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The Debate in the United States over Immigration

via Hoover Institution Press
Friday, December 5, 1997

These essays examine economic, political, social, and legal issues related to immigration into the United States—from compelling arguments for limited immigration to forceful arguments for open borders. They assess the benefits and costs of immigration and its impact on education, social welfare, and health care.

Immigration and the Rise and Decline of American Cities

via Analysis
Friday, August 1, 1997

More than half of all immigrants in the United States reside in just seven cities: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, San Diego, Houston, and San Francisco. A controversial issue is whether immigrants are a benefit or a burden to these areas. A 1997 National Academy of Sciences study reports that "immigrants add as much as $10 billion to the national economy each year," but "in areas with high concentrations of low-skilled, low-paid immigrants," they impose net costs on U.S.-born workers. This essay questions that finding.

Examining a range of economic variables for the eighty-five largest U.S. cities over the period 1980–1994, this essay finds that those cities with heavy concentrations of immigrants outperformed cities with few immigrants. Compared with low-immigrant cities, high-immigrant cities had double the job creation rate, higher per capita incomes, lower poverty rates, and 20 percent less crime. Unemployment rates, however, were unusually large in high-immigrant cities. These findings do not answer the critical questions of whether the immigrants cause the better urban conditions or whether benign urban conditions attract the immigrants. But the essay does refute the assertion that the economic decline of cities is caused by immigration; that assertion cannot be true because, with few exceptions, the U.S. cities in greatest despair today--Detroit, Saint Louis, Buffalo, Rochester, Gary--have virtually no immigrants.

Profiles in Citizenship

by John J. Millervia Policy Review
Thursday, May 1, 1997

How Frances Kellor turned immigrants into patriots

Culture Wars in America

by Edward Paul Lazearvia Analysis
Monday, July 1, 1996

Economic necessity forces immigrants and minority members to acquire the culture and speak the language of the majority. A non-English speaker who lives in a community in which many speak the language of his native land may never learn English. The same person might learn English quickly were he or she to find him- or herself in a community where only English is spoken.

Culture wars threaten to diminish America's ability to absorb new immigrants and to benefit from the diversity already present in our country. Much of the conflict is generated by government policy that reduces the incentives to become assimilated and exacerbates differences in the population. Education in one's native language, unbalanced immigration policies that result in large and stable ghettos, welfare availability, and encouragement of a multilingual society by allowing citizens to vote in languages other than English all reduce incentives to become assimilated. This essay explores patterns of cultural assimilation over time and makes policy recommendations that may bring a quicker end to the culture wars.

The Naturalizers

by John J. Millervia Policy Review
Monday, July 1, 1996

Raising the standards for American citizenship

Cover Charge

by Edward Paul Lazearvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

Current immigration policy establishes annual quotas for countries of origin--just so many French each year, just so many Mexicans, just so many Nigerians. Hoover fellow Edward P. Lazear has a better idea. Sell the slots outright.

No Right to Do Wrong

by Larry Arnnvia Policy Review
Friday, September 1, 1995

The rediscovery of American citizenship

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Monday, December 3, 2007

With the publication of The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s (Ivan R. Dee, 2007), three astute observers of the situation argue that today’s pro-immigration advocates are simply apologists for the status quo—a situation in which we have lost control of our southern border, so that the vast majority of our immigrants are now illegal Mexicans.


The Debate over U.S. Immigration

Thursday, October 17, 1996 to Friday, October 18, 1996
Stauffer Auditorium Herbert Hoover Memorial Building Stanford University

With the annual number of immigrants to the United States at an all-time high, the debate over immigration has reached a fevered pitch. Do today's immigrants come to this country just to go on welfare? Will immigration forever change America's ethnic, cultural, and political landscape?



Immigration Reform Initiative

The Conte Initiative on Immigration Reform aims to improve immigration law by providing innovative ideas and clear improvements to every part of the system, from border security to green cards to temporary work visas.