According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 million immigrants resided in the United States in 2010, which is the highest number in history. Furthermore, 13.9 million immigrants have come to the U.S. since 2000 making the 10 years from 2000 to 2010 the highest decade of immigration in U.S. history. Immigration to the United States is the primary force behind population growth, and if our current immigration laws are not changed, the population of the U.S. will grow from its current 312 million to 439 million by the year 2060.
In 1995, former Texas Congresswoman and civil rights champion, Barbara Jordan, chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The Commission, which was mandated by Congress with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990, made the most thorough examination of the impact of U.S. immigration policies of any federal commission to date. The final recommendations were presented to Congress and President Clinton in 1997 more than six years after the commission was formed.
We became a nation with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, so that makes a legitimate starting point. And because the Immigration Act of 1965 so radically changed the numbers, it is fair to talk about what existed between the years 1776 and 1965 -- especially since the promoters of the 1965 act promised that it would not raise immigration numbers.
While immigration to the United States averaged 250,000 in our nation's first 200 years, it ballooned after the signing of the Immigration Act of 1965. Since 1965, immigration has tripled to an astounding 725,000 per year with the most recent decade (2000-2010) seeing the largest growth in the U.S. immigrant population in American history. And in the last 10 years, new immigrant admissions have averaged more than 1 million per year.
Shortly after taking office, Pres. Bill Clinton formed the Council on Sustainable Development to advise him on "bold, new approaches to achieve our economic, environmental, and equity goals." While the Council had a broader range of issues, including energy, transportation, agriculture, the environment and more, the Council did offer several immigration-related recommendations that included reducing overall legal immigration levels.