New Report from FAIR Finds Immigration a Factor in Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor in America
(Washington, D.C. April 30, 2013) - According to a new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Immigration: Fueling Growing U.S. Income Inequality, the resurgence of mass immigration since the 1970s — both legal and illegal — has helped drive the socially destabilizing gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States.
Over the past four decades, legal immigration has been adding both high-wage earners and low-wage earners and thereby contributing to the shrinking middle class. Meanwhile, illegal immigration has been fueling the number of low-wage workers and dampening job opportunities and wages for competing U.S. workers. This influx of immigrants, combined with other factors, like globalization, has been a contributing factor to the erosion of America’s middle class.
Among the key findings of Immigration: Fueling Growing U.S. Income Inequality:
Between 1970 and 2010, the gap between mean household income and median household income in the U.S. increased by more than 22 percentage points from 14.5 percent to 36.8 percent. During this same period, some 40 million immigrants settled in the U.S.
Inequality in income distribution correlates with the growth of the foreign born population. During the 2001-2010 decade, the growth in income inequality was most pronounced in states with the largest increases in foreign born residents.
Current legislation that would grant amnesty to most or all of the illegal alien population would do little, if anything, to close the income gap. Because of poor education and jobs skills, current illegal aliens would continue to earn low wages and, over time, draw on social services.
“The erosion of the middle class is a troubling phenomenon that threatens to alter the fabric of American society,” commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Of all the factors that have contributed to the growing income and wealth gap in the United States, immigration is the most controllable. In addition to the impact of globalization, millions of American workers also have to contend with the wage depressing effects of excessive levels of both legal and illegal immigration.
“As this report demonstrates, there is a clear correlation between high levels of immigration and the growing wage and income gap in the U.S.,” Stein continued. “Wherever growth of the foreign born population spikes, we see a widening gap between rich and poor. Yet, in spite of this evidence, Congress and the Obama administration are promoting immigration policies that would exacerbate these negative effects, and hasten the decline of our middle class.”