Economic Growth Initiative

A Nation Built by Immigrants

America is strengthened by the contributions made by immigrants. For the U.S. economy to flourish to its full potential, outdated immigration policy must be modernized.

In-Depth: America's Advantage: A Handbook on Immigration and Economic Growth

Stories from American Immigrants

Immigrants come from a variety of backgrounds and no two stories are alike. Meet a few immigrants who are making America a more productive country.

Juan Carlos Hernandez
Protecting America while Becoming “American”
Read his story

Anna Grenda
Sewing an American Dream

Read her story

Tulip Nandu
From India to Indiana to Dallas in Pursuit of Higher Education
Read his story

Farhat Popal
How Americans Save a Spot at the Table for Immigrants
Read her story

Debunking Immigration Myths

Immigrants played a leading role in building what has become the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. However, legal immigrants are many times misrepresented or their role in the U.S. economy is misunderstood.

In-depth: Bush Institute's America's Advantage: A Handbook on Immigration and Economic Growth

FACT: Immigrants actually only account for 13.5% of the total U.S. population, which is in line with historical norms

FACT: 30% of immigrants come from Asia, and currently more are coming from China than Mexico

FACT: 72.5% of immigrants believe hard work is how you succeed in America and are responsible for half of the total U.S. labor force growth over the last decade

FACT: Immigrant-owned businesses with employees have an average of 11 employees

FACT: 7.6% of immigrants were self-employed compared to 5.6% of native-born Americans and they founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies

FACT: Recent immigrants are more likely to have college degrees than native-born Americans and are more likely to have advanced degrees

Download our infographic to view more myths

Bush Institute Policy Recommendations

At the George W. Bush Institute, we believe immigration policy should be used as a tool for economic growth and prosperity.

In-depth: Bush Institute's America's Advantage: A Handbook on Immigration and Economic Growth The U.S. has not passed major immigration reform legislation since the Reagan administration, and we still use standards developed in the 1960s to determine who we permit to enter the U.S. A system this outdated cannot meet the needs of our vibrant, growing 21st-century economy. Pro-growth immigration reform can raise the pace of economic growth, increase per capita GDP, and reduce the deficit.

We recommend:


Keep Our Labor Force Vibrant Through Immigration

U.S. natives are not having enough children to replace our current population, and by extension, our labor force. A shrinking population and labor force will cause our economy to contract. More immigrants are needed to keep our population, labor force, and economy vibrant and growing.


Move to Skills-Based Immigration

Our current immigration system is overwhelmingly based on family reunification. Other developed economies, like Canada and Australia, admit immigrants primarily based on skills and education. Shifting the priority to a skills-based immigration system would allow us to get the workers we need to drive economic growth while maintaining the important family reunification component.


Overhaul the temporary work visa system

For many temporary worker visa categories, the current system is inadequate. The caps are too low to meet market demand. The process is too burdensome to make using the legal visa system worthwhile. And some categories, like seasonal agricultural worker visas, do not meet the needs of the employers seeking workers.


Find a reasonable solution for the undocumented

Nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families live and work in the U.S., contributing significantly to our economy. Deporting all of them is impractical, expensive, and inhumane. A reasonable solution allowing law-abiding undocumented immigrants to live and work here legally is imperative in any serious immigration reform.


More legal opportunities create a more secure border

The U.S. has open jobs. Immigrants come here to fill those jobs. More legal opportunities to immigrate reduces the incentive to cross unlawfully or overstay a visa. With fewer unauthorized entries to pursue, our immigration enforcement resources can focus on the real criminals.


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