Washington, D.C. – Today, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff – all members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Immigration Task Force – led a discussion about immigration’s implications for demographics, economics and the future of U.S. national security.
BPC also released a report outlining the demographic benefits of immigration. The analysis, Immigration: America’s Demographic Edge, found that immigrants significantly improve America’s demographic outlook, supporting economic growth, improving our fiscal outlook and helping America maintain its strategic position in global affairs. At today’s event in Palo Alto, Calif., BPC’s Immigration Task Force discussed the findings of the paper and other relevant topics.
“America’s history of attracting and fully integrating immigrants is a big part of what made us the world’s most prosperous and influential nation. Immigrants are part of our country’s ‘cultural DNA,’” said Secretary Rice. “As today’s report illustrates, immigrants are no less important to our future than they were two centuries ago. Continuing our tradition of welcoming immigrants will be essential to our future economic growth and position in the world.”
“An increase in the number of workers in our country has the potential to increase our economy’s growth potential. Immigration brings with it the dual benefits of a faster-growing economy and a healthier budget,” said Secretary Cisneros. “Other nations with less inclusive immigration policies are struggling with population decline, shrinking workforces and lower fertility rates – all which negatively affect their economies. Thanks to our country’s long tradition of welcoming immigrants, the nation is stronger both culturally and economically.”
As found in BPC’s October 2013 report, Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budget and Housing, increasing legal immigration would increase gross domestic product and decrease the federal budget deficit. Public pension and health care entitlement programs, in particular, benefit from immigration; from 2002 to 2009, immigrants increased Medicare trust fund balances by $115.2 billion. As U.S. residents continue to have fewer children and retire at faster rates, immigrants slow the rate of population aging because they are relatively young when they arrive and have high birthrates. United Nations projections suggest that over the next five decades, America’s ratio of retirement age people to working age people would increase about 30 percent faster without immigration.
“In addition to significant economic and competitive benefits, fixing our broken immigration system will support our national and homeland security,” said Secretary Chertoff. “Maintaining our economy and population will support our influence in the world, and fixing our immigration system will help ensure our borders are secure.”