to the total population(6). To be
sure, some groups have higher fertility, but some groups also have lower
fertility. Also the fertility of the foreign born as recorded in the 1970
Census was below that of the native born. Such fertility behavior must
continue to be monitored because one obviously cannot assume that patterns
of the past will continue into the future. However, the picture in the
recent past has been that the fertility of foreign born persons apd the fer-
tility of ethnics has little impact on the fertility rates in the United
Before leaving the topic of the demographic concerns surrounding immi-
gration policy, it would be well to point out that population only recently
has been included in the deliberations leading up to the development of
immigration policy. As has been true of many other policy areas in the
United States, the effect on population of immigration policy has not traditionally
been systematically considered and not an important factor in policy delib-
erations or decisions.
On the other hand, it should also be pointed out that the relatively
recent sensitivity to the importance of population and population dynamics
should not blind us to the fact that population concerns are neither the
only nor necessarily the most important concern in developing immigration
policy. That is, it is possible to conceive of a situation in which immigration
policy may lead to population effects which may not be desirable from some
points of view, but which are nevertheless still preferable for other reasons
despite the population impact. It is not difficult to think of various
economic, social or foreign policy considerations which may outweigh a
population concern. Obviously we are talking here about developing very
difficult priorities and decisions that would tax the wisdom of Solomon.
The second major area of demographic concern is the effect of immigration
on the labor force. Recent concern has focused on the impacts of undocumented
aliens on the lower skilled sectors. I will take up the topic of undocumented
movement in more detail. However, the concern over undocumented movement
and by extension to legal movement needs to be seen in a dynamic context.
It is difficult for some to fathom that the 1980s and 1990s may bring labor
shortages to the U.S. We need to evaluate the role of immigration in
supplying manpower for current and future needs. However, we should not
assume that we have the data base or the administrative ability to use
immigration as a fine-tuning mechanism to meet short-term labor shortages.
Relegating immigration to the role of stopgap for failures in manpower
planning is probably not only bad immigration policy, it will not work.
Secondly, immigration also brings high-level manpower to the U.S.
The reliance on immigration for our manpower needs and the resentments
and hardships this causes sending countries (brain drain) ought to be re-
examined. The brain drain controversy has continued so long that going
over old ground may not advance policy analysis. However, looking at the
effects of U.S. dependence on immigration for high level manpower on oppor-
tunities for our own population may be instrictive. As a result of the
Health Professions Education Assistance Act of 1976, we can expect a reduction
in physicians admittances for permanent and temporary residence. We will
then be able to gauge the effect of this cut off of supply on the expansion
of medical training in the U.S., on opportunities for women and minorities
as physicians, on the improvement of medical care for all Americans, es-
espcially the poor of our large cities, and on the development of alterna-
tive medical delivery systems whereby the number of physicians per capital
can decline and paramedical services under the "supervision" of a physician
increase. I suggest that an analysis of the immigration sections of the
1976 Health Professions Education Act may shed light on whether cutting off
an alien labor supply opens up opportunities for U.S. citizens, while con-
tinuing the level and quality of U.S. services as well as upgrading
them in foreign countries sending highly trained manpower.
I might also add while on the subject of highly trained manpower,
that, in the absence of exit control in the U.S., we have data gaps concerning
trained/experienced U.S. manpower in the professions and business who leave
the U.S. fore overseas positions. Perhaps the continuous work history file
of the Social Security System can permit some analysis of the movements in
and out of the U.S., duration of stay and so on. To my knowledge, there
is no study of the size and scope of this movement and its broad implications.
Finally, before leaving the question of immigration and manpower, I
want to briefly discuss a suggestion frequently heard linking the two issues.
The suggestion is that immigration volume should be tied to U.S. unemploy-
ment rates. Aside from the mechanics of such adjustments, there is a basic
problem with the proposal. It assumes immigration causes more unemployment.
The logic is that if unemployment is at a certain rate, more immigrants will
only increase the unemployed either by displacing U.S. workers or being
unable to find jobs themselves. The assumption is untested. It is equally
possible that in times of unemployment, immigration should be increased
to stimulate demand. I raise the question to point out the level of
simplicity of our understanding of the determinants and consequences of
international migration and the consequent need of caution in examining
proposals which, at first blush, seem eminently reasonable.
The 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act made major
changes in U.S. policy. The major change was the abolition of the national
origins quota system and Asia Pacific Triangle which restricted visa issuance
on the basis of race and national origin. The bill also introduced a new
preference system based primarily on family relationship and skill level for
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issuing visas. It required labor clearances for non-relations seeking immigrant
status. Finally, the new law imposed a ceiling on Western Hemisphere immigration
for the first time.
The 1965 Act provided for a phasing out of the quota system. The full
implementation of the law began in July 1, 1968. During this transition a
Commission on Western Hemisphere Immigration provided for in the law reviewed
provisions and made recommendations which were not acted on by Congress.
The interaction of the various new provisions led to changes in the compo-
sition of the immigrant stream. Some were expected and some unanticipated.
The operation of visa issuance in the Western Hemisphere was a cause of great
concern. In 1976, a further bill was passed which brought the immigration sys-
tems for the Western Hemisphere and the rest of the world into conformity. Thus,
we have two parallel systems for distributing immigrant visas, with preference
systems, requirements for labor certification and so on exactly the same.
The ceilings for visa issuances for each hemisphere are 170,000 for non-Western
Hemisphere and 120,000 for Western Hemisphere. In addition, certain immediate
relatives of citizens are exempt from the ceilings on visa issuance.
Currently, there is widespread agreement in and out of government that
a major review of U.S. immigration policy is necessary. A few items which
need attention are: refuge policy; labor force, manpower development and immi-
gration; development policy and international manpower movement; brain drain;
foreign policy and immigration; evaluation of the 1976 amendments on Western
Hemisphere movement; trade and tax policy and its relation to the movement of
jobs and workers; undocumented immigration; and naturalization law. The list
does not include procedural or administrative matters such as border management,
interagency cooperation or intra-agency coordination for policy (e.g. Labor
Department on manpower policy and immigration or State Department on foreign
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policy and immigration.
This listing alone indicates the immense job to be done.
attempts to consider immigration related matters are stalled.
on the President's porposals on undocumented aliens have been postponed by
the Senate; the hearings on the refugee bill by the House have been postponed
repeatedly at the administration's request. In fact, there is something of
a log jam on immigration matters despite the agreement on the need for changes
on numerous immigration issues. It seems to me that the National Commission
on Immigration proposed in HR 7175 sponsored by Representative Joshua Eilberg
who chairs the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law
makes eminent sense. I respectfully suggest that this Select Committee sup-
port the concept of a Commission. I am sure the information on demographic
implications of immigration, needed data, and other issues developed by this
Select Committee would be welcomed by the Subcommittee and a National Commission
as it addresses the complexities of immigration policy, including the population
In this section I will briefly review some of the current issues in the
immigration policy area. Each of them touches on population concerns to some
extent. I shall not spend much space trying to spell out those connections but
will merely outline the issue.
Before addressing each issue, I should first point out
policy has traditionally been dealt with as a domestic concern and as basically
isolated from other issues. Recently, however, the intertwining of immigration
with and the implications of immigration policy for other issues have been more
readily accepted as legitimate concerns. The interplay of the population and
immigration is a good example of this development. It is this development and the
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realization of the complexities it introduces into policy analysis and develop-
ment in the area of immigration, in addition to the politically charged atmosphere
that usually surrounds discussions of immigration, that is a new development. As
we well know, immigration is an emotional issue touching deeply our images of our-
selves and this country, our interests and our values. Many seem to have deeply
held convictions and opinions about what should be. It is in this atmosphere
that the following issues are being discussed.
As mentioned, the role of immigration in supplying manpower is a central
concern today. This is most clear in discussions of undocumented movement, to
which I shall turn shortly. In the legal immigration area, however, there is
question as to whether we need or should have occupational preferences (3rd
and 6th preference), We need to examine the effect of value added tariff pro-
grams (like the Border Industrialization Program) on the loss of jobs, the
effect on wages and working conditions, particularly whether undocumented
aliens or other groups who are exploitable are needed to make U.S. based firms
competitive in labor intensive manufacturing (e.g. garments, assembly). Is
there room in our immigration policy to encourage investors to create jobs
in the U.S.?
We need to know, as referred to previously, the demand for workers of various
types in the coming years, the probable supply, the role of immigration cur-
rently in manpower in the U.S. I should point out that our data on occupation
of immigrants is extremely poor due to data collection mechanisms. (7; see
esp. chapter 5).
In short, we need to decide to what extent immigrants should and can be
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integrated into manpower training and supply policy and then how to go about
it. Since it is only recently that agreement has been coalescing on the need
at least to be cognizant of the interplay of immigration and labor policy, if
not to integrate them, we are only in the beginning stages of systematic study
Immigration is not a substantive issue for U.S. foreign policy. Only
when a particular movement becomes critical (e.g. Mexican undocumented movement)
does it receive recognition. It is not clear why or how a movement comes to
be defined as "critical." Why is Mexican undocumented movement critical and
not undocumented movement from Caribbean basin countries?
The current foreign policy issue gaining current attention is refugee policy.
The major issue is the use of the parole authority of the Attorney General in
Sec.212 (e) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The section, as noted
in legislative history, was neant for emergency entry of individuals or small
groups in case of emergency (e.g. an accident at sea calling for medical attention).
However, the section has been used with the urging and blessing of members of
Congress to admit large numbers of refugees from Hungary, Cuba and Indochina.
The issue revolves around whether such flexibility is desirable or whether
Congress should not delegate such broad authority to the Attorney General. Con-
gressman Eilberg introduced legislation limiting the numbers admissible under
the parole authority of the Attorney General. (The same bill contains the pro-
vision for the National Commission on Immigration referred to previously.)
Hearings have been postponed on the bill at request of the Administration appar-
antly due to disagreement between the Departments of Justice and State over an
Administration position on the issue of flexibility versus numerical limits
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set in law and the role of the Attorney General.
Immigration and foreign policy interaction goes much further-than the pro-
cedural issue of Executive discretion in admission of refugees. The international
movement of manpower, like the movement of commodities and capital, is integral
to development policy. Again we are only in the first stages of looking at the
impact of development and trade policies on migration flows and vice versa. We
need to understand the effects on migration (internal and international) on the
institutional supports for high fertility as a rational response in rural and
urban sectors and the population displacement effects of economic development.
It is probably too simplisitc to conceptualize population growth leading to "ex-
cess population" putting pressure on resources leading to migration to release
ihe pressure. Such a model is non-contextual. That is, why does population grow
rapidly, under what circumstances does it become "excess" (i.e., more persons
than jobs in the economy), the role of economic structure (e.g. land use, pat-
terns of investment, development), the micro- and macro-level conditions making
migration an attractive alternative, if only in the short run. Understanding
of these processes may lead to designing development, trade and investment poli-
cies which more successfully address meeting basic needs of people and the needs
of economies and nations to guide and direct their futures with some autonomy.
Obviously, this is a tall order. It is only one more formulation of the problem
of North-South dialogue, restructuring the economic order, etc.
My aim here is to point out that international migration is not just a
safety valve for redistributing excess population from high fertility countries.
Migration may be the result of development "successes." People are only excess
population relative to a given economic structure, which is obviously not always
of their choosing or even of the choosing of the national leaders.
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I must briefly discuss the topic of naturalization. Three reasons prompt
this. First, naturalization and citizenship law is contained in the Immigration
and Nationality Act. Two, citizenship (and therefore becoming naturalized)
grants benefits for future immigrants under U.S. law. Finally, we are of two
minds concerning citizenship.
Mr. Justice Black wrote: "the people are sovereign and the Government cannot
sever its relationship to the people by taking away their citizenship" (Afroyim
v. Rusk 387 US 253, 1967. p. 255). In this spirit, the Court has struck down
four of the provisions for revoking citizenship for acts committed after citi-
zenship is granted. The last, Afroyim v. Rusk, striking down revocation for
voting in a foreign election was a 5-4 decision. Thus, it is not clear that the
Court will move in the direction that citizenship is inviolate and once properly
granted by birth or naturalization cannot be involuntarily revoked by the govern-
ment for acts committed before or after citizenship was validily granted in con-
formity to the law. The point at issue here is not whether fraudulently obtained
citizenship is revocable. It is whether the government can pass laws to revoke
citizenship for acts committed after citizenship is granted or, for naturalized
citizens, for acts committed before citizenship was granted and which were not
a bar at the time of the grant.
Secondly, child citizens are not accorded the rights of adults. Certain
benefits, such as a visa preference, are limited to adult U.S. citizens. The
reason for this limitation seems to be to avoid the full implications of citi-
zenship being conferred by birth in the U.S. A U.S. born child of undocumented
alien parents is de facto deported if his parents are deported or leave under
voluntary departure. The interests of that minor U.S. citizen are not looked
after by U.S. sonsuls. In effect, the child may be deprived of citizenship
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rights. On the other hand, the U.S. does not want people coming to the country
to have children and then filing immigration petitions on behalf-of the eligible
relatives of the child. Perhaps the answer is to require at least that one
parent be a citizen or even permanent resident alien before a person is granted
citizenship by birth. Thus, birth in the territory alone would not confer citi-
zenship but a consanguinal relationship would also be required.
The topic of undocumented aliens has received most public attention of all
immigration related issues in recent years. As we know, the issue received
wide attention due in part to claims about large numbers, impact of the labor
market, and use of social services. It has developed that, by the nature of
the case, we know very little about the dimensions of the situation. However,
the question arises about how much detail one must know and with how much cer-
tainty before action should be taken. In fact, discussion of policy proposals
centers on guesses about whether a program will work, or how well or what un-
desirable spin-off it will have.
We do not know how many undocumented aliens enter each year. We do not
know how many remain as more or less permanent additions to the population and
how many are seasonal workers. Even data on "apprehensions" are not all that
certain since those data include repeaters and include persons who were never
in custody. (INS apprehensions data area count of form 1-213, Record of a
Deportable Alien. There is a question whether these field-generated forms
are uniformly filled out in accordance with instructions. See reference 8.)
We do not know how many jobs they fill. We do not know to what extent they
displace workers or fill jobs U.S. workers are not available for. We have
two conflicting paradigms to explain the labor force impact one a supply-
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demand approach and the other a dual labor market approach. We have little
data on the workers' desirability due to work habits and dependability, in
addition to their clear exploitability. We do have scattered and not random
data from small samples in various parts of the country of aliens in and not
in INS custody that points to low wages, in dead end jobs. These same samples
point to fairly high participation in tax withholding programs and even, sur-
prisingly, private hospital plans, but little use of income transfer programs.
Health and education program usage seems to be higher in the New York area
samples from the Caribbean (as opposed to the Southwest) since length of stay,
family in the U.S. and sex rations indicate a more mature migrant stream (with
all the links this brings with it). In fact, the consistent finding of low
social welfare usage led the Carter administration to prohibit access to
such benefits by the proposed temporary resident alien category in the Presi-
dent's proposals with the contention that since usage is so low that prohibition
would get rid of a red herring in debates over the temporary "amnesty" granted
In short, we have scattered data, whose representativeness is not known
since the sampling is not random. We have identified streams from many coun-
tries. In fact, undocumented aliens is such a broad concept with such hetero-
geneous groups included that many statements which attempt to be responsible
descriptions can be both true and false.
At present, the focus of the issue is changing to the future. Whatever
the numbers and current effects, will those permanent additions to the population
produce a second generation who will be Americanized on the one hand, not willing
to stay in low skill, low paying, dead end jobs, joining (even competing with)
minorities for expanded opportunities but on the other hand ill-equipped to com-
pete due to years of neglect and poor training? Must we not stop or curtail
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the flow of permanent additions in order to avoid the civil rights problems
of the 1980s and 1990s? At the same time, will blocking access to schools or
other facilities for those already here, even though partially taken as a mea-
sure to discourage future flow, be counter-productive? If carried far enough,
will blocking access to medical facilities (e.g. Medicare supported services
as in Carter proposals) lead to public health problems (e.g. lack of vaccina-
tions lead to German measles exposures)?
Even as we attempt to make policy, how confident can we be that it is
enforcable and effective? A major criticism of employer sanctions proposals
is whether they are enforcable without a national identification card or without
discrimination against some minority group citizens. Even if voluntary compliance
and effective enforcement without discrimination is achieved, will that produce
jobs in significant numbers? Raising wages is not the only alternative in face
of a declining work force. Investment in non-union areas or overseas and going
out of business are alternatives. So is cutting back of minimum wage for younger
people and using them as a new source of low wage labor. My point is that even
if the reasoning behind employer sanctions is correct and such a policy is
successfully put in place, that is no guarantee that jobs will be increased in
the U.S. generally and certainly not regionally. Good ideas can have bad con-
sequences, just as bad ideas can sometimes lead to good results.
I will not go into further detail here. Other testimony will touch on
these matters. Much has already been written and said before Congressional
Committees and elsewhere. The study and debate will go on. There is no single
and final answer obviously. If nothing else, at least claims and suggestions
will be a bit more modestly made.
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Before presenting data on the recent immigrant streams, I present tables
on the estimates of the recent net alien immigration and their affect on popu-
lation growth. In previous testimony (3) Prof. Posten presented
data using the 400,000 figure and the Series III assumptions of the Census
Bureau's projections of population growth.
The estimates by Kraly and me, built on the work of Warren and Peck referred
to, indicate that recent experience (first part of 1970s) was approximately
264,000 net alien immigrants annually rather than 400,000. (See attached Table 1.
Census age-sex distributions for their 1970 and 1975 projection publications are
included for comparative purposes. Tables 2 and 3 present the projection data.)
Prof. Ansley Coale(9)calculated the necessary decline in fertility of native
born women required to have 400,000 immigrants with the age-sex distribution
published in 1970 by the Census Bureau and with foreign born fertility at replace-
ment (i.e. 2.11). Coale calculated that rather than a total fertility rate (TFR)
of 2.11, a TFR of 1.97 would be needed to accommodate current immigration patterns
or a net reproduction rate (NRR) of .934 rather than 1.000 for replacement. Our
estimates, which include a lower level of net alien immigration but an age sex
distribution more conducive to births, would result in a TFR of 2.0 or a NRR of
.948 to accommodate current immigration and still maintain a stationary population.
The current total fertility rate (about 1.83) is below the levels indicated by
Coale and by our work.
Table 4 indicates immigrant admissions in the last 15 years for which
data are published. The data are divided into 5 years prior to the amendments
of the 1965 Act when the provisions of the McCarran-Walker Act were in force;
the three year transition period of 1966-68 (actually 31 months from December
1965 to June 1968); and the years since the full provisions. All data are for
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Recent averages are about 100,000 more than the pre-1965 Act. The
100,000admittances or so over the 290,000 hemispheric ceilings (170,000 Eastern
and 120,000 Western hemispheres) for visa issuance are due to exempt relatives.
(Although the ceilings refer to visa issuances, a rough but not exact equiva-
lance can be expected between visa issuance and admittances for a given year.)
Table 5 shows the age-sex distribtuion for the three periods, except
the final period includes 1969-73 only. The averages would not be greatly
changed by inclusion of the last two years of published data. Note the female
dominance. In recent years, about 88 males are admitted for each 100 females.
Table 6 summarizes labor force data as published by the Immigration
and Naturalization Service. As Tomasi and Keely ( 7 ) point out, these data
are only a rough approximation of labor force activity. Note first that a
slight decline from 46 to 41 percent has occurred in those who report an occu-
Of those who reported an occupation, there has been a notable increase
in professional workers and a decline in clerical and sales workers. These
changes have been the result of the interaction of the ending of the quota system,
the preference system and labor certification being easily available for high
level manpower but almost unavailable for many white collar jobs (e.g. secretary).
It should also be noted that many of the professional level persons are from
Let me end by urging a thorough review of data needs and practices in
regard to immigration. The review of practices is currently underway and some
preliminary results are available ( 10 ). Also review within INS is under-
way, as you will hear in testimony from representatives of that agency. However,
I doubt whether major resource allocation will be made to data collection in
INS, the de facto source of annual information on the flow and stock (through
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the alien address report system) of immigrant and alien data. Unless Congress
identifies particular needs and interests, I doubt the poor data system will be
Finally, I will note for the record that data on the foreign stock
(2nd generation) is to be dropped from the 1980 Census. I have prepared a
memorandum for your staff outlining the problem with the self-identity question
currently planned. The net result is that we will know less about the foreign
stock and probably be treated to a decade of outcries of ethnic undercounts and
invalid comparisons of ethnic educational achievement, median income, occupational
distribution, fertility, etc. I would urge the Select Committee to support at
least replacement of the 2nd generation question (place of birth of respondent's
parents) before giving up that information on adjustment for an untested (in the
technical senses of validity and reliability) question.
1. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future. An interim Report
to the President and the Congress. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1971, 81.
2. Charles B. Keely. "The Estimation of the Immigration Component of Popula-
tion Growth," International Migration Review, 8:3 (Fall 1974), 431-35.
3. Dudley L. Posten, Jr. "Immigration to the United States: Issues, Trends
and Prospects," Testimony before the House Select Committee on Population,
February 8, 1978.
4. Robert Warren and Jennifer Peck. "Emigration from the United States: 1960
to 1970." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Associa-
tion of America, Seattle, Washington, 1975.
5. Charles B. Keely and Ellen P. Kraly. "Recent Net Alien Immigration to the
U.S.: Its Impact on Population Growth and Native Fertility, Demography,
6. Mary M. Kritz and Douglas T. Gurak. "Foreign Stock Minority and Native
White Fertility Differentials." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting
of the Population Association of America, Seattle, Washington, 1975.
7. S. M. Tomasi and Charles B. Keely. Whom Have We Welcomed? The Adequacy
and Quality of United States Immigration Data for Policy Analysis and
Evaluation. New York, Center for Migration Studies, 1975
8. Charles B. Keely. "Review of Immigration Policy." Paper presented at
Conference on In Defense of the Alien, A Legal Conference Representing
Aliens, Washington, D.C. March 1978.
9. Ansley J. Coale. "Alternative Paths to a Stationary Population" in Charles
F. Westoff and Rebert E. Parke, Jr., (eds.), U.S. Commission on Popula-
tion Growth and the American Future. Demographic and Social Aspects of
Population Growth, Volume 1 of the Commission Research Reports. Washing-
ton, D.C.: GPO., 1972. 591-603
10. Ellen P. Kraly. "U.S. Immigration Statistics: 1950-1975." Paper prepared
for the Roundtable on Immigration Statistics sponsored by the Population
Association of America, Committee on Population Statistics, Subcommittee
on Immigration Statistics, November 17, 1977.
Table 1. Selected Estimates of Recent Annual Net Immigration to
the United States, by Age and Sex.
Age and Sex U.S. Bureau of the Census Revised Estimates
1970 1975 1977
Total, all ages
Female, all ages
Age and Sex U.S. Bureau ot the Census Revised Estimates
1970 1975 1977
Male, all ages
Table 2: Projections of the U.S. Population Assuming Selected Estimates
of Annual Net Immigration, U.S. Bureau of the Census Series II
Mortality and Fertility Assumptions: 1975-2050.
Projections of the U.S. Population (in 1000s)
Year U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1975*+ Revised
Series II-X Series II Series IIA Estimates
*The Series II Projections assume the "most realistic" trends in
fertility which are intermediate to other projected fertility trends.
Series II-X assumes zero net immigration; Series II assumes an annual
level of 400,000 net alien immigration and the age distribution by
sex shown in Table 3; Series IIA assumes the same age distribution
by sex, but the level of net alien immigration is scaled to 300,000.
Table 2: (continued)
+ These total population figures are those resulting from the
replication of U.S. Bureau of the Census projections. Percentage
differences between the displayed population figures and pub-
lished totals for each year are generally less than 0.5%.
Population Growth (millions) and Proportion Due to Immigration Assuming
Selected Estimates of Annual Net Alien Immigration, U.S. Bureau of the
Census Series II Mortality and Fertility Assumptions: 1980-2050.
Year U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1975 Revised
Series II-X Series II Series IIA Estimates
Na Na b Na b Na b
a Population growth between 1975 (N=213,448)
b Proportion of growth due to immigrants and
1985: 20.3 15.9 4 20.3 = 21.7 percent
and specified year.
their offspring, e.g., Series II for
Table 4. Total Immigration, 1961-1975 and Selected Periods (000s)
N Average for Period
1963 306 -1961-65 = 290
1967 362 1966-68 = 380
1972 385 -1969-75 = 381
*Without the peculiar circumstances of large adjustment of status
of Cuba refugees before the imposition of a hemispheric ceiling,
1968 = 355 (or -99 Cuban adjustees). The period average without
Cuban adjustees in 1968 = 347.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.: GPO,
1968 and 1975. INS Annual Reports, Table 14.
Table 5: Age-Sex Distribution of Immigrants by Selected Regions for Selected Time Periods*
1961-65 1966-63 169-73
M F M F M F
0-4 4.8 4.6 4.2 4.1 4.2 4.1
5-9 3.6 3.5 4.3 4.2 4.6 4.5
IC-19 7.0 9.2 8.0 9.3 8.7 9.3
2 2-29 .13.3 19.9 9.8 16.5 12.1 16.6
3:-39 3.2 8.7 8.2 9.2 9.0 8.7
40-49 4.0 4.4 4.4 5.5 4.3 4.6
50-59 2.2 3.0 2.8 3.3 2.2 2.3
5C-69 1.0 1.5 1.5 2.1 1.2 1.S
70-79 .3 .5 .5 .S .4 .6
30+ .1 .1 .1 .2 .1 .1
Total 44.5 55.5 43.8 56.2 46.8 53.3
Source: INS Annual Report, Table 9.
Table 6. Sex Ratios, 1961-75 and Selected Periods
1961-65 = 80
1966-68 = 78
1969-73 = 88
Source: Developed from data in INS Annual Report
Labor Force Participation and Occupational Distribution:
1961-65, 1966-68, 1969-73, 1974, 1975
No Occupation Stated
Distribution of Those with Occupation Stated
Service, exc. hshold
Laborer, exc. farm
Source: Developed from data in INS Annual Report