Eric Ruark's picture


  by  Eric Ruark
Last month the Center for Immigration Studies released a report on the increase in the foreign-born population in the United States since President Biden took office on January 21, 2021. The report by Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler found, not surprisingly, that it had increased by two million and that this increase was "driven largely by illegal immigration."

Using data from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), Camarota and Zeigler determined that the U.S. foreign-born population had hit an historic high of 47 million in April and is now 14.3% of the total population, the highest percentage since 1910. If present trends continue, the U.S. foreign-born population will reach 14.9% of total U.S. population in September 2023, the highest mark in history.

Here are comparisons that show the extreme nature of the past 16+ months. The foreign-born population has grown on average:

  • 132,000 a month under Pres. Biden,
  • 42,000 a month under Pres. Trump before COVID travel restrictions were put in place,
  • 59,000 a month in Pres. Obama's first term,
  • and 76,000 a month in Obama's second term which included the first surge of illegal-alien caravans.

  • CIS estimates that illegal immigration accounted for two-thirds (1.35 million) of the total increase in the U.S. foreign-born population since Pres. Biden took office in January 2021.

    The following chart shows each month's increase in the foreign-born population (legal and illegal) over the last three years.

    Source: CIS analysis of April 2019 to April 2022 public-use files of the Current Population Survey.

    To put into perspective just how quickly the foreign-born population has grown in recent decades, it has doubled since 1990 and increased by 50% just since 2000. One in seven U.S residents is now foreign born compared to one in 13 in 1990. Going back to 1970 the foreign-born population was one in 20.

    The CIS analysis pointed out that "The dramatic growth is also quite striking because for the foreign-born population to grow at all, new arrivals must exceed both emigration and deaths, as all births to immigrants in the U.S., by definition, add only to the native-born population."

    In an article on the report in The Washington Times, Camarota commented:

    The fundamental question on immigration that we don't really totally seem to be able to ask, but which the numbers always raise, is what's the right number? What's the number we're able to assimilate?"

    "The way politicians, policymakers, always approach it, especially in the Democratic Party, is how can we help more people get in or legalize those already here. Or in the Republican Party, how can we give the business community more foreign workers.

    The CIS report backs up what we have been saying at NumbersUSA -- that the historic level of illegal immigration under Pres. Biden would lead to a sizable increase in the illegal alien population, and that the slight reduction in legal admissions due to COVID-19 would be short-lived.

    Business lobbying groups and other organizations pushing for immigration increases have constantly made false assertions that immigration had reached an historic low, even as Americans watched people pour over the border and into the interior of the U.S.

    The Biden Administration has been methodically blurring the line between legal and illegal immigration. Through April, nearly a million border crossers had been released by DHS into the interior of the U.S., many granted work authorization through Sec. Mayorkas' abuse of his parole power. With the effective suspension of interior enforcement, anyone who is illegally in the U.S. can reside and work with impunity. And Mayorkas' testimony before Congress last month made clear his intentions to implement rules changes that will further expedite the processing and release of illegal aliens.

    The CIS report also provides a counter to the claims made since the 2020 Census that U.S. population growth has "stagnated" due to a drop-off in immigration, despite the U.S. population growing by 22 million between 2010 and 2020. The Census Bureau's own data continues to tell a different story.

    As with any demographic projections, the operative phrase is "if present trends continue." But the Biden Administration has shown no willingness to stem the flow of illegal immigration -- just the opposite. This surge in illegal immigration was totally avoidable and is due to policy changes Pres. Biden has implemented since he took office. One prediction that is easy to make is that the problems caused by the Biden Administration on the immigration front are going to be with us for quite some time.

    ERIC RUARK is the Director of Research for NumbersUSA

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